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Match Report

Hendon
1
Billericay Town
1
Date:
Monday 25 April 2011
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
156
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon concluded their home league campaign at a warm and sunny Vale Farm with a 1-1 draw against a Billericay Town side who, until the weekend, had been fighting hard for a play off spot. With little to play for, both sides deserve a lot of credit for producing an entertaining and hard fought match played in an excellent spirit.

The Hendon side showed 1 change from the eleven that drew at Hastings on Saturday with Michael Peacock replacing Eddie Munnelly and partnering Casey Maclaren at centre back, James Parker moving to right back. Former Jamaican international and Hendon youngster Micah Hyde was the most notable absentee from the visitor's line-up.

The Greens, who have been buoyed by their extra time London Senior Cup Semi Final win against AFC Wimbledon, began brightly. Scott Cousins sent a fizzing drive just over the top of Ashlee Jones' goal in the first five minutes and Rakatahr Hudson sent a glancing header from an inswinging Cousins corner wide of the target. James Reading was called into action soon after, getting down well to turn a low Benson Kpaka shot around the post.

The visitors took the lead in the 11th minute from a hotly disputed penalty. A long throw in from the right was headed on by a Billericay head. Michael Peacock was the nearest defender to him and collided with the Billericay man as he was on his way down from the header. There was no appeal from any blue shirt, the visitors' dugout, nor the fans behind the goal, but the referee ruled that Peacock's contact was illegal and pointed to the penalty spot. Hendon protestations fell on deaf ears and it was left to Adam Flanagan to coolly send Reading the wrong way from the spot and give the away side the lead.

It was a lead that they should have doubled shortly afterwards as a bouncing ball deceived Casey Maclaren and allowed Cedric Ngakam a clear run on goal. With the ball bouncing and Reading off his line, the powerful 'Ricay forward opted to lift the ball over the goalkeeper. Whilst he achieved the elevation required, the direction of the effort was lacking and the ball bounced a couple of yards wide of Reading’s left upright.

In recent weeks at this point, Hendon heads would have dropped and Billericay would have gone on to win comfortably. It is to their credit that they responded extremely well following this let off and ought to have been level when Aaron Morgan, looking at least a yard offside, collected a smart through ball from the influential Dave Diedhiou and advanced on Jones. Whilst the angle was acute, Morgan was disappointed to have missed the target after beating the goalkeeper, the ball bobbling just past the far post.

The equaliser came two minutes later and owed much to the tenacity and persistence of Morgan. Receiving the ball in the inside left channel with his back to goal, he cleverly turned his marker Greg Oates and got into the box before sending a low ball into the 6 yard box. Jamie Busby had timed his run into the box to perfection and arrived to simply sidefoot the ball inside the near post to bring the sides level. It was the midfielder's 18th goal of the season bringing him level with Belal Aite-Ouakrim at the top of first team goalscoring charts.

Both sides had good chances to go in a goal up at the break. Firstly, a Hendon short corner routine broke down and Ian Cousins was able to intercept. With just Craig Vargas on the halfway line, the ball was worked to Junior Luke and Billericay suddenly found themselves with a 2 on 1 situation. As Luke teased the backtracking Vargas, James Lawson was free to his left and trying desperately to stay onside. Where a simple pass to Lawson would have left the former Southend man with a clear run on goal, Luke decided to go it alone and although he forced an excellent tip over from Reading, the feeling was that he had picked the wrong option.

Soon afterwards, Morgan found himself chasing a long ball in behind the Billericay back four. With Jones coming out to narrow the angle; the striker lofted the ball over the goalkeeper and, as Ngakam had earlier in the half, well wide of the target. Morgan immediately sank to his knees and knew that a good chance had gone begging. Hendon continued to press before the break and Ngoyi was just unable to connect with a delightful Parker cross, whilst just before the whistle, Diedhiou sent a powerful header from a Cousins cross just wide of the far post.

The second period began quietly as both sides looked to regain their rhythm after the break. It was Hendon who settled the quicker and had a ten minute spell after the hour mark where they ought to have gone ahead. After Diedhiou had forced a comfortable save from Jones, Greg Ngoyi had two good chances to put the Greens ahead.

The first came from a superb Diedhiou cross which dropped behind Flanagan and Ian Cousins. Ngoyi, unmarked no more than 12 yards out opted to shoot first time but his effort lacked both power and direction and the ball bounced into Jones’ arms. The second chance, moments later was even better.

Marlon Patterson's backpass to Jones was well underhit and the predatory Ngoyi did well to anticipate and then intercept the ball. He was left clear on Jones and with all the time in the world to pick his spot. To Jones' credit, he stood tall and made it as difficult as he could for the striker and was able to make a smart block as Ngoyi looked to tuck the ball inside the near post. It was a gilt edged chance though and symptomatic of the team's recent struggles in front of goal.

As the half wore on, Billericay looked the more likely to score a winner. Experienced striker Tony Boot headed just wide before volleying wildly wide from a right wing cross where it looked as if he had time to take the ball down before shooting. In the final few minutes, Hendon were indebted to Reading for preserving a point as he made two excellent saves from substitute Jordan Hibbert.

The first stop in particular was outstanding as Hibbert's shot after a run at Vargas was headed into the bottom corner of the net. Reading got down superbly at full stretch to divert the ball around the post. In the final minute, the dangerous substitute had another effort repelled, this time by Reading's feet atthe near post, the ball safely rebounding out for a corner.

Manager Gary McCann was pleased with his side's effort after the game saying, "We played well today and on the balance of chances perhaps could have won the game. Still, I am pleased with the point following on from that on Saturday and I hope we can go on to end the season on a high note."

Report by John Rogers

Hendon

1
James Reading
2
Michael Peacock
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
Lewis Putman
13
James Burgess
14
Bradley Ambrose
15
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
17
Danny Dyer

Match Events

Jamie Busby
Adam Flanagan
13''
Harrison Chatting replaced Cedric Ngakam
46''
76''
Lewis Putman replaced Dave Diedhiou
76''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim replaced Greg Ngoyi
Jordan Hibbert replaced Junior Luke
76''
85''
James Burgess replaced Michael Peacock

Billericay Town

1
Ashlee Jones
2
Greg Oates
3
Marlon Patterson
4
Sean Bonnett-Johnson
5
Ian Cousins
6
Adam Flanagan
7
Benson Kpaka
8
Ryan O'Rawe
9
Cedric Ngakam
10
James Lawson
11
Junior Luke
12
Jordan Hibbert
14
Tony Boot
15
Harrison Chatting
16
Tony Martin
17
Nick Morgan