Hendon were comfortably beaten by Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South favourites Truro City at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday afternoon. The Greens’ cause was not helped by the absence of both Eddie Oshodi and Solomon Sambou and then losing both centre-halves in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Tommy Smith was a shock inclusion in the starting line-up, not having kicked a ball in anger since injuring his knee in the middle of January. Liam Brooks and Matt Ball also came in for their first competitive appearances for more than a month, while Joe White had his second.
The White Tigers were first to most balls and in left and right wing-backs Connor Riley-Lowe and Niall Thompson, they had willing runners and dangerous men in attack. Their forays meant that neither Simeon Olarerin nor Lucas Perry had the freedom to attack as they would have liked.
In the first ten minutes, Thompson delivered two crosses that just eluded the onrushing Harvey and Dan Rooney.
In the 14th minute, Ed Palmer brought the ball out of the Truro defence and played a good pass to Rooney, who turned and ran towards the Hendon goal. Smith ended his run with what would probably have been a foul, had Rooney not found the marauding Thompson.
The referee waved play on and Thompson again delivered a good low cross. This one eluded everyone, except the late arriving RILEY-LOWE, who slid the ball into the net before Olarerin could intervene.
Kicking into the wind, with the slope in their favour, Hendon were happy to keep the ball on the ground and they put together and excellent passing move in the 20th minute. The last pass fell to Shaun Lucien, whose attempted sweep-shot was a little scuffed, giving James Hamon a comfortable low save.
Two minutes later, the absurd new handball interpretation caught out Ball, the ball striking the midfielder’s hand from close range as he turned to protect himself. It gave White Tigers a free-kick just outside the Hendon penalty area, but Ryan Brett’s low strike came off the leg of a defender in the wall.
Thompson continued to pose the biggest danger and in the 31st minute, Jonathan North made an excellent save to keep out a driven cross which was arrowing just inside the post.
For all Truro’s danger out wide, Rooney, Tyler Harvey and Brett were kept largely quiet by Ball, Keiran Forbes, Tommy Brewer and Smith in the middle of the field. Unfortunately, Lucien and Sam Corcoran were unable to provide White and Brooks much in the way of attacking options, but the Greens knew the second half wind would naturally force Truro to play a little deeper.
The theory was right, even when Smith walked off gingerly 11 minutes into the period, being replaced by Joe Howe. In the 57th minute, Hendon created a good opening for Brooks on the left side of the penalty area, but he dragged his shot wide of the near post.
Three minutes later, Rooney made another surging run out of midfield. He again found his willing aide on the right side as Thompson got the better of Perry and the wing-back’s low cross was turned into the net by ROONEY who had continued his run into the six-yard box.
Things quickly unravelled for Hendon from this point. In the 64th minute, Brewer, under pressure from Rooney, put the ball out of play, but went down injured. It was clear he could not continue, so Dwade James replaced him, and it was a double change as Jayden Clarke took over Lucien, the Greens’ only tactical replacement of the afternoon.
The completely rebuilt Hendon back four had no chance to sort themselves out before the restart went across the penalty area and, probably wind-affected, the ball dropped off Forbes and struck his arm. There was little protest at the award of the penalty and HARVEY’s drive beat North to make it 3–0.
To the Greens’ credit, they never gave up and created chances to reduce the arrears. Clarke worked himself a good opening after 74 minutes, but his powerful drive went just over the crossbar.
Eleven minutes from the end of normal time, Truro added a fourth goal. A good cross from the left side was met by Olarerin, whose attempted headed clearance went in the wrong direction towards the goal.
North saved the full-back’s embarrassment with a superb reflex block, but he was unable to recover in time as White Tigers substitute Andrew Neal – who had replaced the excellent Alex Battle – knocked the rebound into the bottom corner from inside the six-yard box.
James showed his determination for the cause with first an excellent defensive header and he chased upfield to make a strong tackle near the half-way line, winning the ball cleanly. Going forward, in the last minute, James and White did combine to set up a chance for Brooks, but his powerful drive was directed straight at Hamon, who made a comfortable save.
Manager Lee Allinson was philosophical about the game when he was interviewed on Hendon’s TV website. He said, “I wouldn’t say the result flattered Truro, but the scoreline was very harsh on us. We have some serious injuries in the squad and it is really unfortunate.
“We knew that their right wing-back was a threat but he got in two dangerous crosses in the first ten minutes. Then from his third cross they scored from a yard out.
“I thought we then came into the game and for long periods we matched them without really creating loads. In the second half we spent a lot of time in their half but again we didn’t create much. But to give them credit, they were very efficient and very good.
“They haven’t created much down our throat and we’ve dealt with them really well. But they got down our right side too many times and that is what we were afraid of.
“I am not too despondent. Judge me when we have a fully fit squad out there. I have never known an injury list like this for such key, crucial players at the moment.”