Hendon schooled by Met Police
PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:44 13 December 2018
Evo-Stik South Premier South: Hendon 1 Metropolitan Police 3
Hendon, for all their unhappiness with things beyond their control, lost to Metropolitan Police because they made too many errors, three of which gifted goals to a team in fine form and brimming with confidence.
There were three changes from the team which slipped to defeat at Basingstoke on Saturday: Luke Tingey returned from suspension, new signing Tenasheh Abrahams made his debut and Shaun Lucien came in to add more width. Taishan Griffith and Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway dropped to the bench while skipper Lee Chappell was unavailable.
Things started badly for the Greens and they only got worse in the first quarter of the match. First of all, with less than a dozen minutes played, away from the ball, Tingey cut a disconsolate figure sitting on the pitch, his muscle injury having returned. He limped off and was replaced by Griffith, leading to a defensive reshuffle.
The most controversial moment of the game came in the 15th minute, when Bayley Mummery burst into the clear. Danny Boness was quickly off his line, forced Mummery to go wider than he wanted and – on the ground – punched the ball towards the corner flag.
In following through on winning the ball, Boness made contact with Mummery, who went down. After the match, Mummery said the decision to award the penalty was probably the wrong one, but he was not complaining.
The complaints came from a shocked Boness and the Hendon bench, resulting in a three-minute delay before former Hendon striker Jack Mazzone stroked home the spot-kick.
However, angry Hendon might have been, the penalty decision was no worse than the one which gave them a spot-kick at Basingstoke three days earlier. Two minutes later, things should have got even worse for the Greens when a right wing cross was met by Oliver Knight, but he sent the ball over the crossbar from a very good position.
Hendon’s first opening came in 23rd minute, but Matty Harriott fired a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area. It summed up the domination the Blues were exerting, though Griffith, Howard Hall, Adam Pepera and Abrahams, did keep the Police’s good chances to a minimum.
However, in the long additional period at the end of the first half, a wayward pass from Pepera went into space. Hall, wary of making a tackle on Max Blackmore, who was ahead of him, in case he was penalised and subsequently dismissed, tried to catch up with the striker but failed and Blackmore flicked the ball past the advancing Boness before rolling it into the net.
Before the start of the second half, Prince Mbengui took over from Bayley Brown, adding defensive steel to a midfield being overrun. It was a good change because it took only four minutes for the Greens to get back into the game.
A pass forward was controlled by Ricardo German, who was midway inside the Police half. He set off towards goal, beating three defenders before curling the ball just inside the far post. It was his 20th goal of the season, the second consecutive season in which Hendon have had a striker reaching 20 goals before Christmas.
Mazzone should have restored the Blues two-goal advantage in the 52nd minute. The Hendon defence was opened up by a quick counter-attack, but, having lost his marker, the unmarked Mazzone blazed the ball over the crossbar.
Hendon’s responses were efforts from Cole Brown, which went wide of the target, and from Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick. This one required a good save from Charlie Burns, and the goalkeeper was again called into duty when Lucien fired a shot towards the bottom corner and made a sprawling stop.
The Greens were definitely back in the match, but another error, in the 74th minute, decided the direction of the three points. A pass back to Boness was well hit, but not too much for the goalkeeper to deal with.
His clearance, however, lacked height, power and, crucially, direction, because the ball went straight to Mummery. He took a touch and rolled the ball into the net.
Gianni Crichlow came on for Lucien for the final dozen minutes of normal time and, within three minutes, he had forced another save from Burns. He also had a couple of runs but these did not lead to much danger.
Unfortunately for Hendon, these were rare moments in dangerous positions and although the Blues created few chances of their own, they were happily in the comfort zone and were able to see out the final minutes without too many alarms.
Hendon: Boness, Hall, Abrahams, Brown (Mbengui 45), Tingey (Griffith 13), Pepera, Hippolyte-Patrick, Brown, German, Harriott, Lucien (Crichlow 77).
Subs: Hunte, Alexander-Greenway.
Met Police: Burns, Webb, Guiness-Walker; Robinson, Arthur, Birch, Knight, Mummery, Mazzone, Blackmore, Gilbert (Robertson 82).
Subs: Hyppolyte, Murdoch, McLaughlin, Fisher.