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Match Report

Hendon
2
Leiston
4
Date:
Saturday 19 December 2015
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
119
Venue:
Harrow Borough

Match Report

Hendon suffered a hugely disappointing defeat against playoff-chasing Leiston at Earlsmead on Saturday, the final score of 4-2 flattering the visitors. However, it should also be said that the quality of Hendon's defending was such that the positives at the other end of the pitch were outweighed.

There were a few changes from the team which had defeated Farnborough on Monday. Russell Short was injured, Dean Cracknell unavailable and Ismael Ehui had been recalled by Hayes & Yeading after his goalscoring debut. Into the starting line-up came Luke Tingey, Adam Wallace and Kezie Ibe, and there were a few positional changes too.

From the start, Hendon set the pace and asked questions of the Leiston defence. However, for all of the excellent approach play from Finnbar Robins and Ryan Gondoh, along with full-backs Sam Flegg and Ollie Sprague, the final ball into the danger area was not quite what was needed and neither Ibe nor Wallace were able to have scoring opportunities, being well marshalled by Danny Cunningham and Joe Jefford.

In the 18th minute, from a Hendon corner, Leiston opened the scoring. The Blues cleared the ball downfield and it found the ever-dangerous Patrick Brothers. He attacked down the left side and when the ball was played into the penalty area Gareth Heath applied the finishing touch.

It was a huge blow, but Hendon immediately tried to get back into the game. They nearly conceded a second goal, a minute later, but drive from the right side of the penalty area flashed wide of the far post with Joe Wright seemingly well beaten.

Once they got back on the front foot, Hendon were quick to set up half-chances in and around the Leiston penalty area. Unfortunately, neither Dave Diedhiou nor Wesley Fonguck are keen to take on long-range shooting and they both elected to pass when direct attempts on goal were probably the better option.

The Greens were screaming out for a little bit of inspiration to go with the hard work they were putting into their attacks. Leiston's defenders were more tan happy to throw themselves into the path of shots, but most attempts from Robins and Gondoh were wayward and a forest of bodies made things almost impossible for Wallace and Ibe.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Hendon should have been given the opportunity to draw level. A ball played across the penalty area, 12 yards out, took a slight deflection and this made it bounce higher than Cunningham expected. Although it looked like an almost inadvertent move towards it, Cunningham's hand - away from his body - knocked down the ball and allowed him to clear the danger.

Four minutes into the second half, Hendon fell further behind. Against it came on the counter-attack and, again, it was Brothers who was the provider. The only difference was the scorer, Christy Finch making the decisive contribution.

Mark Kirby came very close to pulling a goal back when he won a header from a Robins corner but his effort struck the woodwork and bounced favourably for Leiston. In the 63rd minute, Hendon made a statement of intent when Kirby was replaced by Carl McCluskey. At the same time, Ben Pattie took over from Ibe.

Sadly for Hendon, when the attacking formation lost possession in the 67th minute, Heath collected the clearance and his inch-perfect pass released Finch. Wright came off his line, but Finch beat him to the ball and slotted the ball into the net.

This time there was a successful Hendon response, and it took only a couple of minutes. Robins into the penalty area and when the ball came to Pattie, he sent it back past Ashlee Jones into the bottom corner with a low-angled shot. It was his first goal for the club.

Two minutes later, Hendon were right back into the game. Another Robins cross was flicked on by McCluskey and Wallace finished without fuss.

Leiston were clearly rattled and their already cynical time-wasting became even more obvious. Just before Tony Taggart took over from Gondoh, Hendon were given an unusual opportunity to draw level.

Having taken an age - 10 seconds at least - to clear the ball downfield, Jones was penalised (and cautioned) for carrying the ball outside his penalty area. Robins' free-kick didn't trouble Jones as it sailed over the crossbar.

With Hendon committed to all-out attack, there were obviously going to be spaces for Leiston to capitalise upon. Heath fired a shot which was comfortably saved by Wright, then drilled a drive from a Brothers cross which flashed wide of the far post, but he really should have made the Hendon goalkeeper work.

At the other end, Jones was then fortunate that the assistant referee considered his next clearance was ruled just inside the box. The assistant immediately advised the nearest defender, Seb Dunbar, that his goalkeeper should be very careful.

As the game moved into the stoppage time, Hendon were denied another penalty. The ball was played by Fonguck into the feet of McCluskey. As the substitute attempted to turn to face goal, a defender slide across him and sent him tumbling, but the claims were turned down by the referee.

Leiston didn't wait. They launched the ball downfield and substitute Joe Francis was able to break between two defenders. He controlled the ball and drove it past Wright to seal the victory.

Report by David Ballheimer

Sponsors

Match:
Rob & Chrystal Young
Matchballs:
Rob & Chrystal Young

Hendon

1
Joe Wright
2
Sam Flegg
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Mark Kirby
5
Luke Tingey
6
Dave Diedhiou
7
Finbarr Robins
8
Wesley Fonguck
9
Adam Wallace
10
Kezie Ibe
11
Ryan Gondoh
12
Carl McCluskey
13
Ben Pattie
14
Tony Taggart
15
Charlie Kuehn
16
Scott Cousins

Match Events

Gareth Heath
18''
Christy Finch
49''
63''
Carl McCluskey replaced Mark Kirby
63''
Ben Pattie replaced Kezie Ibe
Christy Finch
66''
68''
Ben Pattie
69''
Adam Wallace
Joe Francis replaced Daniel Cunningham
76''
79''
Tony Taggart replaced Ryan Gondoh
Kelsey Trotter replaced Billy Clark
82''
Jake Taylor replaced Christy Finch
90''
Joe Francis
90''

Leiston

1
Ashlee Jones
2
Blake Saker
3
Seb Dunbar
4
Daniel Cunningham
5
Joe Jefford
6
Tom Bullard
7
Leon Ottley-Gooch
8
Gareth Heath
9
Billy Clark
10
Christy Finch
11
Patrick Brothers
12
Joe Francis
14
Kelsey Trotter
15
Jake Taylor
17
Alex Rossis