Bostik Premier: Hendon 2 Burgess Hill 2
PUBLISHED: 07:50 20 November 2017
Hendon were grateful to Zak Joseph for a beautifully curled free-kick deep in stoppage time for rescuing a point from a game they seemed to have controlled for almost all of the second half.
Burgess Hill Town had contributed little to a game that rarely hit the heights and had not put an effort on target for the first 85 minutes, therefore a draw was a fair outcome.
Channing Campbell-Young and Matt Ball kept their places in the starting line-up from the team which beat Grays in midweek, but there were returns for Arthur Lee, Sam Murphy, Michael Corcoran and Niko Muir.
Harly Wise, Casey Maclaren, Keagan Cole and Kezie Ibe all were named on the bench, with Ashley Nathaniel-George.
Burgess Hill were determined that they weren’t going to suffer a similar defeat as they had in the FA Trophy a week earlier and made four changes, bringing goalkeeper Max Huxter, midfielder Charlie Bennett, wideman Lucas Rodrigues and central striker Tony Garrod, but they did a much better job of stifling Hendon’s attacking prowess.
Garrod had the first shot of the game, but hit the side netting from an acute angle, while a similar strike from Joseph had a similar outcome and Campbell-Young also went close with a 20-yard drive after 25 minutes.
Both teams had penalty appeals for pushes waved aside and both were valid claims, but it took until the 30th minute for there to be a shot on target.
Huxter dived low to save a shot from Joseph, but he had to be quick to gather the ball as it bounced away from him. A minute later, the goalkeeper made a much better save to push aside a drive from Ball.
Murphy nearly put Hendon in trouble in the 33rd minute with a wayward pass, but Lee made a full-stretch intervention to stop Lee Harding running onto the loose ball.
Two minutes before the interval, a deep cross from the Hillians right wing was headed over the bar by Rodrigues, who could not get high enough to control his attempt on goal.
Then in first-half stoppage time Hendon took the lead as Joseph went on a mazy run and passed to Ball, who fed the ball out to Campbell-Young on the right to drill a low cross into the box.
Niko Muir’s backheeled effort was kept out by Huxter, who did even better to keep out the first rebound, but was left helpless as Dave Diedhiou finished from a couple of yards.
Hendon were much better in the second half, cutting out many of the mistakes that had made the opening period so poor, with Ball and Bray just too high and wide with a header and a shot.
Joseph fired a shot over the angle of post and crossbar with Huxter scrambling to make a save as the pressure from Hendon increased, but there were no clear-cut openings and, midway through the half, Dan Uchechi made way for Ashley Nathaniel-George and Maclaren came on for Ball in double substitution.
The best chances of the half came in the final 15 minutes as first Diedhiou rose high for a header, but from a great position put the ball over the crossbar.
Just after this chance went begging the Hillians, who had not come close to getting the better of the Hendon back-line, made the first of their three changes, with Aaron Smith-Joseph coming on for Rodrigues. In the 83rd minute, Brannon O’Neill made way for Tiernen McKenzie.
The last change saw Garrod go off and Pat Harding took over from him and the three substitutes all played major roles in how the game would finish.
Two minutes later, Lovelock made a good save low to his right, keeping out a drive from Ibrahim Diallo.
The corner was cleared and Hendon could again have made the game safe when Nathaniel-George and Muir found themselves in a two-on-one situation, but they failed to play it properly.
In the last minute of normal time, Hendon were made to pay for their profligacy as possession was lost midway inside the Hillians half, and they immediately launched a counter-attack down their left flank with Smith-Joseph galloping clear.
e played a low pass into the penalty area which eluded two defenders and the ball ended up at the feet of Lee Harding who had no trouble in beating Lovelock from 10 yards to level.
Things got worse for the Greens in the third minute of stoppage time as McKenzie attacked down the left and the ball was played to the edge of the penalty area, then forward to Pat Harding, who looked suspiciously offside as the ball reached him, but made no mistake to put his side ahead.
Having looked in little or no trouble for most of the first 93 minutes, Hendon were suddenly chasing the game and they certainly had enough attacking weapons on the pitch to redeem the situation.
They immediately launched a raid and got to within a couple of yards of the penalty area, as uxter screamed to his defenders not to commit a foul after a free-kick 25 yards out a couple of minutes earlier had struck the defensive wall.
But skipper Javier Faveral, already cautioned, didn’t listen and gave Hendon another free-kick in a dangerous position.
The wall was carefully arranged, but was at least one man short because Jospeh bent the ball around the line of defenders and just inside the near post, with Huxter no more than a spectator as Hendon snatched point which was the very least they deserved.
Hendon: Lovelock, Campbell-Young, Murphy, Diedhiou, Bray, Lee, Ball (Maclaren 69), Corcoran, Joseph, Muir, Uchechi (Nathaniel-George 69). Unused subs: Wise, Ibe, Cole.