Hendon put in a hugely disappointingly performance as they went down 3–1 against Dorchester Town, who enjoyed a surprisingly comfortable ride at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday afternoon. The Greens were flat and uninspired for almost all of the game and, in fact, it took until after the second Magpies goal for the hosts to actually put a shot on target.
There was only one change from the eleven who started against Hayes & Yeading United, Lewis Wilson coming in for Juan Pablo, who replaced him on the bench.
Two other players came onto the bench, Bayley Brown and Kyen Nicholas, both signed in late 2020, but yet to appear in a competitive match for Hendon, though Brown played 28 times in 2019–20.
In the third minute, an astute pass from Tommy Brewer released Jayden Clarke, but from a wide angle, his attempted lob over Gerard Benfield sent wide of the target.
Dorchester should have taken the lead after five minutes when Christos Papakonstantinou received a pass from midfield, advanced down the left flank, got around Wilson and crossed low into the penalty area. A couple of defenders failed to deal with the danger and when the ball came to Oakley Hanger, he side-footed it wide.
Hendon’s midfield was if not overrun, then decidedly second best, losing the ball all too easily and coming second in most challenges. Going forward, Clarke needed more help from Wilson Carvalho, while Hamza Semakula was forced to forage from too far away to be of genuine assistance.
The almost inevitable opening goal arrived in the 27th minute. Hanger and Harry Burns linked up on the Magpies’ right wing and the latter delivered a deep cross.
Fred Burbidge seemed to be slightly off balance as he leapt to palm away the ball, but he completely missed it. PAPAKONSTANTINOU was first onto the ball with Wilson, the nearest defender, some distance away from him. It allowed the young Greek forward the chance to control the ball before smashing it into the net.
Four minutes later, Sam Bayston made a burst down the middle, but Burbidge blocked his shot. A little later, Bayston thought he had scored, netting a rebound after Burns hit a post, but the assistant referee’s raised flag for offside ruled out the goal.
A clearly angry Hendon boss Lee Allinson went into the dressing room at half-time, determined to make changes. Brown and Nicholas were the ones to come on, Wilson – who had looked out of his depth – and Clarke made way for them.
Five minutes into the second half, Tiago Sa made a burst down the left wing. He rode two challenges before crossing into the penalty area, but Hendon cleared the danger, moved the ball downfield and won a free-kick on the edge of the Dorchester penalty area.
Before the kick could be taken, Sa needed significant treatment and had to be replaced by George Calverley. The injury to Sa seemed to remind the referee that Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway’s challenge had been a serious foul, even if contact was minimal at most, but it merited a yellow card.
Shaun Lucien, who has shown his prowess from free-kicks many times, was overlooked for the set-piece and Gerard Benfield was untroubled by the shot as the ball hit the defensive wall.
In the 58th minute, a run from Sam Purrington across the edge of the penalty area ended when Alexander-Greenaway’s boot clipped his heel. The referee awarded a free-kick and had no hesitation in showing Alexander-Greenaway a second yellow and red cards leaving the Greens down to 10 men for more than half an hour.
The free-kick came to nothing and, five minutes later, Dorchester had another chance. A three-on-two break down the middle saw Bayston pass to Hanger, rather than Papakonstantinou, and Hanger fired across Burbidge but wide of the far post.
With 15 minutes remaining, Papakonstantinou attacked down the left side, was able to cut in towards the angle of the penalty area and then along the edge of the box till he was in front of goal. Spotting an opening at the near post, PAPAKONSTANTINOU shot powerful just inside the upright.
This second goal finally roused Hendon. Semakula, easily Hendon’s best player on the day, started creating havoc in previously almost untroubled Magpies rearguard and, in the 78th minute, he set up the Greens’ lifeline.
A Dorchester clearance aimed towards Papakonstantinou, but it was intercepted by Tommy Brewer, who moved forward and laid an inch-perfect pass to the feet of Semukala. He got around the back of the defence and played a ball across the six-yard box which was met by NICHOLAS, who netted from less than three yards out.
In the next few minutes, Hendon twice went close to an equaliser. First Carvalho created an opening, but his shot went wide of the post, though Benfield did appear to have the danger covered.
Then Semakula broke out from midfield and was surprised that the yellow-shirted defenders were backing off him. He tried his luck from 25 yards, but the ball flashed just wide of the left upright.
With 10 minutes remaining, Shaun Lucien, whose foot had appeared to have been stepped upon inadvertently, was replaced by Suleiman Bakalandwa.
In the first minute of additional time, Burbidge came up for a corner, but the ball was played to the edge of the area where Semakula was waiting. His low, crisp drive was blocked by a brave dive from Harry Hodges away for another corner, though Hendon fans appealed for a penalty for handball.
The second corner again was nowhere near Burbidge and, like almost every Hendon ball into the Dorchester penalty area, it was met by a yellow-shirted player, though he did seem to pull Brewer away from the ball and onto the ground.
The ball was cleared towards halfway, where Bayston was all alone. Lucas Perry came across but didn’t dare make a full challenge with the jeopardy of a red card, leaving BAYSTON with an unimpeded run towards goal. He fired into the net to complete Hendon’s misery.