Southern League: Blackfield & Langley 2 Hendon 2
PUBLISHED: 07:26 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 07:26 04 December 2019
Hendon left it late as they earned a well-deserved point against Blackfield & Langley.
Both teams went into this fixture in need of a win as they sit near the bottom of the table with Blackfield only four points and two places above the 20th-placed Greens.
The Dons were much changed with no less than seven players making their debut, and Tom Hamblin was the only starter who had been with the club at the start of the season.
Making their debuts were Rihards, Matrevics, Joe Howe, Lucas Perry, Tommy Brewer, Tom Smith, Liam Brooks and Solomon Sambou.
The game began with fast dictating play from the Hendon team as they looked to take control early on, with full-backs Howe and Perry bombing forward to assist the attackers.
This early pressure paid off as Hendon took a deserved lead thanks to a ball into Isaac Galliford who got a touch onto the cross which hit the back of the net.
After that goal Blackfield began to grow within the game and get forward more as Devane Bongou, their best player of the half, drove forward and had a shot from the edge of the box, which couldn't trouble Matrevics.
As the game progressed, both teams were evenly matched all over the pitch and neither looked like backing off.
That said, it was Hendon who looked the more threatening and Shaun Lucien hit a shot from distance which was tipped over.
Liam Brooks then got on the end of a goalmouth scramble which brought out a point-blank save from Bradley Snelling to keep Blackfield in the game.
His saves increased in significance when a Tom Hamblin error allowed Hisham Kasimu to run through on goal, go past the keeper and tap into an empty net to level.
From possibly being two or three goals up Hendon found themselves on terms and with seven minutes left of the first half, their day got worse as Hamblin received his marching orders after tactically bringing down Kasimu, who was again through on goal.
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Hendon now had a big mountain to climb and Blackfield went on the front foot as they looked to take advantage of their extra man, but they could not create anything threatening.
That was until the near end of the half as Sambou came into contact with a Blackfield player in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. Fatah Makhloufi converted the spot-kick and the hosts went into the break 2-1 up.
Despite a great first half performance from Hendon, they had slipped up and allowed Blackfield & Langley to take the lead but Lee Allinson's team started the second half as they had the first with a high intensity and passing play.
It was hard to tell that Hendon were down to 10 men as they continued to match the hosts all over the pitch and as the game went on, Blackfield were pinned back into their own half, defending deeply as the visitors searched for an equaliser.
Hendon made their three changes midway through the half, with Lucien, Keiron Forbes and Galliford being replaced by Kingsley Eshun, Joseph Felix and Kam English.
Snelling was Blackfield's hero as the Hendon attackers could not find a way to beat the keeper with a succession of attacks but for all their domination the Dons could not create a clear-cut chance.
Blackfield were happy to sit deep and hit Hendon on the counter and in the 68th minute Kasimu dashed into the box and hit a low shot but it was an easy save for the keeper.
The hosts gained confidence from this opportunity and pushed higher up the pitch. As a result Hendon were forced to back off.
However, with eight minutes left Hendon finally grabbed their equaliser as Eshun ran towards the penalty area, pressing the ball as he darted towards Snelling, who was coming off his line.
The pair collided, the ball rolled loose and Brooks tapped it into the empty net. Blackfield were furious, appealing for a foul on Snelling, but the referee waved aside their protests and the goal stood.
Near the end, Blackfield had a great chance to win the game when a cross into the box was not dealt well by the Hendon defence. It seemed to leave a Blackfield forward with a free header into an empty net but there was too much pace on the ball for him to make a clear connection and the chance went begging.
When the final whistle blew it was probably the 10 men of Hendon who walked off the more happy with the point as not only had they dominated large parts of the game, they had played for more than 50 minutes a man short.
Hendon: Matrevics, Howe, Perry, Brewer, T Smith, Hamblin, Lucien (Eshun 70), Forbes (Felix 70), Brooks, Sambou, Galliford (English 63). Unused subs: Tingey, Mitchell.