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Match Report

Croydon
2
Hendon
0
Date:
Monday 23 April 2001
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
121
Venue:
Croydon

Match Report

Hendon's players, officials and supporters cannot wait for the season to end as another game - a 2-0 defeat at Croydon - came and went with everyone doing little more than going through the motions.

Greens' boss Frank Murphy has an unenviable task raising his players for a run of games that would have a Premiership manager contacting the United Nations and Amnesty International about unusual cruelty. Team selection is now a case of those players which are least injured and/or most rested.

Gary McCann replaced Richard Wilmot in goal, Chris Sparks came in for substitute Marvyn Watson, forcing Gary Fitzgerald to become the third different right wing-back in consecutive matches, Simon Clarke came back for Dale Binns, who also reverted to substitute, Otis Roberts came in for third sub Jason Soloman and Davis Haule took over from David Adekola. Bontcho Guentchev and Jon Daly, two of Hendon's veterans started their 4th games in 6 days.

Croydon are one of the form teams in the Ryman League Premier Division, having lost just one of 14 games. They started the game with the confidence that such a run engenders, but it took 15 minutes for any real action to happen. They forced a succession of corners which nearly brought them joy.

A left-wing corner was met with a powerful downward header. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced away to safety. Officials said afterwards that if they had watered the pitch before the game, they would have scored. A minute later, a fierce shot from Ben Judge was cleared off the line, with McCann beaten.

Sparks came close to opening his Hendon account with a powerful header from a Paul Adolphe corner, but it went just wide. Put under pressure, the Croydon defence did not look entirely sound, but with so many tired legs, Hendon were unable to risk enough bodies to force the issue often enough.

In the 36th minute, out of nothing, Croydon scored a memorable opening goal. Chris DICKSON met a loose ball 25 yards from the Hendon goal with a first-time, dipping, left-foot shot that flew past McCann. The goalkeeper appeared to be unsighted, but that probably made no difference.

In response, Hendon moved Haule into a more attacking role but, if anything, he and Guentchev became more isolated than the Bulgarian had been when he was the lone striker. The absence of Ross Pickett in the past week has been keenly felt, as has been the lack of width that Mr Murphy so enjoys utilising.

Either side of half-time, Hendon had free-kicks that just flew just wide of the near post and narrowly over the crossbar, respectively, though Les Cleevely did appear to have both efforts covered.

McCann was by far the busier goalkeeper and a bad miss by Richard Thompson as well as a couple of timely interventions, one by Phil Gridelet and other from René Street, kept Hendon nominally in the game. That ended in the 69th minute, when a shot from Graham HARPER appeared to take a deflection, wrong-footed McCann and ended up in the net.

In the 82nd minute, McCann produced an outstanding double save. First he plunged to his right to keep out a powerful shot. He recoved quickly and made an even better stop by his right post to keep out the rebound.

"We are dead on our feet," said Mr Murphy after the game. "I can't wait for Saturday week [the end of the season]."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Gary McCann
2
Rene Street
3
Simon Clarke
4
Jon Daly
5
Chris Sparks
6
Gary Fitzgerald
7
Paul Adolphe
8
Otis Roberts
9
Bontcho Guentchev
10
Davis Haule
11
Phil Gridelet
12
Dale Binns
14
Marvyn Watson
15
Jason Solomon

Match Events

Chris Dickson
36''
57''
Dale Binns replaced Paul Adolphe
57''
Marvyn Watson replaced Otis Roberts
Graham Harper
69''
71''
Jason Solomon replaced Phil Gridelet

Croydon

1
Les Cleevely
2
Danny Bower
3
Mark Crome
4
Mark Dickinson
5
Graham Harper
6
Ali Reeve
7
Chris Dickson
8
Ben Judge
9
Richard Thompson
10
Omari Coleman
11
Craig Dundas
12
Phil Barber
14
Barry Kingsford
15
Tim Clark