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Match Report

VCD Athletic
2
Hendon
3
Date:
Saturday 20 February 2016
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
110
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon came out on top of an error-strewn, but thoroughly entertaining encounter at Oakview on Saturday taking with the a very welcome three points that increases the cushion between them and the relegation zone to ten points.

The team showed two changes from the side that had grafted so impressively against Hampton & Richmond Borough the previous week with Carl McCluskey and Adam Wallace replacing Dean Cracknell and Ben Pattie, the latter being joined on the substitutes bench by his QPR clubmate and new Hendon loanee, Brandon Adams.

The hosts were quickly out of the blocks, giving the Hendon back four a couple of early tests but without creating anything worthwhile. Hendon then began to exert themselves and could have found themselves a couple of goals to the good inside 10 minutes. Wesley Fonguck, who had a splendid game in midfield with his hard running and adroit passing, fed the ball to Tony Taggart. His shot appeared to beat Rob Budd in the VCD goal, but was repelled but the post, a defender or combination thereof. Moments later, neat build up saw the ball placed inside the VCD right back where Ollie Sprague was able to gallop clear on goal like a terrier chasing a tennis ball. Unfortunately, the angle didn't suit the left-footed approach and his attempted effort with the outside of the boot was patted away by Budd. Yet to learn their lesson, 90 seconds later the VCD offside trap was sprung again, this time by Wallace wide on the right. He looked to be in two minds as to whether to shoot or square the ball to Ibe who was haring up in support. In the end, he probably chose the wrong option miscuing his shot into the side netting at Budd's near post.

Midway through the first half, Hendon did finally have the ball in the back of the VCD net, however McCluskey's crisp first time half volley that flew into the top corner of the net was ruled out by an assistant's flag against Wallace in the build up. Following this, Fonguck twice went close to scoring his first Hendon goal, firstly being denied by a smart Rob Budd save low to his right and then, following a spell of ricochet rebellion in the home penalty area, putting an effort a yard over the top.

As the half wore on and chances went begging at one end, so the feeling increased that Hendon might be made to pay at the other. VCD's main threat was carried by the man mountainous beast of a number 9, Ricky Sappleton. On 39 minutes, he unleashed an absolute thunderclunk of a strike from fully 35 yards that dipped viciously over Wright and thundered off the crossbar. This time it was the Hendon back four who hadn't heeded the warning and two minutes later, he was given time and space to turn 25 yards from goal and bury a low drive into the bottom corner of the net beyond Wright's despairing dive.

To the visitors' credit, rather than feeling sorry for themselves they were level within 60 seconds. Omar Vassell forced a corner down the right flank which was floated in by Taggart. Two green-shirted defenders got in each other's way trying to clear the ball and when Diedhiou headed the ball goalwards, captain Kezie Ibe was on hand to put the finishing touches to the move and pop the ball over the line for an equaliser. This was the 1000th competitive goal under Gary McCann's management.

There was still time for another Hendon chance to go begging before the break, a low cross from the left hand side was met by Ibe, however Budd got down low and made a super sprawling save to maintain parity at the break.

With a noticeably stronger wind at their backs in the second half than they had faced in the first, Hendon set about trying to get their noses in front and stay there straight away. The first chance fell to Wallace who, chasing a long clearance down hurried Budd into an awful clearance. The ball flew across goal and as Wallace looked to get his effort away, a splendid covering challenge from Joe Bruce put the ball out for a corner.

The goalkeeper redeemed himself shortly after with another fine save, this time from a low Short drive just inside the penalty area after the home side had failed to clear their lines from a ball into the penalty area.

That failing would come back to haunt them eleven minutes into the second half. Yet another corner into the box, this time from Vassell, was not cleared. The ball bounced this way and that before McCluskey hit a shot into the ground from about 10 yards out. The ball may have taken a deflection on its way beyond Budd and inside the post to give the visitors the lead, but there was no question of it not being credited to the Hendon man.

Two minutes later the ball was in the net again when a ball from Fonguck behind the VCD back four found Taggart in behind. This time, Budd could not stop the ball which squirmed through his legs and over the line. However, Hendon celebrations were cut short once again by an official's flag, once again against Wallace. The Hendon number 9 was certainly in an offside position, yet he made no attempt to interfere with the ball and as such, the ambiguity around the offside law caused much consternation amongst the Hendon faithful.

Wallace was then denied by yet another excellent Budd save, after launching himself onto a deft touch by Ibe behind the VCD backline before finally, the Blues found themselves with the comfort of a two goal cushion.

For the third time a corner into the heart of the penalty area, Taggart again the provider, was not dealt with and following more pinball wizard, McCluskey once again pounced from three yards out, firing the ball into the inviting net.

It was a cushion that was fully deserved and also one that was needed in the final reckoning. Although the supply of chances dried up from a Hendon point of view, a wind assisted clearance from deep inside the Hendon half bounced over Budd and landed on the roof of the VCD net. To be fair to the VCD custodian, he did have the ball covered.

At the other end, to the hosts' credit they kept plugging away and never let Hendon find cruise control. Wright was beaten by a Neita shot, but Casey Maclaren threw his body in the way of the ball and produced an excellent block and with thirteen minutes remaining, they reduced the arrears. This time it was the Hendon back four that appeared to have been caught attempting to juggle oranges whilst clearing a ball into their box. Whilst succeeding in doing neither, Sappleton took matters into his own hands and crashed the ball home with a rifle-crack of his right foot.

Although VCD pushed forwards in search of an equaliser and forced a couple of corners, whilst Hendon continued to threaten on the counter-attack, particularly through the pacey Brandon Adams, there were no further sights of goal. In the end the blue-shirts held on comfortably for a richly deserved three-points that should, in truth, have been rather more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.

Report by John Rogers

Hendon

1
Joe Wright
2
Omar Vassell
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Dave Diedhiou
5
Casey Maclaren
6
Wesley Fonguck
7
Carl McCluskey
8
Russell Short
9
Adam Wallace
10
Kezie Ibe
11
Tony Taggart
12
Finbarr Robins
13
Luke Tingey
14
Addison Garnett
15
Ben Pattie
16
Brandon Adams

Match Events

43''
Kezie Ibe
Ricky Sappleton
43''
Harry Brickwood replaced Jose Figura
45''
56''
Carl McCluskey
62''
Carl McCluskey
Ashley Probets replaced Ricardo Joseph
70''
74''
Ben Pattie replaced Kezie Ibe
74''
Finbarr Robins replaced Russell Short
Ricky Sappleton
77''
87''
Brandon Adams replaced Adam Wallace

VCD Athletic

1
Rob Budd
2
Frantz Tchonang
3
Ricardo Joseph
4
Davidson Tejaiye
6
Richard Avery
7
Alex Kelly
8
Jose Figura
9
Ricky Sappleton
10
Lheureux Menga
11
Nigel Neita
17
Joe Bruce
12
Mark Nwokeji
14
Harry Brickwood
15
Ashley Probets
16
Jack Barnes
19
Enosch Arbaut