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Match Report

Lewes
2
Hendon
2
Date:
Saturday 05 March 2016
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
374
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon were grateful for Brandon Adams' first two goals for Hendon as the Greens came from a goal down to snatch a point from Lewes. And if Kezie Ibe had done better with his stoppage time chance, it might have a cruel afternoon for the Ryman League Premier Division's bottom club.

As it is, Hendon are now on 45 points, 21 clear of the Rooks with both teams having played 37 of their 46 League fixtures. The gap between the Greens and the bottom four is now 14 points and there are nine to the 20th club, Needham Market.

Hendon were forced to reshuffle with Luke Tingey and Tony Taggart coming into the team. Brandon Adams also swapped places with Ben Pattie.

When the Rooks had visited Earlsmead on Monday, they had made life difficult for Hendon with their enthusiasm. This time their enterprise was rewarded inside two minutes.

A ball to the left wing caught Adams out of position and Tingey could not get to Miguel Baptista before he delivered a cross into the penalty area. No defender or midfielder reacted to the late-arriving Lloyd Cotton, and his header was placed just well enough that when Joe Wright dived to make the save, his outstretched hand could only help the ball into the net.

Defensive insecurity was not confined to those in front of Wright; the Rooks in front of Chris Winterton were often in a flap when the Greens attacked. Not helping the spectators was Hendon's midnight blue kit which, from behind looked very similar to the large all black panel sported by Lewes – their red stripes being confined to the front and bottom few inches of their shirts.

In the ninth minute, Hendon forced a corner which was teasingly curled in by Taggart. No defender could get to the ball but Casey Maclaren's header was at just too tight an angle for the defender to find a way inside the far post. Instead it clanged against the goalframe and bounced away to safety.

Two minutes later Finnbar Robins played a clever through ball into the path of Adams, who had got behind Leon Redwood. Although the angle was narrow, the presence of both Ibe and Carl McCluskey around the six-yard-back, it gave Adams the option of passing or shooting.

Adams took the latter choice and fired the ball through Winterton, who was beaten as much by the ball's power is its accuracy as it nestled in the side netting inside the far post.

With half an hour on the clock, Hendon had a big escape when a ball into the penalty area appeared to be handled by a defender. The two benches both felt that it was a penalty, but the referee and his assistant, closer to the incident, decided that the arm was not away from the body and allowed play to continue.

On the stroke of half-time, more Hendon defensive laxity gave Lewes the chance to regain the lead. A poor defensive header from Ollie Sprague fell to Baptista, whose drilled shot was well saved by Wright. No Hendon player was anywhere near quick enough to the loose ball and Conlon hammered it into the roof of the net.

The half-time tongue lashing in the Hendon dressing room at half-time certainly had the desired effect. The Greens were a much better, more organised and confident team in the early minutes of the second half and, 12 minutes after the restart, McCluskey had a great chance to equalise, but his effort hit the post with Winterton beaten.

It delayed the equaliser by all of a minute. A through ball found Adams sprinting past Jordan Badger - who, 55 minutes into the game at the Dripping Pan in February 2015, had taken over as emergency goalkeeper.

The teenager, showing an astuteness and awareness of his situation far beyond his years, glanced up to see Winterton coming off his line. Adams carefully lifted his header over the stranded the goalkeeper and was running away in celebration even before the ball crossed the goalline.

Before play could resume, Sam Flegg took over from Sprague, causing another defensive reshuffle, a move that strengthened the back four.

Badger nearly atoned for his slowness of reaction by drilling a corner goalwards but he was denied by a brave block from Garnett, who threw himself in front of the ball. The next Lewes attack led to another huge appeal for a penalty, but this time it certainly appeared that not only could Tingey, leaping and twisting, not have got out of the ball's path, but his arm was certainly by his side.

At the other end, Hendon felt they should have had a penalty for handball, and possibly one for a foul on Ibe. All three claims were emphatically waved away by the referee.

Hendon then won a free-kick right on the edge of the Lewes penalty area when Stacey Freeman felled McCluskey. The midfielder saw the referee pointing for a free-kick as he lay a couple yards inside the penalty area, but although most of McCluskey was inside the box, the defender and McCluskey's trailing leg did appear to be outside.

Robins lined up the free-kick with a wall of five red shirts and one blue in front of him. The strike was excellent, curling over the wall, but Winterton threw himself to his left to palm the ball aside.

Both teams continued to create and waste good openings, but many players struggled to keep their feet on the pitch, which had suffered a 20-minute shower mainly during half-time. The referee admitted that if the rain had been heavier and lasted a little longer, he would have been concerned about the players' safety.

Lewes made their first change with 10 minutes to go, Josh Street replacing Baptista, at the same time as Hendon made their second, Pattie coming on for Taggart. Five minutes later, Charlie Coppola replaced Henry Muggeridge for Lewes, which proved to be the final substitution of the afternoon.

Stoppage time, advertised as at least four minutes, was certainly dramatic. First Lewes had the ball in the Hendon net, but the assistant referee's offside flag had been raised long before the final touch was applied.

The Greens took the free-kick quickly and, suddenly, Ibe had got past his marker and had only Winterton to beat. Maybe uncertain about his footing, he tried to lift the ball over or around the advancing goalkeeper, but got nothing like enough elevation or angle and Winterton was relieved to make a comfortable save.

Then, Robins, booked a few minutes earlier, slipped, lost possession, then stretched for the ball, only to collide with with Cotton, who had also stumbled. It wasn't malicious on either player's part, but the referee felt Robins had not been in control when he made his attempt and showed him a second yellow card.

In the last couple of additional minutes, both teams continued to look for a winner, but neither really came close to getting it.

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Joe Wright
2
Luke Tingey
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Dave Diedhiou
5
Casey Maclaren
6
Addison Garnett
7
Finbarr Robins
8
Carl McCluskey
9
Kezie Ibe
10
Brandon Adams
11
Tony Taggart
12
Ben Pattie
14
Sam Flegg
15
Adam Wallace
16
Mark Kirby

Match Events

Lloyd Cotton
2''
12''
Brandon Adams
Ronnie Conlon
44''
58''
Brandon Adams
60''
Sam Flegg replaced Oliver Sprague
80''
Ben Pattie replaced Tony Taggart
Josh Street replaced Miguel Baptista
81''
Charlie Coppola replaced Henry Muggeridge
88''
91''
Finbarr Robins

Lewes

1
Chris Winterton
2
Steve Brinkhurst
3
Leon Redwood
4
Ronnie Conlon
5
Stacey Freeman
6
Jordan Badger
7
Henry Muggeridge
8
Lloyd Cotton
9
Jonte Smith
10
Alex Laing
11
Miguel Baptista
12
Dee Okojie
14
Josh Street
15
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni
16
Charlie Coppola
17
Nathan Stroomberg