Match Report

Leatherhead
1-2
Hendon
J Midson
S Murphy, J Walker
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Wednesday 25 April 2018
Attendance: 449

Hendon clinched their second playoff place in four seasons with a heart-stopping victory over Leatherhead, one of the teams which could have ended the Greens' dreams. Under enormous pressure in the second half, Hendon refused to buckle and, when - in the last minute of normal time - they put pressure on the Tanners' rearguard, they were found wanting.

The injury suffered by Michael Corcoran saw him ruled out of the squad and Dan Uchechi came into the 16 as a substitute, while Dave Diedhiou took on the starting role. There was also a slight change to the team's formation.

There was a fear that a very heavy rain shower could make the already difficult Fetcham Road pitch even harder to play on. The rain came in the first couple of minutes, but it was no more than a brief passing shower which probably was more of a benefit.

And by the time the rain had left, Hendon were in the lead. A throw-in on the right wing went to Josh Walker who went on a mazy run across the pitch just outside the penalty area.

He turned in towards the Leatherhead goal and chipped the ball towards the penalty spot where Sam Murphy had made a run. Taking a touch to bring the ball under control Murphy steadied himself and fired past Manny Agboola.

It would be a lie to say that the strike was crisp and clean and the ball flew into the net. All the history books show is that Sam Murphy put the ball in the Leatherhead goal and Hendon had the lead they craved.

A couple of minutes later, Daniel Gallagher was yellow-carded for a dangerous high challenge of Walker, who might have had a clear run at goal without the intervention. Gallagher was caught out by Walker's speed off the mark - something the Tanners would fail to heed with far greater consequences at the end of the game - and there was a case that the centre-back’s punishment was lenient.

It was not long before Gallagher was almost left in a similar situation, but this time he got just a bit of the ball. But, if Walker had been half a stride further forward, then the outcome would have left the referee with a very difficult decision.

In the 20th minute, Nana Boakye-Yiadom fired a shot which Tom Lovelock did not hold, but he was able to push the ball away from the oncoming Tom Derry. It was a rare sight of goal for Leatherhead's attacking players because James Hammond, Ollie Sprague, Arthur Lee and Rian Bray were absolutely outstanding in defence and Jake Eggleton and Dave Diedhiou ensured that the Tanners midfielders had to play towards Derry and Jack Midson from deep.

Ashley Nathaniel-George was proving a regular source of danger to the Tanners, but as much as the Hendon defence dominated the Leatherhead attack, so their defence limited the chances of Walker and Niko Muir adding to their goal tallies. Both teams were mainly wayward with their attempts at goal but there was strong feeling of expectation from both sets of fans whenever they attacked.

Lovelock was forced into making another save after 39 minutes, conceding a corner. The ball into the penalty area was won by a green shirt and the players and fans behind the goal roared as Lovelock threw himself, apparently in vain at the effort.

Those behind the goal were convinced Lovelock reached the ball only after it had crossed the goalline. However, his body position obscured the view of the assistant referee along the line and as the referee also had no angle to be certain that all of the ball had been over all of the line, the goal could not be awarded. To be fair to the Leatherhead players, there was very little in the way of protest.

It was a great escape for Hendon and they were able to see out the rest of the first half without too many alarms.

Hendon, in their midnight blue, became somewhat harder to spot in the gloaming, but they started the second half well. Six minutes into the period, Muir got in front of Gallagher who tried to play the ball but made powerful physical contact with Muir and sent him crashing to the ground.

It was a clear foul, albeit without intent, and it should have been a penalty. The referee seemed unclear; his assistant was frozen with indecision and it was a huge break for the Tanners, who had another one a minute later when Murphy drilled a shot inches wide of Agboola's left upright, with the goalkeeper nowhere near the ball.

Leatherhead upped the tempo further and the Hendon defence was at full stretch to keep out a series of raids. It was nervous stuff for all the north London supporters, but there was consolation that the second half collapse of March 2017 at Fetcham Grove was not repeated.

With an hour gone, Hendon created another chance and Muir lobbed a header towards the top corner. It was not the most powerful of efforts, but Agboola was far from convincing as he caught the ball at the second attempt.

However, having gathered the ball, he was quick to launch a counter-attack with a throw downfield and the ball was then passed out to the right wing. For once the Tanners wide player did enough to beat Sprague and deliver a cross.

The ball eventually reached Midson, and the former Hendon loanee and current Tanners assistant boss, headed the ball beyond Lovelock's dive and into the net. Leatherhead quickly increased the pressure on the Hendon goal, but the defence remained resolutely solid and Lovelock, as well as dealing with a number of corners, made two saves, the second of which was in the excellent category to keep out a low drive from Tom Richards after 76 minutes.

It took until the 80th minute before either team changed their starting line-up and it was Hendon who sent on Uchechi for Ashley Nathaniel-George. Five minutes later, Luke Tingey took over from Diedhiou so both changes were pretty much like for like. Leatherhead made their first substitution with three minutes of normal time remaining, Calum Davies swapping with Richards.

Anyone who thought that Hendon were going to be satisfied with a point were wrong as, in the 90th minute, Uchechi, Muir and Walker all harried and hustled Sean Clohessy, Frazer Shaw and Jerry Nnamani, hoping to force an error. Their plan worked perfectly as, in the middle of the pitch, 10 yards outside the penalty area, a pass was horribly short of its intended recipient.

Agboola was quick to realise the danger and he ran towards the edge of his penalty area. He was nowhere near quick enough, however, because Walker had sensed the opportunity and was closer to the pass. A quick, well-struck sidefoot flew low along the ground past Agboola and nestled in the bottom corner of the goal.

There was huge joy from the Hendon contingent and utter misery for the Tanners. Eggleton, who had run himself to a near standstill wasn't on the pitch for the final couple of minutes as, having suffered slight cramp, he went off and Harly Wise came on. Leatherhead sent on Nathan Wood four minutes into added time, surely far too late to change the course of the game.

In fact, after conceding the goal, even though more than six minutes of additional time was played, Leatherhead knew the game was up. In boxing parlance, they barely laid a glove on Hendon in those minutes as the visitors saw out time with fewer alarms than for most of the previous 55 odd minutes.

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

Leatherhead

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Manny Agboola  
2 Sean Clohessy  
3 Frazer Shaw  
4 Niall McManus  
5 Daniel Gallagher  
6 Jerry Nnamani  
7 Nana Boakye-Yiadom  
8 D'Sean Theobalds  
9 Tom Derry  
10 Jack Midson  
11 Tom Richards  
12 Nathan Wood  
14 Callum Wood  
15 Reece Williams-Bowers  
16 Will Seager  

Hendon

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Tom Lovelock  
2 James Hammond  
3 Oliver Sprague  
4 Arthur Lee  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Jake Eggleton  
7 Ashley Nathaniel-George  
8 Dave Diedhiou  
9 Josh Walker  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Sam Murphy  
12 Daniel Uchechi for 7 , 80
13 Luke Tingey for 8 , 85
14 Harly Wise for 6 , 90
15 Matt Ball  
17 Keagan Cole