Green agenda: Hendon hindered by problems but show fighting spirit
PUBLISHED: 14:05 27 August 2013 | UPDATED: 14:05 27 August 2013
Hendon blogger Steve Rogers takes a look at the issues affecting Gary McCann’s side after a mixed Bank Holiday weekend
Since my last post, Hendon have played three times, and on each occasion played very well. However, just one point has been gained in that time - very frustrating.
First of all last Tuesday the team made the long journey into Suffolk to play Leiston. I wasn’t able to get there, but by all accounts we put in a good shift, and on another night would have scored plenty, but we had to make do with a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a 60th-minute free-kick.
Then on Saturday we made our way through the Bank Holiday monsoon to Enfield Town and their new home at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, just across the park from their old ground at Southbury Road.
This was a game we really should have won but individual errors cost us badly. A defensive slip allowed Adam Wallace to give the home side the lead within three minutes, but we did equalise courtesy of a Dave Diedhiou header on the half hour. More on him shortly.
We couldn’t convert any of our other first half chances - Enfield’s management admitted that they were chasing shadows, and I don’t think anyone could have complained if we’d been two or three goals to the good.
The second half started similarly to the first, Hendon giving away a free-kick which Liam Hope converted, within three minutes of the start of the half!
Diedhiou then equalised. Not only that, it was with his head - again. Not only that, including pre-season it was his eighth goal. All scored with his head. Even more on him later…
We should have gone on and won - but as the game entered stoppage-time, our left-back gave away a penalty - which Hope converted, and promptly saw the red card as he received his second caution for over-celebrating. Silly boy!
So that was that on a very wet afternoon.
And so we returned to Earlsmead on Monday to play local rivals Wingate & Finchley. The performance wasn’t as good as Saturday, but still decent - and much improved defensively.
Charlie Horlock was outstanding in goal, particularly in one-on-one situations. The best chance for us in the first half fell to Dave Diedhiou (told you there’d be more on him) but it was on his feet, not his head, and he fired wide when it appeared easier to score.
There were no goals until the 86th minute when Leon Smith took advantage of our problems in the left back region to score.
But one thing that has been the case during Gary McCann’s time as manager - we do not give up. And we didn’t. With the game deep into stoppage-time Lee Angol rose to head home a superb cross from Michael Murray - it was certainly a deserved equaliser.
So where are we going wrong? It is a question probably being asked by many Hendon fans at the moment. As I said last week, we have a talented squad, with a great mix of youth and experience. Personally, I don’t think we are too far away from getting it right but there are two main issues for me.
The first problem is the number of individual errors that are costing us goals and consequently points. If we can eradicate them, that’ll take us a long way to winning games again.
Secondly, and this is no fault of anyone, we haven’t yet been able to field a specialist left-back. It can’t be helped that our two first choice left-backs are both injured. Those who have filled in have done an excellent job and it’s not a reflection on their effort and work-rate, but they have unfortunately been found out a few times.
A number of goals seem to have come down that channel. Hopefully our two injured players, Scott Cousins and George McCluskey will be available soon, and that really will add some security to the back line.
The other news this week was the departure of Michael Duberry. Unfortunately things hadn’t worked out as we had hoped, and the decision was taken for there to be a parting of the ways. From talking to a number of supporters, no-one has been particularly surprised.
Next up we have a home game against Lewes on Saturday afternoon. They’ve had a very good start to the season, so this will be another tough test for us - but I know that on our day, we can beat anyone in this league. Hopefully our luck will change and we’ll pick up three points on Saturday.
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