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Hendon and St Albans City played out a 1Ã¢Â€Â“1 friendly draw at Silver Jubilee Park on an increasingly warm Saturday afternoon at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday.
Friendly was certainly an appropriate word for the game as no less than five of the Hendon team had made competitive appearances for the Saints and, between them the St Albans 2, 3 and 4, Dave Diedhiou, Oli Sprague and Scott Shulton had more than 570 Greens games under their collective belts.
The first ten minutes saw St Albans twice go close to taking the lead. First a shot from Shulton went just wide, then Darren Foxley forced a good save from Chris Grace. HendonÃ¢Â€Â™s response was a good left-wing cross from Charlie Smith which picked out Connor Calcutt, but the strike'Ã¢Â€Â™s header was only a glance and Dan Snedker watched the ball bobble just wide of the far post.
The Saints forced Hendon onto the back foot with Bobson Brawling probing dangerously from a deep midfield position, but Joe Iacofano, eager to impress after being released by Northampton Town in the summer, was too keen and guilty of taking too many touches when an early shot was begging.
Brawling was the man who set up the Saint goal, after 35 minutes. His run into space gave him a good shooting chance, but his effort after beating Grace, cannoned off the inside of a post and right into the oncoming path of IAFOCANO.
The striker appeared to belly the ball into the net from a range of about a yard. Hendon defenders, meanwhile, looked towards the assistant referee for a possible offside flag but it was not forthcoming.
A few minutes before half-time Hendon were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out when Matty Harriott was pulled back as he charged forward with an almost clear run at goal. In a competitive match, the question would have been if the card shown would be red or yellow; none was shown, and no one batted an eyelid.
Harriott, Ryan Hope and Smith discussed the options, leaving it to Hope. His effort certainly had power as the rebound off the defensive wall reached the edge of the centre circle behind him. It led to a counter-attack but a combination of Lee Chappell, Luke Tingey and Tom Hamblin stifled the raid with a good marking and a well-timed interception.
Saints made nine changes at half-time, leaving only Snedker and Foxley on the pitch. They also changed their formation and, it must be said, the new line-up lacked the attacking effectiveness of the first half.
Calcutt had a chance to equalise just before he went off. Again the chance was created down the left side but, having done well to lose his marker, Calcutt put the header just over the crossbar with Snedker grateful that the ball was over and not under the goal frame.
Hendon, meanwhile, made their seven changes in more piecemeal fashion in a dozen or so minutes during the second period. Triallist A was the first to be replaced, by Michael Campbell, after 56 minutes, Dan Williams and Triallist B were the last changes, after 69 minutes, coming on for Hope and Kameron English.
In between, Ogo Obi (for Calcutt), Matty Newman (for Harriott), Romario Jonas (for Hamblin) and James Harper (for Chappell) all entered the fray. It meant that Grace, Howard Hall, Smith and Tingey played the full 90 minutes.
With 11 minutes to go, HendonÃ¢Â€Â™s improved second-half showing got its reward. A ball forward found Obi with only one defender in front of him.
The striker showed good strength to beat his marker and as Snedker came off his line, OBI placed a powerful shot into the bottom corner.
A minute later Snedker was replaced by Alfie Bonfield, the last of the changes and, if truth to be told, it was pretty much the last of the meaningful action.