Hendon paid their first visit, as far as is known, to the quaintly named Leg O'Mutton Field to play Cobham in their latest friendly. Cobham, who play in the Combined Counties League Division One, were well worth the draw, playing some excellent football at times which asked questions of the Hendon midfield and defence.
Hendon included a number of trialists in their squad of 19, six of them being newcomers. The best known of these was Isaiah Rankin, who has played for a number of league clubs including Arsenal, Bradford City, and Brentford, before joining Stevenage Borough and then Crawley Town. He appeared for Ashford Town (Middlesex) last season.
Only three trialists started the match, Liam Hind and Bradley Fraser in defence and Daryl Atkins, who was with the Under-21s last season, as a striker, wearing the number 13 shirt.
The first incident of note came around six minutes in, when Cobham's left-back collapsed in agony following an innocuous challenge with Aaron Morgan. After he had received treatment for at least five minutes, a stretcher was fetched from the dressing room, and he was carried off. Cobham's trainer continued to treat him during the first half, but it was necessary to call an ambulance, which arrived as the first half finished. The problem was thought to be in the player's lower back. Hopefully no lasting damage was done.
Cobham withdrew their number 7 to left-back, bringing on a substitute. This proved to be of importance shortly before half-time.
Possession was fairly even during the first half, though The Greens had the better chances, Atkins and Morgan firing wide or over from good positions. Cobham had fewer chances to score, but they took the lead a minute before half-time with a well worked goal. A Hendon move involving Liam Hind broke down just inside Cobham's half, and a couple of quick passes sent their number 7 on an overlap down their left. With Hind caught upfield, there was insufficient cover, and although Diedhiou managed to get back to challenge, he was unable to prevent the number 7 from crossing with the outside of his right foot. The cross was excellent, taking out both Fraser and Michael Peacock, and it was met by Cobham's number 10 coming in from beyond the far post. He headed the ball back across Berkley Laurencin and into the net.
Hendon made two changes at the start of the second half, Greg Ngoyi replacing Atkins, and Alan Murray replacing James Fisher. Six further changes were made during the half.
By the hour mark Hendon had taken the lead, Casey Maclaren equalising after 50 minutes and Morgan scoring after 58 minutes, both from close range. Several chances to extend the lead were spurned, Ngoyi missing badly on one occasion, before Cobham equalised with about five minutes left to play. It was unclear what had happened, but several Cobham officials and non-playing players thought that the equaliser came through an own goal.
Both Peacock and Fraser, until he was replaced by Junior Lewis for the last ten minutes, were excellent at the back, despite being caught out by the cross for the first goal.
Overall, a 2-2 draw was a fair result, though had Hendon's attack brought their shooting boots with them, they could have scored six or seven.