Hendon recorded their first Ryman League Premier Division victory of 2001 with a fine 2-0 defeat of 5th placed Hampton & Richmond Borough at The Beveree on Tuesday night. A pair of second half goals from Dale Binns decided the match after Hendon had dominated the opening period without making a breakthrough.
Manager Frank Murphy was forced to make one change from the team that lost so disappointingly at Slough on Saturday. Phil Gridelet had a groin injury and so David Adekola came into the starting line-up and Paul Johnson became a substitute. The other change was positional, with Davis Haule dropping back into midfield, leaving Bontcho Guentchev to partner Adekola in attack.
It was the Bulgarian who came closest to opening the scoring in the first half. He curled a 14th minute free-kick off the top of the crossbar with former Hendon triallist goalkeeper Eric Talbot a mere spectator. Talbot was called into action in the 24th minute and he did very well to deny Paul Adolphe a goal as he cut in on goal. Adekola and Haule both stung Talbot's hands with shots that had power but little direction. The pattern of the game was similar to the game at Slough; lots of Hendon pressure but nothing to show for it. At least on this night, the crossing was improved, with both Marvyn Watson and Simon Clarke at getting around the back of the Hampton defence to better effect.
The teams turned around at 0-0 and Hampton started the second half more brightly than Hendon. Gary McCann made one smart save from a shot by Dean Green, but the Beavers looked no more incisive than Hendon. On the hour mark, Hendon made a double switch, the tiring Adekola and Guentchev were replaced by Ross Pickett and Dale Binns.
It had the desired effect but the breakthrough came in unusual circumstances. Talbot had suffered an injury and was unable to take goalkicks, leaving that honour to Matt Flitter or Peter Barnsby. For some reason, after Pickett had just failed to connect with a diagonal cross-cum-shot from Binns, Talbot took this goalkick.
The ball travelled about 20 yards and was controlled by Pickett, who could not believe the chance that had fallen his way. Talbot came out to narrow the angle, but Pickett knocked the ball past him. It struck the inside of the post and fell invitingly for BINNS, who steadied himself before shooting past Martin Carter, who was covering on the goal-line.
Warren Kelly, Gary Fitzgerald and Rene Street stood up to be counted in the next dozen or so minutes as Hampton tried to keep their unbeaten home run (since September). The trio held firm with the last-named having another good game as he steps up in class from Division One of the Ryman League.
In the 79th minute, Hendon made the game safe with a classic piece of counter-attacking. The defence cleared a corner to the edge of their own penalty area before the ball was knocked over the half-way line. It seemed a routine ball for Barnsby to deal with, but BINNS was just too fast for him, winning possession, going around Talbot and shooting home.
Thereafter Hamptson's efforts to get back into the game became very scrappy. In the last 5 minutes, Mark Holloway and Jason Soloman clashed heads and suffered nasty head injuries.
"We did well tonight," said a happy Mr Murphy. "Dale took his goals very well."