Hendon stretched their unbeaten run to five games with a well-deserved point against title-chasing Chesham United. The goalless draw was one of the most entertaining games the Greens have played at Silver Jubilee Park for quite a while.
There were five changes from the team that earned a point from the visit to Winchester on Saturday, Tarik Moore-Azille, Guri Demuria, Frank Keita, Kieron Forbes and Rohdell Gordon being replaced by Josh Dawodu, Tommy Brewer, Robbie Buchanan, Arthur Iontton and Bobson Bawling. Four rested players – Moore-Azille was unwell – were joined on the bench for the first time by new signing, 18-year-old Romey Meodad (from Southall, and formerly with Hayes & Yeading United), but he and Demuria were unused.
Chesham started four former Hendon forwards, all of whom enjoyed prolific seasons with the Greens (Karl Oliyide 12 goals in 2016–17, Zak Joseph 18 in 2017–18, Ricardo German 21 in 2018–19 and Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick also 21 in 2018–19).
However, it was Frankie Sutherland who was the most likely goalscorer in the opening six minutes. He first had a free-kick, which was pushed over the bar with a degree of comfort by Marcin Brzozowski. The goalkeeper then produced an altogether better save from a drive from the full-back, who had been set up by Hippolyte-Patrick.
It would be fair to say that while Hendon created many more chances, they didn’t force any difficult saves from Sam Beasant, the Generals – with many fewer opportunities – regularly worked Brzozowski. However, Beasant, the son of the former Edgware Town and England goalkeeper – plus many others – was indebted to his defenders, who made a number of brave blocks during the evening.
Hendon’s first opening came in the 13th minute, when Beasant received a back-pass from Sutherland and was immediately closed down by Liam Brooks, who got a foot on the goalkeeper’s clearance and deflected it to Buchanan. It was a snap half-chance, but Buchanan failed to hit the target from about 20 yards out, the ball missing the post by a foot.
Beasant tipped over a shot from Bawling after 20 minutes, but it looked as if the ball was going to clear the bar anyway. A couple of minutes later, German was treated for an injury and although he returned to the fray it was only for a few minutes and he departed the game for good, Francis Jno-Baptiste replacing him.
The best chance of the game came in the 40th minute and it went Hendon’s way. Gio Palmer did well down the left wing and a cross to beyond the far post picked out Brooks, but the forward’s guided header flew wide of the opposite post.
Joe White worked hard all game, but could not add to his goal tally when, on another night, he might have celebrated a second-half hat-trick. In the 57th minute, a ricochet in the penalty area fell to him, but he turned the ball just wide.
A minute later, Buchanan was replaced by Rhodell Gordon who, by sticking to the right flank, limited Sutherland’s attempts to play in a more advanced position. Brooks then saw his shot blocked by a defender near the goal-line with Beasant clearly beaten.
Gordon’s good run after 63 minutes set up White, but he snatched at the ball and it rolled into the fence behind the ball. White’s best chance came in the 78th minute, but he was denied an amazing block from Eion Casey
Both teams then made their second changes, Hippolyte-Patrick making way for Jeanmal Prosper and Frank Keita taking over from Brooks. In the final 15 minutes, Chesham, who had been on the back foot for most of the second half, began to exert more pressure on the Hendon goal.
The Greens’ defence, with Dave Diedhiou and Brewer outstanding in the middle, well supported by Arthur Iontton and Solomon Sambou in front of them and Dawodu and Palmer outside, kept the potent Generals at bay until the 84th minute. Brzozowski produced a brilliant save to push away a close-range drive from Oliyide, the striker holding his head in disbelief that he hadn’t broken the deadlock.
From the corner, Hendon struggled to clear the ball and it fell to Oliyide, this time 20 yards from goal. His shot, however, fizzed over the crossbar and the Greens breathed again.
Almost as if both teams accepted there was not going to be a winner unless there was a moment of magic or a tragic mistake, they made their final changes. As the 90-minute mark was reached, Jordan Edwards replaced Jordan Gibbons for the Generals and, for Hendon, Forbes took over from Iontton.
The point lifted the Greens back up to 20th in the Southern League South Premier Division table, all of the bottom five teams having five points. Chesham, meanwhile, moved up to third, six points behind unbeaten leaders Weston-Super-Mare.