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Match Report

Hendon
1
Billericay Town
1
Date:
Monday 18 April 2016
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
135
Venue:
Harrow Borough

Match Report

Hendon and Billericay Town played out a thoroughly entertaining 1-1 draw at Earlsmead, the Greens' final home game of the season. A point apiece was probably the right outcome, but it would have been a very different story if the Blues had taken their first-half chances.

Chris Seeby made his first competitive Hendon appearance since the end of January 2015 and Finnbar Robins returned for his first start in more than five weeks. Sam Murphy was unavailable as was the injured Tony Taggart, though the latter was named on a threadbare subs bench alongside player-coach Scott Cousins and the three teenagers with QPR experience, Ben Pattie, Addison Garnett and Brandon Adams.

Both teams produced some good approach work, whether by direct or more intricate routes, but the finishing did not match it. For Billericay, Alex Stephenson was well wide from long range after four minutes, while Robins beat two men before firing over the crossbar, was wide and high with a free-kick and Carl McCluskey dragged an attempt wide of targets.

After 23 minutes, Stephenson worked his way down the left side and delivered a teasing cross. It was a little behind Jordan Cox, who resorted to an overhead kick which flew straight at Joe Wright.

A minute later, the Greens might have been fortunate to escape when Casey Maclaren shielded a ball back to Wright, under pressure from Mike Fondop Tallom. There was clear contact between the two players and Fondop Tallom appeared to be knocked to the ground.

If a free-kick had been awarded in the centre circle for that challenge, it would have been considered soft, but would not have been vehemently contested. On this occasion, the referee considered the contact to be minor and didn't blow his whistle.

Hendon's weakness at corners - their own - nearly came back to haunt them. Billericay cleared the set piece and Tom Derry set off on a 70-yard run which was stopped by a superb last-ditch tackle by Oliver Sprague.

Five minutes later, the Greens fell behind in frustrating circumstances. A ball into the penalty area was looping towards Derry, but he had both Sam Flegg and Maclaren fairly close. Wright came flying off his line, tried to punch the ball clear, but was beaten to it by Derry, who directed the ball into the unguarded net.

Six minutes later, things almost got a great deal worse for Hendon. Maclaren seemed to be in little trouble when trying to clear a low cross. The ball, however, took a bad bounce, struck his lower body and bounced up against his hand, which was away from his body.

After a moment's hesitation, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. It was harsh in that there was no intent on Maclaren's part to handle the ball, but he was struck and, in the current climate, it is considered handball.

Glenn Poole stepped up and drilled the ball firmly past Wright, who guessed correctly in diving to his left. The ball, however, struck the foot of the upright and bounced away to safety, from where Hendon equalised.

Sprague, Robins, Maz Bettache and Keagan Cole then quickly moved the ball downfield, before Cole pushed the ball into space, inviting McCluskey to run at goal. Jack Giddens was very quickly off his line and beat the Hendon man to the ball, but failed to make good contact with his clearance.

Seeby ran forward and chested the ball down level with the centre circle. He looked up and saw Giddens was some distance away from his goal, so Seeby fired the ball at goal from 40-45 yards range.

The goalkeeper was struggling desperately to get back to his goalline as the ball dipped and it struck the underside of the crossbar. The rebound came out and struck and Giddens on the heels and ended up in the back of the net. The assistant referee was satisfied the ball had crossed the line from Seeby's shot before rebounding out, so the full-back marked his return with a spectacular goal.

After the break, the game remained very open. In the first part of the half, Billericay dominated the territory, but the Hendon defence, with Dave Diedhiou working effectively in front of them, worked very hard to ensure that there were few openings for the Blues. There were two or three attempts at goal, but they were largely off target.

Gradually, Hendon started to get some openings of their own. When Kezie Ibe tried to get a shot off, he found the huge presence of Ejiro Okosieme an immovable force and the centre-back made a couple of timely blocks.

Adams came on for the final 20-plus minutes, replacing the tiring Bettache and his running unsettled Stephenson to the extent that the Billericay full-back ceased to be an attacking threat. His best scoring opportunity came when he bore down on goal, only for a bobble to take the ball away from his feet.

With 10 minutes remaining, from an increasingly rare incursion, Billericay forced a corner, which Hendon struggled to deal with, but finally smuggled clear for another set piece. This time, a Billericay player rose highest, but he could not keep his header down and the ball caromed off the top of the crossbar.

Ibe was taken off after 82 minutes and Pattie replaced him and the teenager took advantage of the tiring Billericay defence. He had Adams in support to his right and McCluskey to his left as he burst forward, but there were defenders close enough to both for Pattie to decide to shoot. The attempt was on target, but Giddens made a routine save.

Pattie's next burst forward looked even more promising, but the block-tackle intervention by Teddy Nesbit was immaculately timed and another half-chance disappeared. With a minute of normal time remaining, a cross into the box was met by a diving Diedhiou, but Giddens denied him a 300th-appearance goal with a superb save.

The drama was all around the Billericay goal and both Seeby and Adams were denied by excellent saves in stoppage time and Robins saw his effort blocked by Conor Hubble. Robins' attempt was his last of the match as the strain caused his calf to cramp and he was helped from the field, giving Garnett a couple of minutes.

Despite more concerted Hendon pressure, the Billericay defence held out and they were clearly the happier team to walk of the pitch with a point.

Report by David Ballheimer & John Rogers

Sponsors

Match:
Prostate Cancer UK Awareness
Matchballs:
Bernard Lawrence

Hendon

1
Joe Wright
2
Chris Seeby
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Dave Diedhiou
5
Casey Maclaren
6
Sam Flegg
7
Mahrez Bettache
8
Keagan Cole
9
Kezie Ibe
10
Finbarr Robins
11
Carl McCluskey
12
Brandon Adams
13
Ben Pattie
14
Addison Garnett
15
Tony Taggart
16
Scott Cousins

Match Events

44''
Chris Seeby
Pierre Hazett replaced George Beavan
46''
Onome Sodge replaced Jordan Cox
66''
68''
Brandon Adams replaced Mahrez Bettache
Evans Kouassi replaced Tom Derry
74''
83''
Ben Pattie replaced Kezie Ibe
90''
Addison Garnett replaced Finbarr Robins

Billericay Town

1
Jack Giddens
2
Ibrahim Diallo
3
Alex Stephenson
4
Conor Hubble
5
Ejiro Okosieme
6
George Beavan
7
Mike Fondop Tallom
8
Glenn Poole
9
Tom Derry
10
Jordan Cox
11
Teddy Nesbitt
12
Pierre Hazett
14
Onome Sodge
15
Evans Kouassi