Bostik Premier: Hendon 1 Lowestoft 1
PUBLISHED: 21:14 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:55 25 February 2018
Hendon were denied by a superb rearguard action from Lowestoft Town as the Trawlerboys earned a draw at a draughty Silver Jubilee Park.
The Greens remain fifth in the Bostik League Premier Division and, next Saturday, they get the chance to avenge their 4–1 defeat against Leatherhead at Silver Jubilee Park last month, before making the return trip to Lowestoft in the following midweek.
From the team which beat Barnet in the Middlesex Senior Cup three days earlier, Arthur Lee, Dave Diedhiou, Casey Maclaren and Zak Joseph came into the starting line-up, with Harold Joseph and Harly Wise dropping to the bench and Ashley Nathaniel-George and Dan Uchechi missing out through injury.
In all, injuries claimed Michael Corcoran, Jake Eggleton, Josh Walker, Keagan Cole, Uchechi and Nathaniel-George, the last five being hurt in the previous two weeks.
Lowestoft started well and asked a couple of questions of Lee and Rian Bray, but the central defensive pairing denied Jake Reed and Rob Eagle much space. However, when the Greens won a corner, a quick counter-attack gave the Trawlerboys the lead.
Oliver Sprague’s corner was headed clear to Luke Tingey, who appeared to had plenty of time to knock the ball forward from the centre circle. However, the ball bounced away from him and Eagle swooped on the ball quickly to release Jake Reed, who had only one defender between him and goal.
One touch took Reed clear and he finished confidently past Tom Lovelock.
Niko Muir tried to fashion an immediate response but Sam Murphy was just off target with his shot. The Hendon players and fans behind the goal were certain that the ball had been deflected wide by a defender, but the referee and his assistant were certain it was a goal-kick.
In the 13th minute, Sprague seemed to let a ball roll away from, but he had suffered an injury which – it soon became clear – would end his afternoon.
Harold Joseph was the man to come on and the Greens reshuffled their defensive alignment, without too much inconvenience.
Hendon began to take control of the game as the first half progressed and, after 32 minutes, a pass from Muir released Zak Joseph but 50-yard run ended with a shot just wide of the target.
A minute later, Eagle had wasted a good opportunity for Lowestoft, shooting straight at Lovelock, but most of the action was at the bottom of the slope and a driven cross-come-shot from Muir almost crept in the far post, though the late arriving Diedhiou also almost got a touch with a desperate slide.
n the 41st minute, Tim Dudzinski produced a superb save to keep out an effort from Diedhiou and although the rebound fell to a green shirt, the follow-up was ballooned over the crossbar.
As half came to an end, Zak Joseph was fouled on the edge of the Lowestoft penalty area and the free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall. The rebound fell to Lee, whose shot beat Dudzinski, but Harry Barker was well-placed just in front of the goal-line to make a clearance.
Lowestoft certainly struggled to cope with the runs of Zac Joseph and Muir, the latter routinely drawing three defenders to him when he received passes with his back to goal.
Both Rory McAuley and Travis Cole were cautioned for fouls, the former committing another foul which resulted in the centre-half receiving what seemed to be a final warning from the referee.
The leveller finally came after 63 minutes, when Zak Joseph rode a couple of challenges, made space for a shot and fired the ball into the bottom corner, giving Dudzinski no chance.
Dudzinski remained the Lowestoft hero, however, as he made a number of outstanding saves including after 67 minutes, when he produced another excellent stop to deny Diedhiou.
Six minutes later, he plunged low to push aside a Maclaren shot which was probably the best of his four top-class saves.
With 11 minutes to go, Lowestoft had their first chance of the half as Reed lost his marker and had a free header from a cross by Shaun Bammant, but he directed the ball straight at the well-placed Lovelock.
A minute later, Eagle, looking suspiciously offside, should have restored the Trawlerboys’ advantage as he found himself with only Lovelock to beat as he bore down on goal down the inside-right channel.
He took an early shot, which was half-blocked by Lovelock and the clearance was completed by Harold Joseph.
Cruise Nyadzayo replaced Reed for the final five minutes and made a couple of dangerous runs, but James Hammond, Bray, Lee and Harold Joseph didn’t give him a clear sight of goal.
The Greens sent on young William Murphy for his namesake Sam with a couple of minutes of normal time remaining, but he didn’t have the impact he had enjoyed when playing against Barnet three days earlier.
Nonetheless, Hendon continued to shoot at goal, but there was always a willing blue shirt to throw himself in front of the ball. And, if no blue shirt could do the job, Dudzinski proved he was more than capable.
Hendon: Lovelock, Hammond, Sprague (H Joseph 15), Tingey, Bray, Lee, S Murphy (W Murphy 89), Diedhiou, Z Joseph, Muir, Maclaren. Unused subs: Currie, Wise, McGovern.