Match Report

Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Venue: Leatherhead
Date: Saturday 14 April 2018
Attendance: 240

Hendon, for the second time in three Saturdays, had to play for an hour with 10 men and, despite the man disadvantage were still the better team in the second half. However, unlike in the Metropolitan Police match, there were no goals to break goalless deadlock, so both Hendon and Kingstonian had to settle for a point from this match at Fetcham Grove - the first of two visits to leafy Leatherhead for the Greens in 11 days.

Luke Tingey dropped to the bench to allow for the return, as skipper, of Casey Maclaren. Also on the bench for the Greens was Sam Murphy and it was Michael Corcoran who missed out on the 16.

The match was a landmark for Arthur Lee as he made his 100th appearance for Hendon. And there was added frisson to the match with the inclusion of Kevin Maclaren in the Ks line-up, albeit as a substitute, setting up the possibility of the brothers playing against each other for the first time.

This was a match a few chances, even fewer clear-cut and little in the way of positive talking points. The pitch at Fetcham Grove was typical for an end-of-season encounter, especially one when rapid drying has followed on from near-waterlogged conditions, and this certainly did nothing to improve the qualify of play.

The first incident of note was a shot after four minutes from the Ks midfielder Greg Cundle, but his strike flew high and wide of the target. Two minutes later, Casey Maclaren made a typical, totally committed challenge for the ball.

There is no question that he reached the ball first, but he left his feet to do so and the Kingstonian player went to ground after contact. The referee immediately blew for a free-kick and reached for his pocket, out of which he produced a yellow card.

Twenty years ago, Maclaren would have been applauded for his effort in winning the ball, but modern football doesn’t like players leaving their feet to make tackles, so a yellow card was almost inevitable. It put Maclaren in a very difficult position because one more serious indiscretion would end his afternoon's involvement in the match.

A couple of minutes later, Dan Bowry leapt with Maclaren for a ball at a Leatherhead corner and went down with a bloodied nose. It was clear - despite claims from home players and fans - that Maclaren had jumped upwards and Bowry had leapt into the opponent.

Zak Joseph was, once again, the main source of Hendon danger on the flanks. He consistently got the better of the giant Chris Arthur, but the final ball into the danger area didn't quite reach any of Niko Muir, Josh Walker or Ashley Nathaniel-George.

When Muir attacked down the right side after 22 minutes, his low cross reached Joseph, it arrived to fast for him to set himself for a shot, so the effort was directed straight at Rob Tolfrey, who was well-placed to make the save.

At the other, two minutes later, Michael West got the better of Rian Bray and set off for the goal. His shot was too close to Tom Lovelock, who made good save with his legs and the ball was cleared.

Just before the half-hour, Hendon fans' worst fears were realised after they had forced a corner. The ball came in towards the far post and Maclaren arrived, off balance from a half-block by a Ks defender.

There was certainly no push, but only the Hendon captain will know why he threw his hand into the path of the ball - and failed to divert it into the net. Kingstonian players immediately approached the referee demanding action, but the official's hands were already busy pulling out notebooks and cards.

Tolfrey wanted to take the resulting free-kick quite quickly, but saw that Maclaren was still making the long trudge towards the dressing room. Hendon, meanwhile, were down to 10 men and had a mountain to climb to win the game.

Joseph nearly embarrassed Tolfrey with another low ball delivered from close to the goalline, just inside the penalty area. With Muir sensing the chance of a goal, the goalkeeper came off his line and nearly went too far as the ball bent back towards the goalline, gathering the ball at the second attempt.

Kingstonian were finding James Hammond, Ollie Sprague, Bray and Lee very hard to get past, with Jake Eggleton a bundle of energy in midfield in front of them. To bolster the midfield, either Walker or Muir dropped deeper to assist Eggleton.

Down the Kingstonian left side, the leggy Muhammadu Faal tried hard to get the better of Hammond, but the wily full-back won almost all of the battles. It was, nonetheless, a good battle, though the referee fell it necessary to warn both players for competing too hard against each other.

For the second half, Nathaniel-George was sacrificed for Luke Tingey so that the Hendon midfield did at least have two in number. Two minutes after the resumption, West tried another long-range shot, but it was narrowly wide of the target though never having looked likely to go between the posts.

In the 57th minute, Muir finally got himself a shooting opportunity after good work from Joseph. He got away from Gogonas and tried to find the top corner at the near post, but he was off target, high and wide.

Four minutes later, good work from Eggleton saw him win the ball in midfield and his first time pass released Joseph. Tolfrey was beaten by the strike, but from Hendon's perspective it went just the wrong side of the post.

Toby Ajala replaced Mark Phillips for the final quarter for Ks and they almost immediately had a great chance to break the deadlock. A bouncing ball deceived Hammond and it gave Faal the chance to run at Lovelock. He fired low and the goalkeeper made a good low save.

Hendon made their second change with 19 minutes remaining, Dan Uchechi taking over from Walker. At the same time, Tom Beere replaced West for the Ks and he immediately started creating things for the home team, albeit without any end-product. He fired a couple of off-target shots, but there was more urgency to Kingstonian's play.

In the final ten minutes, both teams made their last substitutions, Freddy Yao replacing Daniel Ajakaiye, who had been rather ineffective against Sprague, while Murphy took over from Joseph, who was on a caution.

Chances remained at a premium and a couple of Hendon set pieces were very disappointing without a ball played anywhere near a green shirt in the danger area. Nonetheless, another point was gained and, with three matches to go, Hendon still have their destiny in their own hands, but the games against Merstham, Leatherhead and Leiston will all be difficult.

Report by David Ballheimer : Not to be reproduced without prior permission


Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Rob Tolfrey  
2 Leo Chambers  
3 Chris Arthur  
4 Manolis Gogonas  
5 Mark Phillips  
6 Dan Bowry  
7 Daniel Ajakaiye  
8 Greg Cundle  
9 Jason Williams  
10 Michael West  
11 Muhammadu Faal  
12 Freddy Yao for 7 , 84
14 Tom Beere for 10 , 71
15 Kevin Maclaren  
16 Sean Francis  
17 Toby Ajala for 5 , 66


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Tom Lovelock  
2 James Hammond  
3 Oliver Sprague  
4 Arthur Lee  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Jake Eggleton  
7 Josh Walker  
8 Casey Maclaren s/o, 29
9 Zak Joseph  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Ashley Nathaniel-George  
12 Matt Ball  
13 Sam Murphy for 9 , 84
14 Daniel Uchechi for 7 , 71
15 Luke Tingey for 11 , 46
17 Keagan Cole