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Match Report

Hendon
4
Croydon Athletic
0
Date:
Saturday 02 October 2010
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
130
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon's 4-0 defeat of troubled Croydon Athletic was achieved with a minimum of fuss and almost without alarm. The Greens were far from their best, but they remain in fifth place in the Ryman League Premier Division.

The visitors' off-field problems have been front-page news in the national press - and they worsened with reports over the weekend that their chairman had been found dead on the morning of the match, although the club weren't aware of this at the time of the game - and it meant that they fielded a team of newcomers and youngsters. They were so new to each other that most of the players addressed team-mates by their numbers rather than their names.

A flu virus meant Michael Peacock was absent, so Craig Vargas replaced him and other changes from the team which defeated Maldon & Tiptree saw Berkley Laurencin return between the posts at the expense of James Reading and new, on-loan signing (from Hayes & Yeading), Danny Wishart came in for the injured Paul Robinson.

A dull, dreary day certainly didn't help the atmosphere at Vale Farm and the rain-soaked pitch was equally unconducive to an open flowing match. That said, given almost limitless possession against opponents of such limited resourcefulness, Hendon, for once, seemed unsure what to do with the ball. They created a few half-chances before they finally broke the deadlock after 25 minutes.

An astute pass from Jamie Busby went into the path of the darting Wishart who got between and behind two defenders. He then showed excellent composure in steadying himself before knocking the ball past Simon Locke.

Two minutes later, Hendon won a corner on their left side. After much discussion Croydon Athletic decided not to man the near post. It was a serious error because Hendon thought they had scored a second goal. Scott Cousins' corner was headed goalwards, but took a deflection off a defender and struck the inside of the unmanned post and was hurriedly cleared. Part of the ball was certainly over the line, but the well-placed assistant referee ruled that not all of it had, so play continued.

Locke made a couple of good saves as Aaron Morgan and Lubo Guentchev found themselves with shooting opportunities, and other good chances were spurned. At the other end, Hendon’s only worry was an errant pass out of defence, which Callum Donaghey couldn’t turn to his advantage.

The Greens were a little fortunate that challenges from Morgan and Vargas didn't earn them yellow cards. The latter foul resulted in Cody Best coming on for the injured Kevin Sefaah.

Hendon were also maybe fortunate that what seemed like a push by James Parker on Charlie Sharman was deemed by the referee to be no more than incidental contact of two players going for the ball. The small knot of noisy visiting fans appealed loudly for a penalty but the non-decision was in Hendon's favour.

In the last minute of the first half, Busby and Kevin Maclaren combined to give Wishart the opportunity to become the second Hendon debutant this season to score twice (Morgan did so on the opening day), and he made no mistake.

Seventy seconds later, Hendon scored what may well be the team's goal of the season. Busby won a challenge in the centre circle and rode another tackle before he had gone five yards.

He ran straight at the heart of the Croydon Athletic defence, beating two more opponents before reaching the 18-yard box. Jeremy Williams was the fifth man beaten, followed almost immediately by Robert George.

That left only Locke in the way and Busby, with a deft left-foot shot, found the bottom corner. It was a magnificent solo effort, deserving of a much bigger and more dramatic stage.

The second half was pretty much a non-event. Hendon had, if anything, even more possession, but they didn't do a great deal with it. Morgan, Wishart, Lee O'Leary, Cousins and Danny Dyer all had opportunities but were either wayward or failed to beat the excellent Locke, whose handling in the difficult circumstances was nothing short of exemplary.

In the 62nd minute, from a rare Croydon Athletic attack, Danny Elgar nearly reduced the arrears with a fine drive from an acute angle. Laurencin, however, had his wits about him and he was able to beat the ball away.

By then, Croydon Athletic had replaced Troy Oham Strachan with Bobby Dixie, giving more support to Donaghey. And they made their last substitution midway through the half when Daniel Moody came on for John Phillips. At the same time, Hendon introduced Belal Aite-Ouarkrim for Morgan, and Casey Maclaren for his brother Kevin.

In the 80th minute, Eddie Munnelly replaced O'Leary, causing Hendon to reshuffle their troops. With six minutes of normal time, Hendon grabbed their fourth goal. Busby was again the provider, releasing Aite-ouakrim, who ran onto the through ball and finished confidently.

In the dying seconds, Dixie rattled the top of the Hendon crossbar with a powerful drive that beat Laurencin all ends up. The rebound was kind to the Greens and Vargas completed a clearance without an opponent particularly close to the ball.

Hendon manager Gary McCann said, "Although I am pleased to win 4-0, the performance is as important to me at the moment as getting results. And our performance today was average at best. Our passing was nowhere near where I wanted it to be.

"This is not meant to be disrespectful to Croydon Athletic, but I expected much more from us. If we put in a performance like that against Bury Town on Tuesday or Whitehawk on Saturday, I don’t think we will get a result."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Berkley Laurencin
2
Danny Dyer
3
Scott Cousins
4
Craig Vargas
5
James Parker
6
Jamie Busby
7
Lubomir Guentchev
8
Lee O'Leary
9
Aaron Morgan
10
Daniel Wishart
11
Kevin Maclaren
12
Eddie Munnelly
13
Dave Reading
14
Casey Maclaren
15
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
16
James Reading

Match Events

25''
Daniel Wishart
Cody Best replaced Kevin Sefaah
35''
45''
Jamie Busby
45''
Daniel Wishart
Bobby Dixie replaced Troy Oham Strachan
55''
66''
Casey Maclaren replaced Kevin Maclaren
66''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim replaced Aaron Morgan
Daniel Moody replaced John Phillips
67''
80''
Eddie Munnelly replaced Lee O'Leary
84''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim

Croydon Athletic

1
Simon Locke
2
Troy Oham Strachan
3
Helger Orome
4
John Phillips
5
Jeremy Williams
6
Robert George
7
Kevin Sefaah
8
Julien Thompson
9
Charlie Sharman
10
Callum Donaghey
11
Danny Elgar
12
Bobby Dixie
13
Cody Best
14
Daniel Moody
15
Joe Nwoko
16
Adam Peck