Hendon were haunted by the return of two former Greens on a misty Tuesday night in Buckinghamshire as they went down 2-1 to Chesham United. Of the 22 starters, 17 either play currently for Hendon, or have done in the past, with three of Chesham’s backroom staff also former Greens. The result was nothing new for the Greens, who have struggled at The Meadow since their switch to the Southern League although there were plenty of positives for Lee Allinson to take from the performance.
The game began at a frantic pace and Hendon went ahead in just the fifth minute. A corner was partially cleared by Chesham but only as far as Sam Adenola. The young full back picked his spot with style, sending a gorgeous curling effort into the bottom corner of the net beyond a statuesque Zaki Oualah in the home goal.
Hendon continued to attack and almost extended their lead when Billy Leonard’s low shot from just outside the box was well saved at full stretch by Oualah. The rebound fell kindly to Hamza Semakula but the onrushing midfielder could only fire his effort over the crossbar from close range.
The match’s pivotal moment arguably came midway through the first period. Matt Kerbey made a good save from a Chesham shot, gathering the ball safe and sound at the second attempt. Former Hendon striker Ricardo German then lunged in extremely late, catching the prone goalkeeper with his studs. As German attempted to look innocent, and with Hendon players and fans baying for a red card, the man in the middle chose to show Chesham’s leading scorer a yellow. Thankfully Kerbey was able to shake it off and continue.
Another former Hendon striker Ogo Obi had a golden opportunity to square things up shortly afterwards, planting the ball wide of the post when it looked easier to hit the target. Hendon’s back three largely kept the Chesham front men quiet, with Ethan Light, bizarrely wearing the number seven shirt, frustrating German throughout.
Meanwhile, man of the match Simeon Olarerin and Sam Adelona got forward to good effect down the flanks. However, for all of Hendon’s control and industry, they failed to create too many clearcut opportunities.
It was a different story after the break, with Chesham’s managerial duo of Michael Murray and James Duncan having read their charges the riot act on the other side of the door at half time. With renewed vigour, Chesham set about trying to get back in the game.
Kerbey made a good block to deny substitute Jordan Edwards after a good run by German down the left flank before Zak Joseph, up until then largely quite, did well to run onto a through ball and dink a delicate finish over Kerbey into the bottom corner to level things up.
Hendon were on the ropes at this point as the home side went in for the kill. Kerbey made a quite brilliant save from a close range header before Edwards slotted home the rebound – luckily for Hendon they were saved by the assistant’s flag ruling the goal out for offside.
Moments later, a Hendon attack broke down and a swift Chesham counter-attack saw Obi slide the ball beyond Kerbey. Incredibly, it hit one post, then the other and rebounded out while the scoreboard screamed “GOALLLL!”
Hendon managed to respond well, with Blaise Riley-Snow driving a low shot inches wide of the post, Dan Matsuzaka heading narrowly wide, and Leonard again being denied by an excellent low save by Oualah before the inevitable happened.
A low cross from the right hand side was met by the lucky one, German, and his neat finish sent the home fans into wonderland.
Hendon pressed in the closing stages looking for an equaliser, with Kerbey twice joining the action in the penalty area for set pieces.
Although he got his head to one delivery, the Chesham defence held firm all too well to secure another three points in their promotion bid.