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Match Report

Hendon
2
Wealdstone
3
Date:
Saturday 13 February 2010
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
331
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon lost a sixth consecutive Ryman League Premier Division fixture against Wealdstone when a calamitous first-half showing left them with too much of a mountain to climb. In truth, Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Vale Farm was entirely deserved.

New on-loan striker Anthony Thomas, from runaway Zamaretto League Premier Division leaders Farnborough, came in for his debut replacing Dave Diedhiou in a reshuffled Hendon formation. James Bent and Wayne O'Sullivan were paired on the right side, with the former at full-back, but it was an experiment that failed dismally.

Hendon had three full-backs on the bench in Diedhiou, James Burgess and Craig Vargas, while two more proficient wing-backs, Bent and Scott Cousins filled the full-back roles.

There was no hint of what was to come as Hendon, buoyed by two fine away wins in a week, made the perfect start, albeit with a touch of good fortune.

In the fifth minute an attempted clearance by Darren Locke flew out of out of the ground close to the corner flag. None of the three match officials had a chance to see whether it was a corner or throw-in, but the latter seemed the more likely outcome.

The referee, however, awarded a corner, which was taken by Cousins. It was not perfectly delivered, but James Parker did well to get in front of Charlie Mpi and flick the ball back towards the penalty spot. Fastest to react for Anthony Thomas, whose first effort struck the underside of the crossbar and second attempt found the back of the net.

Two minutes later, Danny Spendlove made the first of his numerous forays into the Hendon defence. He fired off a powerful shot which stung the hands of James Reading, who pushed the ball out for a corner.

Hendon's defence coped well with the set-piece and a pass out of defence released Anthony Thomas. The striker got behind the last defender and knocked the ball past Wealdstone keeper Sean Thomas.

Unfortunately for the striker, the ball went the wrong side of the post and nestled in the side netting. It proved to be a turning point in the match.

Wealdstone began to take control, with Spendlove pulling most of the strings. Neither O'Sullivan nor Bent had any answer to his clever runs and Parker and Brad Thomas were kept on their toes by the dangerous Mpi and Callum Martin.

It really was no surprise when, after 15 minutes, Wealdstone drew level. A free-kick was crossed into the penalty area and was knocked down by Martin. The ball fell to Locke, who smacked the ball past Reading.

Worse followed for Hendon just two minutes later. The Greens had a free-kick which was curled into the penalty area, far too close to Sean Thomas. The former Hendon loanee made a simple catch, took three steps forward and threw a pass out to Spendlove.

Spendlove wasted no time in sprinting past O'Sullivan, danced past Bent's hopeful lunge and then had a clear run down the left wing. Parker came across to make a tackle, but he too was beaten and when Spendlove drilled a low cross towards the penalty spot, there was no one to stop Martin from stroking the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.

Suddenly, Hendon's confidence disappeared. Passes which had been made with ease in the first dozen or so minutes became wayward and 50-yard balls were intercepted without much difficulty by Lee Chappell and Marvin McCoy. They were then able to launch immediate counter-attacks which bore serious menace every time.

A third goal was almost inevitable and it duly arrived after 27 minutes. The Hendon defence was again guilty of poor marking as a long ball arrived at the far post, where no one was tracking Martin. He had time to pick his spot and the Wealdstone players and fans behind the goal celebrated for the third time in 12 minutes.

Quite how Wealdstone failed to add further misery to Hendon is a mystery. The Greens were ripe for the taking and there must have been serious thought given in the Hendon dugout for changes in personnel. No decision was made and the teams left the pitch with Wealdstone only two goals to the good - the same situation Hendon had faced at Margate seven days earlier.

O'Sullivan and the Peter Dean were sacrificed for the start of the second half, with Diedhiou and Kevin Maclaren taking their places. The junior Maclaren's midfield tenacity and Diedhiou's better defensive technique stifled Spendlove's adventurous running and Martin and Mpi became rather starved of the ball.

Not all the tackling was either good or legal and as the second half progressed the yellow card count rose and, it must be said, Hendon were by the far the guiltier of the two teams. In the end 10 players saw 11 yellow cards, with Bent the one to receive two yellows and the red which inevitably followed, although it was in the 87th minute.

Hendon certainly made a much better fist of their performance in the second half and they needed only a little bit better luck to have escaped from the match with at least a share of the spoils. After 62 minutes, Diedhiou, who committed the worst foul of the afternoon, came within inches of making it 3-2 with a diagonal shot that beat Sean Thomas and also the far post.

After 67 minutes, Reading produced a superb save to deny McCoy a goal and a couple of minutes later, Bradley Woods-Garness replaced the tiring former Stone Lee O'Leary. Hendon, finally, had to genuine attacking threats on the pitch. And, after 72 minutes, the Greens got their lifeline.

Another Cousins corner was met by Parker's head and this time it was Casey Maclaren who fired the ball past Sean Thomas into the net. Locke and Alan Massey – yet another former Hendon loan player - were outstanding at the heart of the Wealdstone defence and they, combined with Sean Thomas kept out everything Hendon threw at them.

Brad Thomas headed a corner just over the crossbar when he really should have put the effort on target and a Jamie Busby drive struck the stationary heel of Locke, sending the ball out for a corner. Without the deflection, it would certainly have been 3-3.

Anthony Thomas forced another save from his namesake Sean after 82 minutes and the goalkeeper then stood up well to block another chance for Casey Maclaren.

In the 87th minute Bent picked up his second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Stones substitute Dave King right on the edge of the Hendon penalty area. As he trudged down the tunnel, Mark E'Beyer lifted the free-kick over the defensive wall and the crossbar.

Woods-Garness, who had already put an effort inches wide of the far post, under extreme pressure from Massey, then saw a goalbound deflection brilliantly tipped around the upright by Sean Thomas. This time the corner came to nothing and when the final whistle blew, there was as much relief as there was joy on the visiting players', officials' and supporters' faces.

"We gave it everything we had in the second half," said Hendon manager Gary McCann. "We were outstanding.

"We were strolling at 1-0 up in the first half and we got cocky. Our passing became very sloppy and they took complete control. We didn't mark well and our passing became terrible. I told the players what I thought at half-time and we had to make changes.

"In the second half we had at least three great chances, but we didn't take them and that was the difference between picking up a point and losing the match."

Report by David Ballheimer

Sponsors

Matchballs:
Steve & Phil Neville
Mascots:
Luke Harrison

Hendon

1
James Reading
2
Wayne O'Sullivan
3
Scott Cousins
4
Bradley Thomas
5
James Parker
6
Jamie Busby
7
James Bent
8
Lee O'Leary
9
Casey Maclaren
10
Anthony Thomas
11
Peter Dean
12
Kevin Maclaren
14
Bradley Woods-Garness
15
James Burgess
16
Dave Diedhiou
17
Craig Vargas

Match Events

2''
Dave Diedhiou replaced Unknown
6''
Anthony Thomas
8''
Bradley Woods-Garness replaced Unknown
11''
Kevin Maclaren replaced Unknown
Darren Locke
15''
Callum Martin
18''
Callum Martin
27''
73''
Casey Maclaren
David King replaced Adam Logie
82''
Jamie Osborne replaced Callum Martin
87''
88''
James Bent

Wealdstone

1
Sean Thomas
2
Marvin McCoy
3
Lee Chappell
4
Darren Locke
5
Alan Massey
6
Adam Logie
7
Mark E'Beyer
8
Chris O'Leary
9
Charlie Mpi
10
Callum Martin
11
Danny Spendlove
12
David King
14
James Gray
15
Jamie Osborne
16
Rob Fitzgerald
17
Sam Beagle