Bostik Premier: Hendon 1 Kingstonian 3
PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 November 2017
Hendon saw their perfect home Bostik League Premier Division run come to an end as Kingstonian enjoyed a thoroughly deserved victory at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday.
There can be no complaints about the result because the Greens had a collective off-day against a new-look Ks, though, with a little bit of luck, they might still have got something out of the game.
It was the same starting line-up as Hendon put out against Kings Langley, with Keagan Cole and Channing Campbell-Young were named on the bench, while Josh Walker missed out.
From the very start, Hendon’s passing was not at the level they have shown in recent months. And when the ball was lost, Kingstonian were quick to counter-attack, with Tom Derry and Reece Grant willing runners.
There was a third-minute chance for Kingstonian, a long-range shot from Alec Fiddes – on the back of a misplaced pass in midfield – but Tom Lovelock was not unduly troubled in making a save.
However, two minutes later, there was no escape.
An errant pass from Dave Diedhiou towards Sam Murphy was intercepted by Manolis Gargorian and, after running 10 yards, he sent a slide-rule pass into the path of Derry, who quickly beat Arthur Lee. With only Lovelock to beat, Derry unselfishly rolled the ball across the penalty area, giving Grant the simplest of tap-ins.
In the seventh minute, Claudio Vilcu powered a header from a corner over the crossbar. Six minutes later, Fiddes made a break from midfield and, after running 40 yards, he fired a shot which Lovelock saved.
Gogarias then emulated Fiddes with a run and shot, but his effort flashed inches wide of the post. All three efforts came on the back of mistakes by careless use of possession by Hendon.
Hendon did have a couple of half-chances during this period, giving hope that the situation was not irredeemable.
First a deep free-kick found Diedhiou, whose header was saved by Rob Tolfrey at his near-post.
In the 18th minute, Zak Joseph made a neat run and his pass set up Ashley Nathaniel-George, whose strike was well saved by Tolfrey.
Ten minutes later, another Joseph run set up the Greens’ equaliser as he wriggled his way past two defenders and laid the ball at the feet of Niko Muir.
The striker needed to get past Vilcu, which he did and, from an angle, Muir drove the ball past Tolfrey, off the far post and into the net.
Vilcu was having an outstanding match leading the Ks, not only in his defensive domination, but also in the way he marshalled his defenders.
Chances came at both ends in the final few minutes of the opening half. First Uchechi was stopped by an outstanding challenge by Joseph Oseyemu, then, at the other end, Ambrose Enghore fired narrowly wide of Lovelock’s goal.
The second half started like the first with Hendon careless in possession and Kingstonian striking at pace. In the 48th minute, Derry was inches off target with a 30-yard drive but, five minutes later, the Greens were again undone.
From another lost ball, the Ks moved forward in numbers and the Hendon defence could not cope. The first shot was blocked or saved as Lovelock and a defender moved towards the strike, but the rebound landed at Taylor Miles’ feet and he finished calmly.
Tom Collins and Daniel Ajakaiye replaced Grant and Fiddes for Ks, the latter change coming moments after the midfielder had got behind the back of the Hendon defence and drilled a low cross which flashed in front of Derry and Collins before they could reach it.
In between the two changes, Hendon had two great opportunities, but Tolfrey was equal to Joseph on 64 minutes and then pushed aside a shot five minutes later, before Joseph’s strike bounced off the far post and was cleared by Paul Rogers.
Hendon made a double swap with Kezie Ibe replacing Nathaniel-George and Cole taking over from Matt Ball, who had never been given a moment to find the passes of which he is capable.
But with 12 minutes to go, the game was made safe when Gogarias again intercepted a pass in midfield and his through ball split Rian Bray and Lee, releasing Derry who fired past the exposed Lovelock as he tried to narrow the angle.
There was still time for Tolfrey to keep the lead at two goals when he did brilliantly to smother an attempt by Ibe, who really should have done better when clear on goal following a rare defensive lapse. The rebound fell to Joseph and Tolfrey was able make a second save.
Campbell-Young took over from Diedhiou with seven minutes of normal time remaining and Jahmal Howlett-Mundle replaced Miles at the same time. Neither player was able to make an impact at either end of the pitch, and even five minutes of additional time was no real inconvenience to the Ks.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Murphy, Diedhiou (Campbell-Young 83), Bray, Lee, Uchechi, Ball (Cole 72), Joseph, Muir, Nathaniel-George (Ibe 72). Unused subs: Wise, McLean.