Hendon and Salisbury’s goalless stalemate at sunny and breezy Silver Jubilee Park was one of the more entertaining 0–0 draws. All the match really lacked was a goal or two.
The Greens just shaded the game, but only narrowly, with both teams being better in their approach play than creating clear-cut chances.
Going with a more attacking starting line-up than the one which drew at Beaconsfield in midweek, Shaun Lucien came in for Will Dupray and asked serious questions of the Whites’ defence down the right flank.
Salisbury, like Hendon, went into the match unbeaten, but with two wins and a draw, and they played to a simple pattern, happy to soak up pressure and then try to break down the Greens defence with quick raid, though they were a little toothless up front.
Their goalkeeper Josh Gould had valid claims for man of the match honours, starting in the fourth minute when, after good approach play by Hamza Semakula, he was nearly beaten by a swerving shot from Muir, but saved at the second attempt.
In the 10th minute Gould was beaten when Muir had the ball in the net from a corner headed on towards him, but an offside flag ruled out the goal, the Whites’ defence moving up quickly to catch out the Greens striker.
In response, Salisbury showed their attacking prowess when midfielder Chris Gunson made space but Dan Matsuzaka blocked his shot. A few minutes later, Noah Coppin lost his marker and his diving, flicked header flashed over the crossbar at the angle of the far post.
But it was Hendon who created most of the chances and, just before half-time, Matsuzaka, under pressure from a defender, couldn’t direct his header from a corner inside the far post.
And there was still time for Lucien to test the agility of Gould with a powerful shot and the goalkeeper made another excellent save.
Going down the slope after the break, the Greens’ radar was just a little off with strikes from outside the box, both Muir and the excellent Billy Leonard firing over the bar under little pressure from yellow-shirted defenders.
Gould, nonetheless, was kept very busy and he produced a good save from a Joe White shot and a brilliant one to deny Muir after a fine break by White.
Hendon made the first of their three substitutions a few minutes later, Eren Kinali taking over from Semakula. Salisbury changed their front line, sending on Dan Fitchett and Theo Lewis for Coppin and the ineffective James Harding.
The replacements found themselves frustrated by the Greens’ excellent back six, Kerbey – who was never unduly troubled – Samuel Adenola, Lucas Perry, Dave Diedhiou and Matsuzaka, with the unflustered Blaise Riley-Snow protecting them.
Matt Kerbey had his most difficult save – even then not as difficult as at least three made by Gould at the other end – in the 78th minute, when he went down to stop a shot from Fitchett.
Florian Endouvou-Ada and Frank Keita took over from Lucien and Muir for the final 10 minutes of normal time – there were ten added on thereafter.
One thing of note was the numbering of the players’ shirts. After half-time, Tom Leggett came out in No.20, his No.4 having been replaced because of a blood injury. In the second half, Adenola swapped his No.2 for No.20, also because of a cut, but the bleeding continued, so he came back wearing No.16, due to be worn by Keita.
Therefore, when Keita came on, he went to the referee to explain that his shirt had no number as the blood replacement number had already been taken out of service.
Endouvou-Ada really should have won the game for Hendon in the 87th minute. Following a cross into the box, the ball was only half cleared and it fell to an unmarked substitute, six yards out, with time to pick his spot. Unfortunately, for him and the Greens, the shot had way too much power and flew over the crossbar.
During the 10 minutes of stoppage time, Gould kept out another effort from White and fell on the ball before sub Eren Kinali could net the rebound.