Bostik Premier: Hendon 4 Tooting & Mitcham 0
PUBLISHED: 14:46 01 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:09 01 October 2017
Hendon produced a clinical second-half performance to take apart a Tooting & Mitcham United team forced to play for more than an hour with 10 men.
The hosts made two changes to the team which had beaten Staines four days earlier, Keagan Cole and Josh Walker dropping to the bench as Matt Ball and Zak Joseph came into start.
Sam Murphy was back from his business trip, but he joined Leo Pedro as unused substitutes, and the first half was rather scrappy as Hendon were guilty of over-playing a number of promising situations.
Tooting, who played with only Omar Folkes up front, had former Hendon loanee Billy Dunn behind him in midfield, but Folkes was left isolated without enough support.
In the ninth minute, Matte Pierson made his first save, an excellent effort to deny Joseph.
But the Terrors quickly forced a corner at the other end and the inswinging delivery from Danny Bassett was clawed away by Tom Lovelock as it was about to hit the crossbar.
Around the quarter-hour mark, Pierson distinguished himself with two more fine saves as he pushed away a 25-yard strike from Ball, then was quickly off his line to block Niko Muir.
The key moment of the match came in the 28th minute as Bassett and Ball collided, with the Terrors midfielder stretching for the ball and striking the Hendon man in the chest with his studs.
The referee wasted no time in showing it to Bassett and Ball’s free-kick curled teasingly beyond a number of outstretched legs and feet and narrowly past the far post.
Tooting’s response to their fifth red card of the season was positive and Dunn shot just wide from open play, then over the bar from a free-kick.
Just before the break, Jake Eggleton almost opened his Hendon account when he linked up well down the right side and drilled a 20-yard shot that cannoned off the top off the crossbar and bounced away to safety.
The second half was only 90 seconds old, though, when Ashley Nathaniel-George fired a shot which was deflected away for a corner.
Ollie Sprague played the ball diagonally low towards the near post from where Arthur Lee hit a first time shot just inside the upright to open the scoring.
Set-pieces remained Tooting’s best and almost only hope of getting back into the game and, in the 50th minute, Peter Wedgeworth hit the angle of post and crossbar with a free-kick.
Three minutes later, Hendon’s lead was doubled as good play released Ball, who took the ball towards the goal-line wide of the six yard box. Pierson came off his line but Ball rolled the ball past the goalkeeper and despite the acute angle, it kissed the far post and rolled into the net.
Dave Diedhiou should have made it 3–0 in the 54th minute but was wide with a free header as Michael Corcoran, Ball, Diedhiou and Nathaniel-George dominated the midfield.
Tooting sent on Daniel Clements for Alex Cunningham, but his partnership with Folkes didn’t gel because the former had rather run out of gas.
More importantly, the change reduced the defensive numbers Tooting had on offer and that was where they needed bolstering.
In the 62nd minute, the defensive frailties were, once again, shown up as no one came to close down Nathaniel-George and he fired powerfully at goal.
Pierson made another excellent save, but Joseph instantly smacked the rebound into the roof of the net after reacting far quicker than any of the Terrors’ defenders.
Within a couple of minutes of the restart, the Greens made their first two changes, Corcoran and Nathaniel-George being replaced by Cole and Walker.
And it did not take long for Walker to make an impact as Tooting made a hash of playing the ball out of defence and the ball came to Muir, who set up Walker to fire past the exposed Pierson.
Hendon had a good half-dozen opportunities to extend their lead, but failed to take them.
The last substitutions came for the final 15 minutes of normal time, as Kezie Ibe took over from Muir and Tooting replaced Wedgeworth and Folkes with Michael Dixon and Elijah Simpson.
With eight minutes to go, the Terrors finally created a chance from open play, but Lovelock did well to save an effort from Daniel Clements.
Normal service was quickly resumed and Hendon could have added two more goals to their total in the final few minutes.
Ball, who had gone close twice in the first half before scoring the second of the afternoon, then saw a 25-yard drive beat Pierson all ends up, but the ball crashed against the crossbar.
Then Walker came close to scoring his second of the afternoon but Pierson made his seventh good save of the afternoon to deny him.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Sprague, Corcoran (Cole 65), Bray, Lee, Ball, Diedhiou, Joseph, Muir (Ibe 75), Nathaniel-George (Walker 65). Unused subs: Murphy, Pedro.