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Match Report

Hendon
2
Cray Wanderers
2
Date:
Saturday 29 January 2011
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
151
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon, for the second consecutive Saturday, scored a first-half own goal but, this time, they were rewarded for a much-improved second half with a point from their Ryman League Premier Division fixture against high-flying Cray Wanderers. The game was certainly not without controversy and the Greens left the Vale Farm pitch disappointed about two penalty incidents.

New signing Greg Ngoyi, who played for the club as a teenager in the Harrow Youth League, and rejoined in midweek from Wealdstone, was named as a substitute, while the starting 11 was the same as the one which drew 1-1 at Margate on Tuesday night. The only other change to the 16 on duty was Michael Peacock being replaced on the bench by Jonathan Coke.

As has been the case in a number of recent matches, Hendon were very slow out of the blocks and ceded the initiative to the opposition for most of the first half. This, time they were made to pay as early as the eighth minute, when they scored an own goal.

A cross from the right wing didn't seem to have much danger in it as Eddie Munnelly had no Wanderers player within half a dozen yards of him. Taking the safety-first option, Munnelly attempted to sweep the ball away from six-yard box. Unfortunately, for him, he succeeded only in finding the corner of the net, just inside the far post.

Two minutes later, Hendon had a chance to equalise. An error by Alex Bentley, failing to clear a ball, gave Lubomir Guentchev the chance to cross the ball into the danger area. Both Danny Dyer and Belal Aite-Ouakrim were in offside positions when the ball came towards the edge of the penalty area and both played at it.

Neither got a touch, but Casey Maclaren did, though his uncontested run towards goal was halted by the assistant referee’s flag being raised for offside. In the circumstances, as two players were in active offside positions, the decision by the assistant referee was absolutely correct.

Things went from bad to worse for Hendon in the 16th minute. An attack led by Aite-Ouakrim, broke down on the edge of the penalty area and the ball went across to John Guest, who like Munnelly a few minutes before him, was under little pressure.

He, too, miscontrolled the ball and Lee O'Leary sniffing a half chance, sprinted after the loose ball. Guest, off-balance, dived in and got to the ball first, but his follow-through took out O’Leary, just above his ankle.

The referee ruled that no offence had occuredm despite claims for a penalty from the Hendon contingent, and Cray immediately put the ball out of play to allow the writhing O’Leary to receive treatment. Sadly O’Leary could not continue and the early diagnosis was not good.

As O'Leary was being tended to, the referee called aside Greens skipper Scott COusins and explained why no penalty was forthcoming. It should also be made clear that there was no intent from Guest to cause injury and the impact was entirely accidental.

Kevin Maclaren came on the stricken O'Leary as the Hendon management team elected to keep to the same team formation as had started the game, rather than introducing the more attacking options of Ngoyi and Aaron Morgan.

Within three minutes of coming on, the younger Maclaren had a good shooting chance, albeit from an acutish angle in the right side of the penalty area. He didn't make clean contact and former Hendon goalkeeper Dave King made a comfortable save at his near post.

Laurent Hamici is the Ryman League Premier Division's top goalscorer so far this season, but he had few chances to add to his total. He was denied once by an excellent block from Berkley Laurencin, the goalkeeper coming off his line quickly to knock the ball away the predatory striker. Most of the rest of Cray's opportunities were from longer range and they failed to put these attempts on target.
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Hendon were misfiring badly and barely threatened King's goal in the opening 45 minutes. However, in stoppage time at the end of the period, it was a different matter. Kevin Maclaren had another effort blocked and a free-kick from Cousins went inches wide of the target.

The last action of the first half saw Dyer running onto a diagonal pass from Jamie Busby and his drive was saved by King with his legs. To Hendon's added frustration, the referee blew for half-time as soon as the ball went out of play and they were not able to take the corner.

Ngoyi replaced Munnelly at half-time, Dyer dropping back into defence, and Ngoyi partnering Aite-Ouakrim and Guentchev in a very attacking formation. It took less than 90 seconds for Hendon's brave policy to almost gain reward.

