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Hendon 3 Staines Town 0: Niko Muir double helps Greens down massive

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 September 2017

Hendon's Niko Muir (pic DBeech Photography)

Hendon's Niko Muir (pic DBeech Photography)

Derek_Beech

Bostik Premier: Hendon 3 Staines Town 0

Hendon won their fourth consecutive Bostik Premier home game with a clean sheet, led once again by the prolific Niko Muir who added a third double to go with two hat-tricks as he reached 12 goals in 11 games and 10 in nine in the League.

Victims on Tuesday night were Staines Town, 3–0 at Silver Jubilee Park, who didn’t deserve to be on the end of a three-goal defeat, but this was the story of chances taken by the Greens and squandered by the Massive.

There were two changes to the Hendon starting line-up, Dave Diedhiou and Keagan Cole coming in for Matt Ball and Zak Joseph, both of who came on as substitutes. Leo Pedro was the third used change, but neither Kezie Ibe nor James Rogers-Oben were called upon.

In the opening minutes, it was Staines who set the pace. After nine minutes, Max Worsfold got the better of Jake Eggleton and delivered a teasing cross from close to the goalline.

Tom Lovelock palmed the ball to what he thought was away from danger, but instead he pushed it straight to Mo Bettamer. The ball came to him quickly, but the unmarked Bettamer rolled the ball wide of the gaping target.

In the opening quarter, Worsfold gave Eggleton the runaround. However, after an audacious nutmeg, which led to a half-chance which was cleared by the Hendon defence, the full-back made a solid, legal challenge on the wide man, and he was not the same threat thereafter.

The midfield contest was gradually won by Hendon as Diedhiou and Michael Corcoran made important challenges to stifle Staines’ forward moves. It was a different story when the aerial route was used as the giant Bayley Brown and Ben Martin won almost every header for which they challenged.

Hendon’s first attempt on goal came from Josh Walker in the 26th minute. His low shot took a deflection and drew a sprawling save from Liam Driscoll. A minute later, from a right-wing corner, Mitchal Gough flicked the ball narrowly wide of the near post.

Seven minutes later, Hendon took the lead. It started with Lovelock rolling the ball out to Rian Bray, who quickly moved the ball to Ashley Nathaniel-George. From there the ball went to Walker, who set up Muir, and his low shot beat Driscoll as he dived low to his right.

Buoyed by the goal, the Greens moved up a gear and Staines were indebted to Driscoll for a superb save from a 10-yard drive after 38 minutes. Two minutes later, Driscoll denied Cole from close range.

Just before the break, Staines midfielder Daniel D. Brown – the elder son of former Hendon player Dereck Brown, now the Massive’s assistant boss – limped off with an apparent muscle injury. He did not come out for the second half, replaced by Tommy Brewer.

The second half started at the same breathless pace. Elliott Buchanan missed a great chance for Staines barely a minute after the resumption and was denied by Lovelock ten minutes into the half.

In between, Nathaniel-George tried his luck with a shot from a good position. It did not have the power to unduly trouble Driscoll, who made a comfortable save. Buchanan and Bettamer were growing increasingly frustrated as Arthur Lee and Bray gave them few openings and neither Brewer nor Worsfold got any change out Ollie Sprague and Eggleton – the latter’s early dominance now a distant memory.

Joseph took over from Walker with 20 minutes to go and Staines followed with their second change, manager’s son Jonathan Hippolyte – who made one appearance for Hendon in March 2014 – coming on for Buchanan. Hendon then replaced Cole with Ball and, within a couple of minutes, the Greens’ lead was doubled.

Joseph was the goalscorer, but it was made by a sublime slide-rule pass to his feet as he ran into the box, just beating the offside trap. He got behind Martin, drew Driscoll finished with great confidence.

It was the decisive moment of the game because, with a one-goal deficit, Staines were still in the game. However with the way the Hendon defence and midfield had strangled the attacking options of the Massive, two goals was always going to be too many get.

Both teams then made their final changes, first Lewis Driver coming on for Bettamer, who had become more isolated and rather lost on the right flank, where he got nothing out of Sprague. Pedro was the Hendon substitute, for the just last couple of minutes, taking over from Nathaniel-George.

And it was Pedro who instigated the coup de grâce. Gough was caught in possession 20 yards outside his penalty area and Pedro quickly ran towards the penalty area.

Gough did get back to make a shot from Pedro difficult, but there was a serious lack of defensive support as Pedro passed to Ball. The midfielder tried to find room for a shot, but took the better option of rolling the ball further to his right, to where Muir was in acres of space.

After taking a touch to bring the ball under control, Muir fired an stoppable shot past Driscoll to make it 3–0.

It rounded off another very good evening for Hendon, one which saw them return to second in the Bostik League Premier Division.

Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Sprague, Corcoran, Bray, Lee, Cole (Ball, 77), Diedhiou, Walker (Joseph, 71), Muir, Nathaniel-George (Pedro, 87).

Unused subs: Rogers-Oben, Ibe.

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