Match Report

Merthyr Town
S Lucien, L Brooks
K Lewis
Match details
Competition: Southern League Premier Division South
Date: Saturday 07 December 2019
Attendance: 234

Hendon produced a very confident performance in beating in-form Merthyr Town at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday afternoon. Although they remain in the bottom three, the Greens moved to within a point of Yate Town, just above the drop zone.

Eddie Oshodi, a former England C international, was the only debutant for Hendon, but there were other changes to the team which had beaten AFC Dunstable in the League Cup in midweek. Tom Smith, Keiron Forbes and Luke Brooks came in for Romario Jonas, Joe Felix, Sergio Manesio and Kam English, the first three of whom were joined by Isasc Galliford and Reece Mitchell on the bench.

Merthyr fans came to London wearing their Christmas jumpers and they were looking to have a party on and off the pitch. It looked like they were going to get it because in the second minute Ian Traylor fired narrowly over the crossbar and, a couple of minutes later, Gethyn Hill turned past Oshodi and was taken to ground.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Hill picked himself up and took the kick. It was fairly straight and although Rihards Matrevics had started to dive, the tall goalkeeper was able to block the ball with his legs and the Martyrs couldn't capitalise on the rebound.

All the pressure was coming from Merthyr and Jamie Veale went close with a shot before Hill again found himself thwarted by Matrevics, who made a sprawling low save, pushing the ball aside. Another chance came moments later, but Ben Swallow lifted the ball over the bar from 20 yards.

In the 20th minute, Traylor angled a shot just under the crossbar but it was easy meat for Matrevics. Three minutes later, Veale went down in the penalty area, but this time claims for a penalty were rejected.

Gradually Hendon started to get into the game. Kingsley Eshun was a willing and powerful runner, Brooks was rapier-like with his incursions and Shaun Lucien started to look dangerous out wide. Behind them the prompting came from Forbes and Solomon Sambou, who began to take control of midfield,

In the 34th minute, Hendon's burgeoning pressure brought rewards. Brooks took the ball just inside the Martyrs' half and ran towards the danger area.

He played a superb diagonal pass out to the left side of the penalty area. Running onto the ball was LUCIEN, who dinked the ball between the legs of the advancing Alex Harris and into the net.

Suddenly the impetus changed and it was Hendon who took control. Solomon Sambou and Forbes prompted cleverly from midfield, giving the Martyrs a stern examination as the Greens forwards looked to add to their lead.

A free-kick after 42 minutes was missed by two Merthyr defenders and Oshodi got his head to the ball. Harris looked alarmed, then relieved as the ball went inches outside the post.

Two minutes later the goalkeeper had no luck. Eshun was the victim of a high challenge from Jarrad Wright, who caught his leg.

Once again, the referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot - without complaint for the defender. BROOKS took responsibility for the spot-kick and although Harris got a good hand on the ball, he could only push it off the inside of the post and by the time he regathered the ball it was over the goalline.

A 2–0 half-time lead was certainly not fair on the balance of play, but no one from Hendon was complaining. After a first half of great pace, the second was much cagier, especially after a stunning strike brought the Martyrs back into the contest.

A left-wing cross was headed half clear by Smith, but it fell invitingly for Kieran LEWIS. His volley was struck perfectly and it gave Matrevics absolutely no chance as the ball flew into the net.

Hendon responded with a couple of forays, but they found recent Martyrs signing, the former Barnet centre-back Ismail Yakubu in imperious form. The 34-year-old made a number of key interventions although he did pick up a couple of head injuries from aerial collisions and finished the game in a numberless shirt, his No.4 having been bloodied.

The Greens made the first of their changes, replacing Forbes with Felix. The substitute almost made his introduction a dramatic one. He drove a shot which beat Harris, but didn’t dip until it had cleared the crossbar.

At the other end, the Hendon defence looked sturdy. Luke Tingey, Joe Howe, Oshodi and Smith kept the Martyrs forwards at bay and Tommy Brewer, playing front of the back four was calmness personified. Matrevics was not called into much action, but his organisational talent made sure his team-mates were always in the right position to deal with any imminent danger.

There were still a few chances, but nothing clear-cut. Substitute Owain Jones did have one shooting opportunity, but he failed to find the target and the ball thudded off the railings behind the goal.

But Hendon also had openings, notably a header from Tingey which went straight at Harris. The goalkeeper was discomforted by a number of crosses and some of his punching rather lacked authority.

Two minutes from time, another Merthyr substitute Corey Jenkins did well down the left side and delivered a teasing cross. Hill rose for the ball but it was just too high for him to get anything more than a glancing touch and it rolled wide for a goal kick.

Almost immediately, Isaac Galliford, who returned to Hemel Hempstead Town at the end of his loan period on Sunday, came on for Brooks. There was then a moment of danger for the Greens in their penalty area when the third Martyrs substitute, Ryan Prosser, got a shooting chance.

He could not get the ball off as Smith made a superb intervention and the centre-half was quickly back on his feet to head a cross clear. There was some dismay for the home faithful when the referee ruled their would be six minutes of stoppage time, but it was perfectly reasonable given the stoppages for injuries, substitutions and the goal.

Manesio came on for Lucien as the Greens looked to break up play. Merthyr then forced a corner for which Harris joined the attack in a very crowded penalty area.

Hendon won the ball and Sambou launched the ball downfield to force a corner, but there wasn’t enough time for the set-piece to be taken.

A delighted Hendon boss Lee Allinson spoke on the club’s internet TV channel, saying, "I am over the moon with the result. They were the best team we have played since I joined the club.

"I am shattered, the coaching staff are shattered, my players are shattered. I am sure the supporters are shattered too.

"I had heard reports that they were the best team at starting the game in the League and for the first 20 minutes they battered us. But we weathered the storm.

"I dropped Keiron Forbes a bit deeper and he and Tommy Brewer did a good job in stopping them. I thought our goalkeeper, Tom and Eddie were immense.

"Then we got our first goal, and later the penalty. After that I didn’t want the half to end. I thought we could have scored more goals.

"In the dressing room, I warned the team about them early in the second half, and they scored their goal - what a goal it was. But after that, I thought we were outstanding.

"We put our bodies on the line, but we had a couple of chances and so did they. In fact I thought we might have been able to put the game to bed."

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


This match was sponsored by AR Accountancy and Steve Melton
The matchballs were sponsored by Peter Dean
The match programme was sponsored by Des McManus

Match Highlights


Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Rihards Matrevics  
2 Luke Tingey  
3 Joe Howe  
4 Tommy Brewer  
5 Tom Smith  
6 Eddie Oshodi  
7 Shaun Lucien  
8 Kieron Forbes  
9 Kingsley Eshun  
10 Solomon Sambou  
11 Liam Brooks  
12 Isaac Galliford for 11 , 89
14 Reece Mitchell  
15 Romario Jonas  
16 Sergio Manesio for 7 , 90
17 Joseph Felix for 8 , 70

Merthyr Town

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Alex Harris  
2 Adam Davies  
3 Benjamin Swallow  
4 Ismail Yakubu  
5 Jarrad Wright  
6 Kyle Patten  
7 Jamie Veale  
8 Ashley Evans  
9 Gethyn Hill  
10 Kieran Lewis  
11 Ian Traylor  
12 Corey Jenkins  
14 Daniel Summerfield  
15 Owain Jones  
16 Ryan Prosser