Hendon pass Harrow test to raise survival hopes
PUBLISHED: 08:48 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:48 18 April 2017
Harrow Borough 0 Hendon 2
Hendon inched closer to Ryman Premier Division safety with a rather comfortable 2–0 victory over Harrow Borough at Earlsmead.
But they are not there yet and, two points clear of the bottom four, must defeat Staines Town on Saturday to be sure, although a draw might be sufficient.
There were three changes to the Greens starting line-up from their win over Met Police (and four to the bench), as Casey Maclaren, Luke Tingey and Marcel Barrington took over from James Harper, Keagan Cole and Reis Stanislaus, respectively.
The trio were all named on the bench, alongside the eventually unused Geo Craig and Daniel Rumens, as Dave Diedhiou and Elliott Charles were left out of the 16.
But it was not a great game to watch as the tension of the situation seemed to weigh too heavily on the teams.
Marc Charles-Smith rather summed up the desperation in the 10th minute when instead of turning and shooting, he tried a spectacular overhead scissors kick which sent the ball some yards wide.
Over the course of the 90 minutes, apart from a few punches and one scramble late on, keeper Tom Lovelock was limited to two very comfortable saves.
In the first half, Michael Bryan’s low shot was easily gathered and, after the break, a 20-yarder was aimed straight at his midriff.
Hendon were hardly more dangerous, but Kezie Ibe and Barrington were more of a handful for Michael Peacock and Steve Brown than Charles-Smith and Lewis Driver were for Josh McLeod-Urquhart and Arthur Lee.
All four full-backs coped well, as Sam Murphy limited Bryan and James Hammond nullified Joshua Webb. At the other end, Khale Da Costa could not get the better of Andy Lomas.
Hendon’s midfield was more compact than Borough’s and Maclaren and Tingey broke up Harrow’s play with great effectiveness.
The wild card was the skill and passing ability of Matt Ball and his experience proved pivotal for the opening goal.
In the 27th minute, Murphy and Barrington linked well down the left wing and Murphy crossed the ball into Ibe. The Greens’ skipper controlled the ball and rolled it into the path of Ball, whose shot took a deflection and spun just inside the post with Brendan Hazlett unable to reach it.
After the goal, Hendon began to exert to control and Harrow conceded a number of corners, but they came to nothing.
The one time Maclaren was able to get clear of his marker, he directed a powerful header straight at Hazlett, who held onto the ball with Ibe sniffing for a rebound.
It took barely 90 seconds of the second half for Hendon to double their lead as Barrington tussled with a ball for George Nicholas and the Harrow midfielder ended up on the ground.
There were no complaints that a free-kick was not awarded and Barrington proceeded to beat both Peacock and Lewis Ochoa, before his pass to Ball opened up the Harrow defence and he saw Da Costa in space with Lomas for once not close to him.
Ball’s clever pass was perfectly weighted and Da Costa was left with only Hazlett to beat, lifting the ball over the advancing keeper and past the despairing lunge of Brown.
Harrow sent Harry Newman on for Nicholas, a move Hendon countered with James Harper taking over from Maclaren and the midfielder playing his first competitive match for two months did not look like he had been away.
With 11 minutes left, the home side threw Lhereux Menga and Kurtis Cumberbatch on to replace Driver and Webb.
Menga had scored for former club Grays against Hendon at Silver Jubilee Park and been sent off in the return at Mill Field.
But although Harrow did ramp up the pressure, Lee and McLeod-Urquhart were utterly dominant in Hendon’s defence.
Five minutes later, Ball made way for Cole and Stanislaus came on for Barrington and the two substitutes were quick to make an impression.
Almost immediately, Stanislaus attacked down the right, cut inside Ochoa and laid a diagonal pass into the path of Cole, but the 17-year-old saw his shot blocked by Peacock.
Four minutes of stoppage time saw further Harrow pressure, but the Hendon defence remained resiliently stubborn and the final whistle brought enormous cheers from the large band of travelling supporters.
Hendon: Lovelock, Hammond, Lee, Murphy, McLeod-Urquhart, Tingey, C Maclaren (Harper 69), Ball (Cole 84), Ibe, Barrington (Stanislaus 84), K Da Costa. Unused subs: Craig, Rumens.