Hendon continued their winning ways in pre-season by defeating Cheshunt by 2 goals to 1 at Cheshunt Stadium, Theobalds Lane this afternoon.
Compared to recent days, the weather conditions were more conducive to football, being mostly cloudy and therefore cooler, though a breeze, quite strong at times, caused both sides some difficulties. There was no need for the referee to suspend play for water breaks.
Again there were no new faces in the Hendon line-up, though Carl McCluskey and Kevin Maclaren played their first matches this pre-season.
The first half was fairly even, with both sides playing well. Hendon just about shaded the first 15 minutes, and Cheshunt the next 15, the remainder of the half being even. Chances were at a premium at both ends, with defences mainly on top and neither goalkeeper overworked, though Cheshunt'Â™s attack looked slightly more penetrative than Hendon'Â™s.
The wind was causing more difficulties to the players than the pitch, and it played its part in the opening goal, scored by Cheshunt after 26 minutes. A long ball downfield cleared the Hendon defence but held up slightly in the wind. Berkley Laurencin came to the edge of his area to collect it, but was under pressure from an attacker and failed to take it cleanly. He lost possession to the attacker who tried to go round Laurencin and was rugby-tackled for his impudence. Lee Brennan, who played once for Hendon last pre-season, stepped up and sent Laurencin the wrong way from the spot.
On the stroke of half-time Hendon equalised. Isaiah Rankin, who had little success against the Cheshunt central defenders, broke into the penalty area and was sent sprawling. The referee gave a free-kick a yard or two outside the box, and after Danny Sonner spent some time arranging the wall in front of him, Anthony Thomas drove the free-kick through or past the end of the wall and into the bottom corner. Sonner seemed to be badly positioned and didn't move.
Hendon only made two changes at half-time, replacing Chris Seeby with Michael Duberry and Thomas with Dave Diedhiou. Further changes were made during the second half.
Hendon started the brighter and had much the better of the second half. They were unlucky not to have taken the lead within ten minutes of the restart, when a clever move down the left involving Casey Maclaren, Tony Taggart, and Scott Cousins ended with the latter swerving a shot with the outside of his left foot against the inside of the far post, beating Sonner all ends up. The keeper was lucky, however, in that the rebound just evaded a Hendon attacker and finished in his arms. Shortly afterwards Michael Murray was also unlucky to hit the post.
After 65 minutes Hendon made six changes, with an unexpected one made five minutes later when Laurencin was withdrawn as a precaution, having apparently jarred his right knee in making a short defensive pass. Casey Maclaren, having come off in the mass change, returned to take over the keeper's jersey and gloves as there was no replacement keeper on the bench, but he was little more than a spectator for the rest of the match.
Five minutes before time a Hendon move was not defended well by the Cheshunt defence. The ball was laid back to Kevin Maclaren, whose drive struck the bar. This time the rebound favoured Hendon, with Dave Diedhiou heading home from close range to maintain his goal a game record in pre-season.
Shortly afterwards Aaron Morgan should have made it three, but was foiled by Danny Hancock, who replaced Sonner with around fifteen minutes to go.