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Match Report

Leatherhead
2
Hendon
5
Date:
Saturday 26 September 2015
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
236
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon produced an excellent performance in brushing aside - in more ways than one - a Leatherhead team which saw its run without a victory extended to eight games. The fragile Tanners' central defence, which conceded goals in the opening two minutes of both halves, could not cope with power, strength and speed of Leon Smith, who scored twice and might doubled that total.

The Greens, in their change kit of all red, were forced to make two changes from the team which drew with Merstham a week earlier. Fit-again Russell Short replaced the suspended Aaron Morgan and Tony Taggart took over from the injured Andre Da Costa.

Leatherhead had the first attack, but it came to nothing as a wayward pass went out for a throw-in. Just a few seconds later, Hendon took the lead.

A ball out of defence left Jerry Nnamani isolated with Smith. It was a physical no-contest because Smith outsmuscled the defender, had a clear run at goal and slipped the ball past Louis Wells, who might have been a step slow coming off his line.

Joe Bruce, Nnamani's centre-back partner was only slightly more assured or comfortable, but still didn#t exude confidence. Smith nearly scored again when he won another challenge on the edge of the box. His effort was parried by Wells, but Hendon couldn't convert the rebound.

Another chance for Hendon went begging as Leatherhead were being overrun, Short shooting over the bar from an excellent position, but suddenly the Tanners were back in the game. In the 28th minute, the Dons conceded a needless free kick on the edge of their own penalty area.

Melvin Minter built the wall and stood behind it as Vas Karagiannis lined up the ball. The goalkeeper left a large space on the right side and Karagiannis drilled the ball through the gap into the net.

It didn't take long - just four minutes - for Hendon to regain the lead. Lee O'Leary played a ball out to the right wing, where Flegg and Maz Bettache linked up well.

O'Leary ran towards the far post and had no defender following him, so he was unmarked as Flegg's cross reached him. The captain didn't try to score, but headed the ball across the penalty area, right into the path of Dave Diedhiou, who beat Wells from close range. Once again, the home defence was guilty of not covering a run into the danger area.

Frustratingly, repeating mistakes was a feature of the first half and, three minutes before the interval, another free-kick conceded by the Dons on the edge of the penalty area proved costly. This time the wall was not necessarily in the wrong position because Karagiannis bent the ball over the line of six red shirts and watched it dip just under the crossbar before Minter could reach it.

Hendon's first goal of the first half had come inside 90 seconds; their one to start the second was even better. It took just 26 seconds for Bettache to jink outside Ryan Mahal, then inside, to create a shooting opportunity.

By his own admission, Bettache's strike was not clean, but the result was what looked like a perfect side-foot just inside the near post. Wells, expecting the ball to be aimed at the far post, was slow to react and didn’t get his hand to the ball as it went just inside the post.

The goalkeeper's furious reaction to himself made it clear, he felt the blame was his, rather than the continued poor play by the four in front of him. At the other end, the difference between the two teams was again brought into sharp focus with an effort at the near post.

Leatherhead attacked down the left side and Karagiannis delivered a low cross just outside the goal area. Kiernan Hughes-Mason, for a rare time, managed to get in front of Mark Kirby and Luke Tingey and he side-footed the ball towards the net. Minter threw himself to his right and made a brilliant save.

Diedhiou really should have extended the Hendon lead after 64 minutes when he wasted two great scoring opportunities. He scuffed his first shot against the foot of the post and then hit the rebound over the crossbar.

Five minutes later, Hendon effectively made the game safe. Knowing the Tanners' discomfort in individual battles for possession, a simple ball into space invited Smith and Nnamani to contest it. Once again the defender was a poor second and Smith smashed the ball into the net to make it 4-2.

Almost immediately, Kezie Ibe took over from Taggart, while the Tanners sent on Isaac Nehemie to shore up the defence. The response backfired as the Leatherhead replacement was cautioned for a reckless challenge within three minutes of his introduction.

And Nehemie was rather fortunate to see out the 90 minutes when he brought down Bettache centimetres outside the penalty area. It wasn't as bad a foul as his first one, but a yellow card would have been a routine sanction.

The referee, who had an outstanding game - and also made sure there were no problems with defences moving back the requisite distance by using the spray now employed at higher levels - made it clear that this was a final warning.

Leatherhead's defending was poor in open play and they showed it was no better from set pieces. Wells screamed at a couple of players to assist with the marking at the near post.

Although a couple of players did come to Wells' aid, no one bothered to cover the far post, the near post or any Hendon runners approaching the six-yard box. Ollie Sprague curled the ball into this danger area and Diedhiou had only one player within three metres of him as headed the ball into the net to complete his double.

In the final few minutes, Jake Cass and Max McCann replaced Smith and Short, respectively, but Leatherhead’s only concern was to reach the final whistle without conceding another goal.

Hendon

1
Melvin Minter
2
Sam Flegg
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Luke Tingey
5
Mark Kirby
6
Dave Diedhiou
7
Russell Short
8
Lee O'Leary
9
Leon Smith
10
Mahrez Bettache
11
Tony Taggart
12
Kezie Ibe
13
Jake Cass
14
Max McCann
15
Ben Frempah
16
Joe Wright

Match Events

2''
Leon Smith
Vasieleious Karagiannis
26''
33''
Dave Diedhiou
Vasieleious Karagiannis
40''
46''
Mahrez Bettache
69''
Leon Smith
70''
Kezie Ibe replaced Tony Taggart
Isaac Nehemie replaced Joey Taylor
77''
Josh Gallagher replaced Stacy Long
77''
82''
Dave Diedhiou
83''
Jake Cass replaced Leon Smith
Daniel Burnett Thomas replaced Phil Walsh
85''
89''
Max McCann replaced Russell Short

Leatherhead

1
Louis Wells
2
Ryan Mahal
3
Joey Taylor
4
Matt Smart
5
Joe Bruce
6
Jerry Nnamani
7
Wes Daly
8
Kiernan Hughes-Mason
9
Phil Walsh
10
Stacy Long
11
Vasieleious Karagiannis
12
Josh Gallagher
14
Daniel Burnett Thomas
15
Isaac Nehemie
16
Jordan Gallagher
17
Jake Nimmo