Match Report

Chesham United
G Cooper
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 03 May 2003
Attendance: 362

Hendon ended 2002-03 with a season's first two-game losing streak, but still finished in their best position since the dawn of the open era in 1974. Chesham had pyrrhic 1-0 victory that saw them reach 52 points, but still in the relegation zone, so they will be in Ryman League Division One next season (subject to FA, League or club machinations during the summer).

David Hook, Iain Duncan, Mark Cooper, Steve Butler and Dale Binns all returned to the side at the expense of Gary McCann, Rob Hollingdale, Lee Harvey, Ricardo Alves and Lee Endersby, with all but Hollingdale and Alves joining Micky Woolner and Martin Randall on the bench.

This was Hendon's 22nd match in 63 days, an absurd schedule for a full-time professional outfit, let alone one for part-time players, who have to work during the day before playing night matches. Sadly this was definitely a game too far.

Chesham had a strong wind at their backs and they tried to take advantage early. In the third minute, Andy Douglas worked an opening and fired a low shot that Hook did well to push aside for a corner.

In terms of noteworthy first half chances, that was it. Hendon didn't manage a single effort to trouble Delroy Preddie, while Chesham's nerves were such that they frequently ran into offside positions to waste opportunities.

Indicative of their haste was a free-kick 25 yards from the Hendon goal in a central position. The Hendon wall lined up, ready for a shot, but Chesham tried to be clever with a back-heel to Grant Cooper that was taken too quickly for him and a defender was able to charge down the shot as it was struck.

Endersby replaced Binns, whose groin continued to bother him, for the second half. The Greens made sure the referee was aware of the change.

With the advantage of the wind, Hendon at least improved their play after the interval, albeit by a small margin. In the 48th minute, Endersby overhit a curled free-kick into the waiting arms of Preddie, who did not have to move a yard to gather the ball. This was the first Hendon effort on target.

After Woolner and Randall had replaced James Burgess and Eugene Ofori, Hendon twice came close to opening the scoring. First a lob from Endersby defeated Preddie but carried over the crossbar.

Then, in the 63rd minute, Butler, up in attack for a corner got to a cross from Paul Yates but was falling down and didn't quite have enough to lift the ball over Preddie, who was also going to ground to block the shot.

With 15 minutes to go, a Chesham free-kick was curled in by Tom Neill and it appeared to got through a crowd of players without being touched until Hook made a fine save, palming the ball around the far post. It was to be goalkeeper's last positive act of the season.

In the 80th minute, Chesham substitute Stephen Miles, who had just come on, injected his pace into a run past the Hendon defence. Iain Duncan ran with him and was ready to make a tackle as Hook came off his line.

The goalkeeper made contact with the substitute as the ball was lifted over him but Duncan was able to reach the ball a yard short of the goalline. Referee Andrew Parker (Herts), immediately blew for a penalty for the foul by Hook, who was kicked on the thigh as he tried to block Miles.Incredibly, although Duncan had proved it was not a clear goalscoring opportunity, by stopping the shot after Miles had hit it over Hook, Mr Parker showed the Hendon keeper a red card.

With all 3 subs used, 2nd goalkeeper McCann could only watch from the bench as Woolner took over Hook's shirt and gloves. Grant COOPER stepped up and fired the spot-kick to Woolner's left. The stand-in guessed correctly and got a firm hand to the ball, but couldn't keep it out of the net.

In the 89th minute, Woolner showed some fine goalkeeping instincts by racing off his line and making a fine block to deny Chesham a second goal. It gave Hendon a glimmer of hope and it almost proved sufficient in stoppage time.

A cross to the far post was met by Paul Towler, who headed powerfully beyond Preddie towards the far post. Martin Randall about to add the coup de grace from 2 yards out when Wayne Brown launched himself to clear the ball.

At the final whistle there was an unsavoury incident as Chesham players - who had just heard that Heybridge Swifts' 89th-minute winning goal against Aylesbury had relegated them - got involved with some Hendon fans, but the incident calmed down quickly.

"This was a game too far for us," said manager Dave Anderson. "The boys have been playing on automatic pilot for most of this week."

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


Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 David Hook s/o, 80
2 Iain Duncan  
3 James Burgess  
4 Paul Towler  
5 Mark Cooper  
6 Steve Butler  
7 Ricci Crace  
8 Jon-Barrie Bates  
9 Eugene Ofori  
10 Paul Yates  
11 Dale Binns  
12 Martin Randall for 9 , 61
14 Michael Woolner for 2 , 55
15 Lee Harvey  
16 Gary McCann  
17 Lee Endersby for 11 , 46

Chesham United

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Delroy Preddie  
2 James Bent  
3 Daniel Braithwaite  
4 Grant Cooper  
5 Wayne Brown  
6 Andre Scarlett  
7 John Morgan  
8 Steve Dogbe  
9 Paul Fewings  
10 Andy Douglas  
11 Tom Neill  
12 Dave Fotheringham  
14 Kevin Mealor for 7 , 38
15 Stephen Miles for 11 , 78
16 Mark Nwokeji  
17 Nathan Bowden-Haase