Hendon picked up a third away league win of the season on Saturday afternoon as they returned from their trip to Salisbury with a very professional 2-0 win. This provided Lee Allinson’s men with a second consecutive three-point haul against play-off chasing opposition each of which has included a clean sheet. There was one sour note which overshadowed the afternoon which was a head injury suffered by defender Quba Gordon early on in proceedings that saw the centre-half taken to hospital.
The collision occurred in an aerial challenge with Marvin Brooks in the 8th minute and following a seven-minute delay, Gordon was stretchered off. He was later discharged from hospital that evening with a broken nose, some muscular damage and under review for secondary concussion.
Shaun Lucien forced the first save of note from either goalkeeper when his angled effort was repelled by former Gosport custodian Patrick O’Flaherty midway through the first-half and it was as the period went on that Hendon’s level of control began to grow.
Hamza Semakula led a break down the left flank but wasn’t able to find Liam Brooks with his cut-back but did better six minutes before the interval as he picked up a pass from Leone Gravta, turned Samuel Roberts and slipped a ball around the corner into the path of Brooks. Hendon’s leading scorer took one touch as he crossed the 18-yard line before rifling a low drive beyond the dive of O’Flaherty and into the bottom corner of the net for his 7th goal of the campaign.
Semakula almost doubled the lead as he burst onto a neat reverse ball from Shaun Lucien but with the angle becoming ever-more acute, fired his effort across the face of goal and wide of the far post whilst at the other end new signing Henry Spalding had Salisbury’s clearest sight of goal but off-balance, blazed his effort from the edge of the Hendon penalty area well over the target. Spalding, making his debut for the Whites, was hooked at the break.
Lucien was denied once more on the stroke of half-time by a fine save from O’Flaherty after the winger had cut inside Spalding onto his left foot as the Greens continued to look for that all-important second goal before the break.
In actual fact, they had to wait until 20-minutes into a low-key second period to get the goal that their superiority warranted. Lucien delivered a free kick into the penalty area from the right-hand side where it was met by a glancing header from Brooks at the near post. It was destined for the far corner of the net were it not for a quite brilliant save at full-stretch from O’Flaherty who, flinging himself headlong to his right, was able to palm the ball wide of the post.
Any respite for the home side was short-lived as from Wilson Carvalho’s corner, the ball wasn’t cleared by the home defence and as it dropped 8-yards out, Lucien drove it hard and true on the half-volley beyond the Salisbury goalkeeper and into the net for his second goal in successive matches.
With the comfort of a second goal, Hendon were happy to soak up Salisbury pressure and look to hit on the break. With Tommy Brewer and Christian Smith immoveable at the base of the Hendon defence and Jayden Clarke’s industry and intelligent use of the ball alongside Kieran Forbes keeping the Greens ticking over, whilst the pace of Carvalho and Lucien kept the Greens looking threatening on the break.
After Marvin Brooks had perhaps been fortunate not to see red for kicking out at Lucas Perry and Charlie Kennedy had seen yellow for scything down Semakula after the Hendon man looked to get away down the left-hand side, substitute Carvalho went close to a late third for the Greens as his effort beat O’Flaherty but was denied by a splendid covering header from Roberts on the line.
Late on, Sam Ashton had Salisbury’s best effort of the game as he met a cross from Antionio Diaz, beating Smith to the ball, but his header went a yard wide of the post.
After Lucien had ended a surging 60-yard run with a drive over the top, the final whistle went and the Hendon faithful were able to salute a thoroughly professional job done to secure a well deserved three points.