FA Trophy: Hendon 1 Slough Town 1
PUBLISHED: 13:02 26 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:02 26 November 2017
Hendon live to fight another day in the Buildbase FA Trophy after Kezie Ibe scored an equaliser with almost the last kick of the third round qualifying tie at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was the third consecutive Hendon match to see an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Michael Corcoran replaced Dave Diedhiou in the Hendon midfield and that was the only change to the starting eleven and 16-man squad after Tuesday’s draw with Dulwich Hamlet.
Slough, who have an FA Cup second round tie next Monday, started with the confidence one would expect from a team a win off the top of their division, and it was clear that this was not going to a comfortable tie for the Greens.
In the seventh minute, Casey Maclaren came close to the opening goal when he met a cross, but Jack Turner produced a great save, not dissimilar to the one he made early in the last game of last season when he was at Staines – before he was eventually beaten by Maclaren for the decisive equaliser.
Two minutes later, Hendon lost possession on the halfway line and Josh Jackman raided from right back, Warren Harris made a dummy run to take a defender out of the way, giving Jackson a clear shot at goal, but he dragged the ball wide from 20 yards.
The Rebels were not afraid to shoot from distance and James Dobson was particularly keen to try his luck. In the 20th minute, his 25-yard tracer cannoned off the top of the crossbar with Tom Lovelock well beaten.
Four minutes later it was Zak Joseph’s misfortune to find the goal’s frame and not the net with an attempt as a free-kick beat Turner, but also came off the top of the crossbar.
There were not many clear-cut chances at either end, but it was hardly midfield stalemate as the quality of the two teams meant it was more like a chess-match than a rugged contest.
Slough’s defence was outstanding, giving Niko Muir almost nothing and forcing Joseph and Ashley Nathaniel-George to do their best work some distance from the penalty area.
Both sets of full-backs had few opportunities to get forward, with Jake Eggleton and Sam Murphy for Hendon and Jackman and George Wells for Slough showing their defensive prowess. Matt Lench and Chris Flood had few opportunities to get the better of Rian Bray and Arthur Lee, but there was a definite threat when they did get the ball.
Just before half-time, Dobson found himself with another shooting opportunity. Once again his drive had great power and beat Lovelock, but he was thwarted this time by the outside of the right post.
Early in the second half, with Hendon going down the slope, Joseph saw an effort deflect off the same part of the same upright. The feeling was that the Hendon man really should have forced Turner into making a save.
In the 57th minute, Dobson had his third attempt, but this time Lovelock made an excellent save , at the expense of a corner. The Greens were able to deal with that set piece, but it would take only three more minutes for the Rebels to take the lead.
A deflected clearance downfield spun awkwardly and Bray could not get to the ball. Flood made him pay with a powerful run that took him towards the byline and his low pass into the box was turned into the net without fuss by Dobson. It was no more than the Rebels deserved.
With 20 minutes remaining, Deidhiou and Matt Ball replaced Maclaren and Corcoran in a double substitution, but they still couldn’t get the front three the sort of chances they have fed upon with great success this season.
Slough were comfortable with their lead and confident they could hold onto it, and doing so without changing their style. They did have one moment of difficulty when Dan Uchechi linked with Murphy and the full-back got himself a shooting opportunity, but his powerful strike flew inches over the crossbar.
Seven minutes from time Slough made their first change, Sean Fraser replacing the hard-working Nathan Webb, and almost immediately Hendon made their last substitution, with Nathaniel-George making way for Ibe.
Within a couple of minutes the Hendon goalframe received its third beating of the afternoon, with Matt Lench being the unlucky Slough player. The rebound needed three goes before Hendon cleared the danger.
As the game moved into stoppage time, the Greens forced a corner. Slough struggled to clear the danger and Lee Togwell found only Lee. The centre-back, on his less-favoured foot, would probably have scored had his shot been on target, but the ball flew inches wide.
That seemed to be that for Hendon, but there was a sting in the tale. It came when Muir finally got the better of the Rebels defence and although he was out on the right wing, his ball into the penalty area was cleared at the expense of a corner.
The Rebels had two chances to clear the ball, but they couldn’t do it and when Eggleton crossed back into the danger area, no sky-blue shirt could reach it. However, Ibe with his back to goal realised there was a chance and his back-heel deflected the ball into the net.
“I have never taken this long into a season to get my first goal,” the striker said.
“And as for scoring with a back-heel, I have only done that once before.”
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Murphy, Maclaren (Ball 70), Bray, Lee, Uchechi, Corcoran (Diedhiou 70), Joseph, Muir, Nathaniel-George (Ibe 84). Unused subs: Wise, Cole.
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