Match Report

Tonbridge Angels
1-0
Hendon
N Elder
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 12 August 2017
Attendance: 495

Hendon began the new season with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at bogey side Tonbridge Angels on Saturday afternoon. After a less than ideal preparation thanks to a long coach journey, the Greens - lining up in proper Hendon Green rather than the lime green of last season - put in a performance that was full of endeavour and heart, yet they lacked the final cutting edge in front of goal which the hosts possessed in the shape of former Brentford striker Nathan Elder.

Gary McCann fielded three debutants in his starting XI - Jake Eggleton at right-back with Rian Bray next to him at centre-half, and Zak Joseph starting in a wide attacking role on the right flank, Leo Pedro would make his debut from the substitutes bench whilst Ashley Nathaniel-George and Cameron Currie were unused.

After a cagey opening ten minutes, the Greens went on to have the better of the first half yet without making the breakthrough. Zak Joseph was denied on 12 minutes at close range by a fine Jonathan Henly save before Reis Stanislaus' fierce angled drive brought an even better save from the Angels custodian at full-stretch to prevent the strike from nestling just inside the far post. Every time the Greens went forward they carried a threat with Niko Muir, Joseph and Stanislaus linking up well and being unafraid of taking on their opponents.

Gradually, the hosts grew into the game and had their first shot at goal just before the half-hour mark when Chris Kinnear sent a shot a yard wide of Tom Lovelock's right hand post. Shortly afterwards, skipper Sonny Miles hooked a shot wide of the other post after the Greens had struggled to deal with a high free-kick into the box.

Kinnear became one of three home players to see a yellow card in the first period when he went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Eggleton. The referee, Matthew Russell had no hesitation in awarding Hendon a free kick and cautioning the Tonbridge number 8 for simulation. The Greens faithful could breathe a sigh of relief, and ended the half on the front foot - Keagan Cole had a shot blocked for a corner before just failing to get enough purchase on a glancing header 6 yards from goal and the ball bounced wide.

Tonbridge came out after the break all guns blazing and put the Greens under a spell of concerted pressure. In spite of that, the back four of Eggleton, Bray, skipper Arthur Lee and Sam Murphy protected Tom Lovelock really well and the goalkeeper was limited to fielding overhit through balls and taking goal-kicks.

Perhaps the key moment of the match came ten minutes after the break. Zak Joseph's footwork just inside the Tonbridge box melted the already cautioned Liam Smith and the right-back clearly clipped the Hendon winger's feet as he looked to go past him. Again, the referee was right on the spot and immediately awarded the penalty. Matt Ball stepped up and although he beat Henly, he couldn’t beat the crossbar and from the rebound, Sam Murphy’s effort sailed high over the bar.

This let-off boosted the hosts and they looked the more assured side with Kinnear and Luke Blewden becoming more influential. However, Hendon continued to hold firm defensively and continued to carry a threat going forward. Dan Thompson sent a shot narrowly wide of the angle of post and bar, and Lovelock had to continue to be alert to crosses into the box from wide areas.

The only goal of the game arrived with 13 minutes remaining. A cross from the Hendon left was comfortably claimed by Henly, and a break was launched down the Tonbridge left. Jey Siva, so often a threat with his left foot curled in a beautiful cross that was met emphatically by Nathan Elder, who had managed to outmuscle his marker, and the big number 9's header was buried beyond the helpless Lovelock.

To the Greens' credit, they buckled down and looked for a way back into the game. A string of four corners twice came close to finding an equaliser – the best opportunity when substitute Dave Diedhiou's looping header was touched over the bar by the alert Henly.

In stoppage time, Tonbridge went close to adding some undeserved gloss to the scoreline when Dan Thompson was denied only by a sprawling Arthur Lee challenge and as the final whistle went the Greens were left to rue the missed chances and single lapse of concentration defensively. That aside, there will be plenty of positives for Gary McCann to take into the midweek fixture with Enfield Town.

Report by John Rogers : Not to be reproduced without prior permission

Tonbridge Angels

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Jonathan Henly  
2 Craig Stone  
3 Jey Siva  
4 Liam Smith  
5 Sonny Miles  
6 George Beaven  
7 Luke Blewden  
8 Chris Kinnear  
9 Nathan Elder  
10 Dan Thompson  
11 Tommy Whitnell  
12 Tom Beere  
14 Dominic Welsh  
15 Callum Adonis-Taylor  
16 Ryan McFarlane  
17 Stewart Copeland  

Hendon

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Tom Lovelock  
2 Jake Eggleton  
3 Sam Murphy  
4 Luke Tingey  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Arthur Lee  
7 Keagan Cole  
8 Matt Ball  
9 Zak Joseph  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Reis Stanislaus  
12 Kezie Ibe for 8 , 75
14 Cameron Currie  
15 Leo Pedro for 11 , 85
17 Ashley Nathaniel-George  
18 Dave Diedhiou for 7 , 80