Match Report

Hendon
0-1
Basingstoke Town
E Elad
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 20 December 2003
Attendance: 182

Hendon and Basingstoke Town did little to offer much in the way of Christmas spirit to the hardy fans who turned up for this pre-festivities fixture at Claremont Road. The Camrose Blues did at least offer a little invention and were deserved 1-0 winners, although the game rarely rose even to the level of mediocre.

There were two debutants in the Hendon 16, midfielder Dean Brennan on loan from Stevenage, who started, and striker Fabian Forde, from Grays and Crawley, who was on the bench. Other good news was the return of Mark Cooper after almost a month out with injury.

Basingstoke came close in the opening minute, when Oliver Burgess struck a 25-yard shot that beat Dave King and dipped late to clip the top of the Hendon crossbar. The enterprising opening proved to be a false dawn.

Hendon's cover ensured that the pitch, although wet, was definitely playable, but there is no real protection from a strong wind and this was the decisive factor in making this such a disappointing game. Both teams struggled to keep the ball on the pitch and promising moves died as crossfield passes sailed far beyond the intended recipients.

The visitors were more comfortable in possession and used the ball better than Hendon, but the Greens' defence did very well to keep the predatory Craig McAllister quiet. In fact, apart from one shot in a crowded penalty, which King saved well, the Camrose Blues failed to put a single effort on target. Hendon did little better. A shot from Andy Cook was blocked by a defender and Brennan stung Scott Tarr's hands with a 22-yard free kick, but the direction made it easy for the goalkeeper to save.

The only other incident of note was a caution for Jon-Barrie Bates for a foul midway through the half. Mention should be made of referee Eamonn Smith, whose performance was such that he barely noticeable, praise indeed.

After the break, the game continued in similar vein, with Basingstoke continuing to hold the upper hand, though dominating would be too strong a word. Hendon's front two of Martin Randall and Eugene Ofori lacked any spark, though the service they received was hardly what either would have wanted. Nevertheless what little ball they did get, they wasted.

Basingstoke got the only goal just before the hour mark and it was a goal entirely in keeping with the scrappy game. A free-kick 25 yards from the Hendon goal was struck against the wall.

It bounced away from the goal, but into the path of Efon Elad. Nobody moved to close down the striker and ELAD had time to pick his spot and beat King with a confident strike.

Dale Binns was introduced at the expense of Iain Duncan, but he couldn't work his magic in the difficult conditions, especially as Hendon were hindered by Scott Cousins moving to his less favoured side. The Greens were not without half-chances, but they were almost invariably guilty of over-elaboration.

Basingstoke continued to ask questions of the Hendon defence, but Antony Howard, Cooper and Mark Burgess did enough to keep their line intact. It would have helped their cause, however, if clearances actually went to teammates.

Pat Gavin and Forde came on for the final quarter-hour, replacing Ofori and Randall and they nearly set up a Hendon equaliser in the 84th minute. Forde controlled the ball well just inside the penalty area, but could not turn.

Instead, he passed the ball square to Gavin, who played a one-two with Binns. The ball did not break well for Gavin, so he set up Cousins, who struck a fine shot. However, Ricky Allaway threw himself in front of the ball and blocked the goalbound effort. Thereafter, the game petered out tamely.

"I don't have much to say," admitted manager Dave Anderson. "We were very poor and it was a poor game. Basingstoke deserved their victory."

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

Hendon

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Dave King  
2 Mark Burgess  
3 Iain Duncan  
4 Antony Howard  
5 Mark Cooper  
6 Andy Cook  
7 Martin Randall  
8 Dean Brennan  
9 Eugene Ofori  
10 Jon-Barrie Bates  
11 Scott Cousins  
12 Pat Gavin for 7 , 78
14 Dale Binns for 3 , 67
15 James Burgess  
16 Dean Lindsay  
17 Fabian Forde for 9 , 78

Basingstoke Town

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Scott Tarr  
2 David Ray  
3 Nathan Stamp  
4 Ricky Allaway  
5 Jason Bristow  
6 Ben Surey  
7 Oliver Burgess  
8 Efon Elad  
9 Craig McAllister  
10 Ian Dickens  
11 Alex Ewin  
12 Neville Roach  
14 Barry Elmore  
15 Steve Hemmings  
16 Dan Wealt  
17 John Dyer