Ngoyi timed his run perfectly to beat Cray's offside trap - Allan McLeod being slow to step upfield - as a Busby shot went wide of the target. The substitute took the ball around King, who did manage to force him even wider. It left Ngoyi with almost no angle to shoot from and he hit the side-netting. He might have done better to get another touch on the ball, going closer to the goal before his shot, but there were defenders covering.

A good striker doesn't dwell on past misses and looks forward to converting the next one. And Ngoyi showed a refreshing form of amnesia just four minutes later. Busby picked out Cousins, who lifted the ball over the advancing King. The ball was almost certainly going wide, but Ngoyi reacted quickest and he slid the ball into the net from about a yard out, despite Tyrone Sterling almost sitting on him in a vain bid to stop him.

A break in play following a foul on Danny Dyer worked in Cray’s favour and the Wands regained control of the play. John Fletcher and Daniel Sintim, at the heart of the Hendon defence, have rapidly developed a good understanding and they stood firm in the face of a number of dangerous through balls.

However, a deflection of a through ball in the 61st minute led to Cray regaining the lead. The touch took the ball away from Laurencin and the out of position defence was unable to stop Saunders running into guide the ball into the net, just inside the left post.

Hamici's lack of success against Fletcher and Sintim was completed in the 68th minute, when he was withdrawn and Carl Gibbs came on. It was to be the Wands' only change of the afternoon. At the same time, Hendon made their final change, Morgan replacing Guentchev as the Greens again chased the game.

They didn't have to wait long for this change to pay dividends. Morgan made life much tougher from McLeod and Morgan's run at him forced Guest to move away from his central defensive position to cover. It allowed the ball to played into the penalty area and when it went beyond the far post, Dyer found himself with no defender in front of him.

Dyer ran in and crashed a shot just inside the near post to score his first goal of the season. Although King got his hand to the ball, he couldn't keep it out and Hendon were level.

Two minutes later, Hendon were denied another penalty, this time for handball. Guest tried to block a shot from Cousins and launched himself to his right, trying to get his chest to the ball. He almost managed it, but the ball appeared to strike his outstretched elbow and went away.

The referee, who was in a good position, ruled in favour of the away side, and Hendon's players, to their credit, didn't protest much.

In the final 10 minutes both teams had good chances to score. Morgan was denied by King, Aite-Ouakrim was halted by a superb tackle from Sterling and Ngoyi couldn’t get off a shot. At the other end, Danny Phillips fired wide and Aaron Day put a long-range effort over the bar from a good position.

Hendon manager Gary McCann said, "It was a decent game of football. We took a while to get going. In the second half both teams showed their offensive tendencies.

"We showed good powers of recovery. Our responses to conceding the two goals was excellent. I also think that the two goals they scored were very sloppy defending on our part whereas we scored two very good goals.

"Of the two managers, I think I was the more disappointed not to get all three points. That said I think a draw was probably the right result."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Berkley Laurencin
2
Eddie Munnelly
3
Scott Cousins
4
Casey Maclaren
5
Daniel Sintim
6
John Fletcher
7
Lubomir Guentchev
8
Lee O'Leary
9
Danny Dyer
10
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
11
Jamie Busby
12
Kevin Maclaren
13
Jonathan Coke
14
Greg Ngoyi
15
James Burgess
17
Aaron Morgan

Match Events

18''
Kevin Maclaren replaced Lee O'Leary
46''
Greg Ngoyi replaced Eddie Munnelly
50''
Greg Ngoyi
68''
Aaron Morgan replaced Lubomir Guentchev
Carl Gibbs replaced Laurent Hamici
68''
75''
Danny Dyer

Cray Wanderers

1
Dave King
2
Alan McLeod
3
Alex Bentley
4
Leigh Bremner
5
Tyrone Sterling
6
John Guest
7
Ross Lover
8
Aaron Day
9
Laurent Hamici
10
Danny Phillips
11
Chris Saunders
12
Adam Cotterill
14
Tony Dolby
15
John Clarke
16
Carl Gibbs
17
Lewis Perkin