Hendon continued their see-saw succession of lose-win-lose-win with a very heartening 1-0 victory over Carshalton Athletic at LOOT Stadium on Thursday night. The reason for the special pleasure at the result was the performance of the youngsters who were drafted into the squad.
Reserve teamers Richard Dee, Pat Sappleton, Natahn Edwards and David Boateng all played big parts in the victory, as manager Frank Murphy rang the changes. There was also an honour for Jon Daly, who celebrated his 200th appearance for Hendon with a victory.
After the disappointment of the loss against St Albans a night earlier, Mr Murphy decided to keep things tight. That is why in front of recalled goalkeeper Gary McCann there were 4 central defenders (Dee and Sappleton, who were played at right and left wing-back, respectively, Chris Sparks and RenÃƒÂ© Street, 3 central midfielders, Phil Gridelet, who played at sweeper, Daly and Otis Roberts, and 3 central strikers, Davis Haule, who dropped back into midfied, Bontcho Guentchev and Edwards, in the starting line-up.
It also meant that Hendon had a better team on the bench or absent than that which started, playing in the same formation (Wilmot, Duncan, Clarke, Towler, Fitzgerald, Kelly, Adolphe, Soloman, Binns, Pickett, Adekola - subs could be Johnson, Watson and Cole). It speaks volumes for the quality of the Ryman League and the size of the squad that the team put out by Hendon was still good enough to win a Premier Division match.
The only goal arrived after 93 seconds. Haule made space and held off a challenge from Orlando Hollingsworth down the right. He drove in a low shot which Paul Borg did well to save, but his parry rolled right into the path of GUENTCHEV. He had the simplest of tasks to slide the ball into the unguarded net from about 6 yards out.
Carshalton tried to get back into the game, but their finishing, as it was all night long, was truly awful. McCann had to deal with a number of crosses, but no shots troubled him. At the other end, Borg showed himself equal to any efforts directed at goal, but pressured into kicking or dealing with crosses were different matters. He looked tentative at best, and was lucky with bounces on two or three occasions.
The second half was much more open and Hendon really should have scored 4 or 5 more goals. In the 48th minutes, Haule shot at goal with an unmarked Guentchev scraming for the ball; 4 minutes later, Edwards was denied by Borg, who dived in bravely at his feet.
In the 58th minute, Binns replaced Edwards and by taking up wide positions, Hendon were able to tear the Robins apart. Binns, in fact, could have had a hat-trick, but he was twice thwarted by Borg and failed to hit to target with another effort.
The visitors did have one good chance, but Matt Fowler scuffed a goodopportunity wide. Indicative of Carshalton's lack of initiative was their only substitution. Trailing 1-0 and desperate for points in their relegation battle, they withdrew midfielder Gary Drewett and brought on the more defensive Lee Dooley.
"It was great to see the youngsters do so well tonight," enthused Mr Murphy. "We had 4 teenagers on duty today and they didn't let us down."