Southern League: Hendon 1 Wimborne Town 1
PUBLISHED: 19:12 18 August 2019 | UPDATED: 19:12 18 August 2019
Hendon recorded their third draw of the season, conceding the lead yet again, but this time the late drama came at both ends as the teams sought a last-gasp winner.
For the third straight game, Hendon were able to name exactly the same starting line-up and five substitutes too. It has been many years since the Greens were able to be so settled at the start of a season.
And in the first 10 minutes, Hendon could and probably should have been out of sight.
After 30 seconds, Magpies goalkeeper Callum Plain misplayed a pass which was intercepted by Kam English. The striker was at full stretch, and stumbled slightly on the edge of the penalty area, giving Peace just enough time to recover and pull off a good sliding tackle, aware that if he went with his hands, he might well have slid outside the box.
Play continued and when the ball came into the penalty area, Connor Calcutt's header was caught by Plain who had got back into position.
Two minutes later, the goalkeeper could not reach a Calcutt header, but a defender on the line was perfectly placed to make a headed clearance.
Next up was Ryan Hope, who burst forward from midfield and he fired off a shot which required a good save from Plain. The goalkeeper and his defence looked rattled because they were very tentative in playing the ball from the back and twice nearly committed clangers.
In the ninth minute, Charlie Smith attacked down the left wing and delivered a cross which took a deflection. Plain could do no more than watch as the ball floated over him and bounced off the top of the crossbar.
When the ball came in, almost in front of the referee, Calcutt was dragged to the ground by a defender, but there was no decision from the man in black. There were few complaints from Hendon, but it looked like they were unlucky not to get a penalty.
A minute later, another half-chance went begging as English caused big problems for the Magpies' rearguard. In the 18th minute, a free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall and the rebound was deflected away from a corner. Tom Hamblin went close with a header from the set-piece.
Sam Corcoran tried to open his Hendon account with a burst from midfield, followed by a shot that flew inches wide. Hendon desperately needed a goal to turn their domination into something tangible - and it came in the 32nd minute.
A free-kick was only half-cleared to Smith, who quickly sent the ball out to the right wing, where Calcutt got the better of the defender. From the edge of the penalty area, close to the goalline, he crossed low into the danger area and two players - one from each team - went for and missed the ball which fell to the feet on the onrushing Harriott who wasted no time smacking a shot between Plain and a defender on the line.
Eight minutes before half-time, Wimborne had their first shot at goal, but the only danger from Keiran Roberts' strike was to the cars in the car park.
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Another shot, just before half-time had the same result. It should also be said that Hope, Harriott and Corcoran put efforts into the park at the other end of the ground.
For the first 90 seconds of the second half, Hendon looked as if they were continuing where they had left off. But, moments later, they had their first real scare.
A ball was played into the danger area and when it came to Tony Lee, he should have given Chris Grace a serious examination, but lifted the ball harmlessly over the crossbar.
The game turned with that chance and, for the next 35 minutes, it was all Magpies. They made a double change after 53 minutes, sending on the veteran James Stokoe, for Lee, and Stefan Penny for Joe Byrne.
Within two minutes, Franklyn Clarke had played the ball to Stokoe, who fed Luke Holmes. A combination of Hamblin and Luke Tingey did enough to stop the striker, who then fired wide - as did Roberts.
Hendon had done a good job of controlling Luke Burbridge, who had been a major danger when the teams met at the Cuthbury in January, but the danger came from the other side, where Payne linked well with Stokoe and Holmes. The Greens then made a change, introducing Luca Valentine at the expense of Charlie Smith.
He took up a more attacking place out on the opposite wing, with Lee Chappell dropping deeper and the result was Hendon's midfield was quickly in danger of being over-run. The equaliser arrived midway through the second half and, on the basis of the third quarter, it was wholly deserved.
A right wing corner was not completely cleared and when a shot came in, Howard Hall slid in attempting to block it. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, Hall being guilty of handball.
If the modern interpretation of handball was followed for the penalty award, the issuing of a caution for the offence seemed to be completely unjust, as it was neither intentional nor stopping an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Roberts struck the ball to Grace's left and it had just enough to beat the goalkeeper's dive.
Hendon, as Wimborne had been in the first half, were in danger of being swept away. Burbridge finally had a shot, but it flew inches wide, Billy Maybury, who had scored from a similar position in a preseason friendly, saw his free-kick blocked by the defensive wall.
Clarke, set up by Holmes, then shot straight into the well-positioned Grace's midriff. With seven minutes to go, Grace did well to keep out an effort from Stokoe.
Finally, Hendon started get a foothold into the game. Calcutt shot over the bar from a good position, Plain then made a fingertip save to push a dink from Hamblin over the crossbar, though how the centre-back had been able to put his effort on target seemed to defy physics.
In the four minutes of stoppage time, Wimborne had a great chance to win the game on the counter-attack, but they got their passing wrong. Hendon then caused chaos in the Magpies box and when the ball came out to Harriott, his rasping drive flew inches over the bar.
Hendon: Grace, Hall, Smith (Valentine 63), Corcoran, Hamblin, Tingey, Hope, Harriott, Calcutt, English, Chappell. Unused subs: Abdollahi, Anderson, McGleish, Huxter.