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Match Report

Hendon
2
Grays Athletic
2
Date:
Monday 07 December 2015
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
123
Venue:
Harrow Borough

Match Report

Hendon and Grays Athletic played out a third consecutive Ryman League Premier Division draw at Earlsmead on Monday night, this time 2-2.

This was the type of game from which neutral spectators will have left more than satisfied with the entertainment, both teams' supporters will be satisfied with a point, and both benches frustrated that poor defending or individual errors allowed two goals, but both attacks didn’t take the numerous chances on offer.

The only change to the Greens' starting line-up was the absence of the injured Kezie Ibe, so Ben Pattie moved up from the bench. Coming into the 16, as substitutes, were Adam Wallace and Hassan Sulaiman. Charlie Kuehn was the other substitute from Saturday not to make the bench.

There was a spectacular start to the game. Grays, whose speed in attack unsettled the Hendon defence all evening, took less than three minutes to take the lead. A through ball went to Dumebi Dumaka who broke clear. The highly-touted striker, being chased by a number of professional clubs, added to his reputation with a neat finish past Joe Wright.

Hendon needed to hit back quickly and they did so in 10th minute. A through ball from Pattie picked out Dean Cracknell who burst past the last defender. Lamar Johnson came off his line, and was beaten by Cracknell's clinical strike.

The game was played at great pace with chances not taken at both ends. Wright and Johnson made a couple of good saves though the latter did make a couple of strange decisions when coming off his line.

His sliding tackle on the edge of box - close to the goal-line out wide - had to be timed perfectly. Crucially, Johnson did get the ball, but then sent the attacker sprawling with his follow-through. Having played the ball first, there was no question of a penalty.

The clearance, however, did not go far downfield and when the shot was fired back towards the target, Johnson appeared to be jogging towards his goal. Sean Cronin, however, who has emergency goalkeeping experience, was well-placed to deal with the danger, without using his hands.

In the 31st minute, Hendon took the lead from an unlikely source. A free-kick curled into the penalty area was perfectly weighted for Cracknell, who ghosted past two defenders to head the ball past Johnson for his second of the night.

Once again, the lead lasted eight minutes. Dumaka again timed a run behind the Hendon defence perfectly and reached the ball just before the advancing Wright. The angle suggested the goalkeeper might have been better served forcing the striker to control the ball, steady himself then beat him with a shot.

Instead, Dumaka touched the ball past Wright and, with angle becoming increasingly tight, he stuck out a long leg and injected just enough power into his shot to roll the ball into the net before a covering defender could get back to deal with the danger.

Wright redeemed himself with two excellent saves in the last five minutes of the half. He was at full-stretch to push aside a powerful 30-yard strike from Alex Addai. Then, just before the whistle, he did even better to deny Kenny Beaney, not only making the save, but pushing the ball away from three advancing Grays players looking for a rebound.

Luke Tingey, Ollie Sprague, Dave Diedhiou and Sam Flegg did much better in the second half limiting Grays' dangermen to fewer openings. Nonetheless Wright was still called into action a few times.

At the other end, Sprague almost scored with a swerving driven cross. Johnson made no attempt to reach the ball and was somewhat relieved to hear the ball bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Wallace and Andre Da Costa were called into action midway through the half replacing Cracknell - who had just taken a knock - and Pattie. Although he has not played much because of work commitments, Wallace brought a different, dynamic energy to the Hendon attack.

Grays had a concerted spell of pressure which brought out the best in the Hendon defence. Wright made two good saves, but there was a sense of frustration on the Grays side because - currently suffering a dip in form - these were the sort of chances that had to be taken if they were to return to winning ways.

It must be said that the same applied to Hendon, whose need for victory is probably even more pressing than their visitors. But, the Greens, too, were close but got no cigars.

In the 78th minute, Wallace got around the back of the Grays defence and floated a cross which was met by a flying Finnbar Robins. His header, if it had not been straight at Johnson, would almost certainly have restored the Hendon lead. The goalkeeper still had to be athletic to tip the ball over the crossbar.

The Greens continued to create openings and Russell Short, Da Costa, Sam Murphy and Wesley Fonguck - who has impressed in the defensive midfield role - all had opportunities. Frustratingly, Murphy was in a better position than Da Costa, who saw his shot blocked, but there was no communication between the two.

In stoppage time, Tony Taggart took over from Robins, but there wasn't enough time for him to get the chance to make a meaningful contribution.

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Joe Wright
2
Luke Tingey
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Sam Flegg
5
Dave Diedhiou
6
Russell Short
7
Finbarr Robins
8
Wesley Fonguck
9
Ben Pattie
10
Dean Cracknell
11
Sam Murphy
12
Andre Da Costa
13
Tony Taggart
14
Hassan Sulaiman
15
Adam Wallace
16
Melvin Minter

Match Events

Dumebi Dumaka
3''
10''
Dean Cracknell
30''
Dean Cracknell
Dumebi Dumaka
38''
65''
Adam Wallace replaced Ben Pattie
65''
Andre Da Costa replaced Dean Cracknell
Roman Michael-Percil replaced Alex Addai
75''
Mark Bentley replaced Montel Agyemang
85''
90''
Tony Taggart replaced Finbarr Robins

Grays Athletic

1
Lamar Johnson
2
Luke Ifil
3
Tommy Cummings
4
Sean Cronin
5
Jay Leader
6
Montel Agyemang
7
Alex Addai
8
Kenny Beaney
9
Dumebi Dumaka
10
Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson
11
Joao Carlos
12
Mark Bentley
14
Jake Hutchins
17
Jey Siva
19
Roman Michael-Percil
20
Harry Agombar