Match Report

J Connors
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 12 January 2013
Attendance: 212

Hendon recorded their third 1-0 win in four matches to keep their survival hopes alive and well as they reached the half-way point in the season.

The Greens' match-winner was teenager Jack Connors, whose goal, just before the interval, came not only out of almost nothing, but also completely against the run of play. That said, Kingstonian paid the penalty for a lack of discipline and had to play for the final half-hour with 10 men after Wade Small was shown a second yellow card - this after talking his way into the referee's notebook before half-time.

Lee O'Leary (for Dave Diedhiou) and Elliott Brathwaite (replacing Ryan Wharton) were restored to the starting line-up after being rested in midweek, while Sean Sonner and Belal Aite-Ouakrim came in for Darren Currie and Julian Owusu. All but the unavailable Currie were named among the five Hendon substitutes.

And O'Leary almost gave Hendon the perfect start when he headed a Connors cross past Rob Tolfrey. Adam Green anticipated the situation well and cleared the ball from a few yards in front of the goal-line.

After a good first ten minutes, Hendon were forced onto the back foot by a Kingstonian team eying second place in the League, if results went their way. In the 17th minute, Berkley Laurencin produced a brilliant save to divert a long-range shot and James Fisher completed the clearance.

Ks went even closer after half an hour, when a powerful drive from Andre McCollin beat Laurencin, but he looked on in despair as the ball caromed off the inside of the right post and bounced to Howard Hall, who kicked the ball away from the danger zone.

A foul on Dean Cracknell after 40 minutes enraged the aggressor McCollin, who argued his way into the referee's notebook. He was followed, a few seconds later, by Small, whose aggressive posture was unedifying and sanction entirely deserved.

Despite being under great pressure for around half an hour, Hendon did create a couple of half-chances, but the Kingstonian defence was able to deal with them. There was also a Greens free kick in a dangerous position. Taken by Brathwaite, the ball cleared the defensive wall, crossbar and wall surrounding the ground, ending in the trees of the nursery.

Three minutes before half-time the Kingstonian defence relaxed too much and was made to pay. A ball down the left channel was controlled well by Connors. Aaron Goode slipped as he tried to make a challenge and Connors was left with only Tolfrey to beat.

The goalkeeper came off his line, but the 18-year-old, displaying a poise and calmness rarely seen in one so young, drove the ball past Tolfrey's desperate dive and just inside the far post.

Just before the half-time whistle blew McCollin went in late as the Hendon defence cleared the ball. He was probably very fortunate not to receive a yellow card for the offence, but it was another indication that Hendon had got under the skin of their visitors.

The second half was less good entertainment than the first. Kingstonian, once more exerted most of the pressure, but Hall, Scott Cousins, Kevin Maclaren and the centre-back pairing of Fisher and Brathwaite were excellent and almost all of the Ks efforts were from long-range.

A drive from Matt Pattison did bring Laurencin to his knees, but the goalkeeper never looked like fumbling the ball forwards or back as he gathered it.

And Kingstonian's hopes of getting a result took another knock in the 64th minute. A ball was played into the penalty area from the left side and Laurencin came out to gather it. He caught the ball cleanly but was impeded by Small as he tried to land.

Laurencin fell very awkwardly and needed treatment before he could resume. Small, who apparently had collided with a Hendon defender as he went for the ball, suffering a cut lip, was shown a second yellow card and was thus dismissed. The reaction by the other nine Kingstonian outfield players was to surround the referee, who was never going to be persuaded to change his mind.

Sonner and Aite-Ouakrim had proved thorns in the Ks' side on their forays forward, but it meant that the 10 men couldn't commit as many men to attack as they would have liked because a second goal would have been an insurmountable deficit to claw back.

In the 74th minute, that second goal nearly arrived when a curled cross from Sonner went over Tolfrey and struck the crossbar before rolling too far away for Aite-Ouakrim to take advantage.

Four minutes later Owusu replaced Sonner and gave a more physical presence which further unsettled the already edgy Ks. They conceded their first corner a minute later and Hendon forced three more in the last few minutes of the match.

With eight minutes to go, Tolfrey kept Kingstonian in the game with an instinctive save from Aite-Ouakrim, though if the striker had left the ball for Cracknell, on a different angle, the shot might not have been savable.

From the save, Kingstonian launched a rapid counter0attack which ended with a foul by Brathwaite on McCollin, earning the centre-half a yellow card. The free-kick, however was easily saved by Laurencin.

Despite almost six minutes of stoppage time, Hendon - who replaced Aite-Ouakrim with Diedhiou as the added time began - were able to hold on for a vital three points.

"This was a big three points for us," said manager Gary McCann, "and on a very difficult pitch. I think we played the conditions much better than Kingstonian.

"What pleased me most was that we learned from our mistakes on Tuesday night. I stressed the importance of not making mistakes and keeping it simple. If that meant knocking the ball longer then that is what we had to do, and we did it well.

"It may not have been very pretty, but it got us the result and that is the important thing. I think Sean Sonner ran his socks off today, but it was a very good disciplined performance."

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


This match was sponsored by John Melnyk
The matchballs were sponsored by Lucy Watters


Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Berkley Laurencin  
2 Howard Hall  
3 Scott Cousins  
4 James Fisher  
5 Elliott Brathwaite  
6 Kevin Maclaren  
7 Dean Cracknell  
8 Lee O'Leary  
9 Belal Aite-Ouakrim  
10 Sean Sonner  
11 Jack Connors  
12 Dave Diedhiou for 9 , 90
13 Sam Flegg  
14 Ryan Wharton  
15 Julian Owusu-Bekoe for 10 , 78
17 Junior Lewis  


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Rob Tolfrey  
2 Aaron Goode  
3 Adam Green  
4 Kieran Murphy  
5 Gary Macdonald  
6 Matt Somner  
7 Matt Pattison  
8 Lewis Taylor  
9 Wade Small s/o, 65
10 Andre McCollin  
11 Nathan Koranteng  
12 Jack Barton  
14 Craig Mullen for 3 , 82
15 Goma Lamou  
16 Tom Bird  
17 Lewis Bragg