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Match Report

Hastings United
1
Hendon
1
Date:
Saturday 23 April 2011
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
431
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon, still buoyed by their fantastic London Senior Cup semi-final victory over AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night, were more than good value for their 1-1 draw at struggling Hastings United on Easter Saturday afternoon.

Although they have had nothing to play for in League matches for a few months, this draw was of some important for Hendon in that it ended a run of five consecutive defeats in the Ryman League Premier Division. Indeed, with just a little bit of luck, something that has been lacking in League matches in the past few months, the Greens would have returned to north London with all three points.

The only change to the starting eleven from the match at Kingsmeadow was Aaron Morgan's replacement of the unwell Belal Aite-Ouakrim.

On a baking hot afternoon at The Pilot Field, whilst the players were sensible in conserving energy, Hastings - still needing another victory to ensure their safety - showed a surprising lack of urgency in their play. Kenny Pogue and Arron Hopkinson were easily kept under wraps by Casey Maclaren and James Parker, and it was attacks from the deeper playing Sam Adams, Harry Beautyman and George Porter, which caused more problems, though Craig Vargas and Eddie Munnelly didn't allow much to get past them on the flanks.

In the 11th minute, Hendon created the first opening. A ball into the penalty area fell nicely for Morgan, whose shot at goal was saved relatively comfortably by Seb Barton.

After 24 minutes, Adams burst out of midfield and forced James Reading into an acrobatic save. Those two efforts apart, the teams cancelled each other out and the goalkeepers were relatively untroubled.

Out of almost nothing, three minutes before half-time, the Hendon defence was split open by a pass from Beautyman. Porter managed to get in front of Maclaren, but the defender - in trying to force him wide of goal - mistimed his challenge slightly and Porter went to ground. The referee awarded a penalty with very little complaint from the Greens.

Adams has been a consummate penalty-taker for a number of years and even if Reading had guessed correctly, he would have needed to make a miraculous stop to have kept out this attempt.

Whatever was said in the Hendon dressing room at half-time, the words had the desired effect on the Greens after the resumption. They took the game to Hastings and Jamie Busby, Rakatahr Hudson, Dave Diedhiou and Scott Cousins became far more influential.

Eight minutes after the resumption, the Us replaced Pogue and Hopkinson with Russell Eldridge and Ben Billings, the former a more defensive player. The changes suggested that Hastings were content to soak up pressure and hit Hendon on the break, although only Porter had the pace to cause the visitors’ defence any problems - but he was too deep to be effective.

Morgan again was denied by Barton after 63 minutes, the goalkeeper making a save at his near post. It was a warning shot that Hastings ignored and, less than a minute later, it cost them dearly.

Cousins was the instigator with a superb long pass out to Ngoyi on the left side. He jinked inside a defender and, instead of shooting, passed to the better-placed Morgan.

This time when Morgan shot, Barton could not hold the ball and he palmed it away from the goal. However, Scott Manning was less alert than Diedhiou, whose anticipation was such that when the ball rolled wide of the far post, he was alone and had time to steady himself before rolling the ball into the unguarded goal - albeit from a very acute angle.

The equaliser was no more than Hendon deserved, and they really should have gone on to win the game from there. Diedhiou was desperately unlucky, in the 75th minute, not to score a second goal.

Busby found Cousins with a good ball out to the left wing. The captain whipped in a perfect cross which eluded all the claret-clad defenders and picked out Diedhiou. He did everything almost textbook perfectly: heading the ball powerfully, downwards and back to where the goalkeeper was coming from.

Diedhiou's only failure was not to ensure the ball bounced less than a yard from the goalline, and he looked on in horror as the ball bounced down and then over the crossbar. In a wetter spring, with the pitches less hard, he would undoubtedly have scored. It proved to be his final meaningful action of the afternoon as Danny Dyer replaced him a couple of minutes later.

Hendon did have one huge escape a couple of minutes after Dyer’s introduction. The Greens rather needlessly conceded a corner on the Hastings right. The ball was curled in and picked out and unmarked Porter, who was barely 10 yards from the goal.

Porter steadied himself before heading towards goal, but managed to put his unchallenged effort wide of the target. It was a dreadful miss, one that will have calamitous repercussions should the Us lose their last game of the season.

With a couple of minutes remaining, a nasty challenge by Beautyman on Cousins saw the Hendon man retaliate and both players were rather fortunate that the referee contented himself with a caution for each.

Hendon's last chance to snatch a winner came from Dyer, in the 89th minute. He cut inside Manning and fired a shot which Barton did well to save.

"I thought we did really well," said Hendon manager Gary McCann. "We were well worthy of at least a point and did enough to win the game in the second half when we might have scored two or three more goals."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
James Reading
2
Eddie Munnelly
3
Craig Vargas
4
Casey Maclaren
5
James Parker
6
Rakatahr Hudson
7
Jamie Busby
8
Dave Diedhiou
9
Greg Ngoyi
10
Aaron Morgan
11
Scott Cousins
12
Bradley Ambrose
13
James Burgess
14
Danny Dyer
15
Albjon Blloku
17
Michael Peacock

Match Events

Sam Adams
42''
Russell Eldridge replaced Kenny Pogue
53''
Ben Billings replaced Arron Hopkinson
53''
65''
Dave Diedhiou
75''
Danny Dyer replaced Dave Diedhiou

Hastings United

1
Seb Barton
2
Ollie Rowe
3
Scott Manning
4
Lee Carey
5
Sean Ray
6
Josh Jirbandey
7
Sam Adams
8
Harry Beautyman
9
Kenny Pogue
10
Arron Hopkinson
11
George Porter
12
Ross Sutton
14
Russell Eldridge
15
Tim Olorunda
16
Ben Billings
17
Ryan Storey