Hendon and Hayes & Yeading United shared the spoils at the end of a thoroughly entertaining Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South encounter at Silver Jubilee Park on Tuesday night. Having scored against the run of play, the Greens lost concentration for an instant and were made to pay by an old boy.
Keiron Forbes, Liam Brooks and Jonathan North all dropped out of the squad following Saturday’s FA Cup exit, and they were replaced by Sam Corcoran, Jayden Clarke and Rihards Matrevics, who signed for the club the day before, after North was ruled out with an injury. Eddie Oshodi took on the captain’s armband, the third skipper in four League outings this season.
Tommy Smith was named as a substitute, coming up against his identical twin brother Jack, who was between the sticks for the visitors. The Hendon defender – who has played less than 60 minutes since his injury in January – was not risked, but it would have been nice to see how they reacted if they been together in the same penalty area.
For the first 15 minutes, Hendon were completely penned in their own half as Hayes & Yeading United launched raid after raid on Matrevics’ goal, taking advantage of some tentative defending by the Greens. In the second minute, Rico Greco fired wide of goal after Hendon had wasted three attempts to clear their lines from an opening minute corner.
More chances came, mainly instigated by former Hendon loanee Julian Amartey (he netted four of his seven goals in two games against Hayes & Yeading last season), who gave Simeon Olarerin, Toby Byron and Oshodi a tough evening. Three more shots rained in, but none were on target.
In the 10th minute, an excellent pass from Olarerin released Joe White, but Jack Smith was quickly off his line to take the ball off the striker’s foot. It showed that for all of the visitors’ attacking prowess, defensively questions would not always be positively answered.
Amartey came close with a deft lob over Matrevics in the 17th minute, but a two-metre tall goalkeeper is a hard man to lob and the ball dropped far too late. This profligacy from Hayes & Yeading was punished in the 21st minute.
Olarerin ran forward unchecked, and he was allowed to take his time to play a diagonal low ball into the penalty area. Three players went for the ball without success, but not CLARKE, who finished with aplomb.
This goal knocked the stuffing out of Hayes & Yeading for the next few minutes. The Greens had a couple of half chances, but they came to nothing.
Just before the half-hour, Matrevics made a superb save, pushing aside a drive from Amartey and, before a visiting striker could react, Oshodi knocked the ball clear. Three minutes later, Jordan Norville-Williams fired over the bar. Soon after, Matrevics made another good save and it was Olarerin who completed the clearance.
In the 41st minute, Hendon won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. The ball was played in deep and Oshodi rose powerfully to head it back into the six-yard box. All it needed was a Hendon touch to make it 2–0, but none came so the teams took oranges with the Greens a single goal to the good.
Eight minutes in the second period there was a great spell of play at both ends. First a great chance fell to the visitors, but Hendon cleared the danger and launched a counter-attack, started by Sambou and continued by Shaun Lucien.
Much like Oshodi’s header before the break, Lucien’s ball in, either a shot or cross, needed a touch goalwards to score, but it appeared that none came and the ball missed the far post by inches. Matt Ball then had a low shot which Smith saved low by his left upright.
A bad moment for Hendon came in the 62nd minute when Olarerin played the ball down the right wing and was clattered by a late challenge from former Hendon player Dylan Kearney, who had replaced Bay Downing as Hayes & Yeading changed their formation for the second half. Olarerin was still receiving treatment as Kearney saw yellow and the young defender had to be replaced by Joe Howe.
Keano Robinson and Amartey then combined to set up a chance for Scott Donnelly, but this shot did not trouble Matrevics as it flew away from the goal.
Two minutes later, Smith came to United’s rescue with a brilliant double save. The move was instigated by Sambou, who put Lucien clear down the right. Lucien set up White, whose shot was superbly pushed aside and, as Clarke followed up, Smith made a great block on his attempt.
The importance of the double-save was made clear as Hayes & Yeading equalised in the 76th minute. A long throw-in from Norville-Williams bounced into the six-yard box and somehow eluded all sky-blue and green-shirted players, before it reached AMARTEY, who wasted no time in knocking the ball past Matrevics.
Hendon had a little the better of the final quarter of an hour, during which time Brewer came on for Corcoran and slotted into a defensive midfield role – where he had made his first few appearances for the Greens. There was one final chance for Amartey, but this time the striker scuffed his shot and it was easily saved by Matrevics.
Speaking on the clubs web tv station, Lee Allinson said, “If you said to me before the game I would have taken a point. Some people have turned their noses up a non-league football but that tonight was such an advert for non-league football and one of the best games I have been involved in for a long, long time.
“The two teams went to war with each other, but in the right way. We have a had a proper go at each other, it was end-to-end, absolutely different class from both teams and a credit to both teams. I thought they were absolutely magnificent.
“I knew we would come under pressure at some time. We have defended the set-pieces, we dealt with them really well in the second half. The game-turning moment was the double save by Smith, but we seem to get punished for every mistake we make.
“I can’t praise the boys enough tonight. It was a fantastic effort from everyone. Their effort was outstanding and I am so proud of them.”