Hendon 3 Kings Langley 1: Greens ease through in FA Trophy
PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 October 2017
FA Trophy first qualifying round: Hendon 3 (Muir 18, Ball 28, Diedhiou 36) Kings Langley 1 (Adebiyi 32)
Hendon were comfortable winners of the first-ever meeting with Kings Langley in the first round qualifying of the FA Trophy at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday afternoon. The game was won in the first half as Hendon were able to take their collective feet off the gas in the second half.
There was nasty surprise for manager Gary McCann during the pre-game warm-ups when Oliver Sprague stepped on a bottle and damaged his ankle, resulting in a late call-up to the starting eleven for Ashley Nathaniel-George. There was a defensive reshuffle into the bargain as Jake Eggleton and Sam Murphy became the full-backs and Nathaniel-George slotted into midfield, though none of moves inconvenienced the players concerned.
The team near the foot of the Evo-Stick Southern League Premier Division have struggled to get results this season, but they started brightly and there was not a huge difference between them and high-flying Hendon.
In fact, the first clear chance of the game fell to Kings Langley, in the ninth minute. A corner came in and Calum Adebiyi powered a header just wide of the far post. If this was a lesson, Hendon didn’t learn it – as would be seen 23 minutes later.
By then, however, the Greens attacking machine had delivered two powerful blows and were in control of the game. Zak Joseph had brought Martin Bennett to his knees making a save after 13 minutes before, four minutes later, Hendon were in front.
Joseph was proving very hard to stop and he worked with Jake Eggleton to create an opening down the right side. The low cross from Joseph was delivered to Niko MUIR, who made no mistake finding the bottom corner from about six yards out.
Dan Uchechi soon created danger with a mazy run, but his low cross was turned over the bar by Muir, whose look of shock was either because he had missed such a simple opportunity, or he had seen the ball late and his shot was an instinctive reaction.
Another chance went begging in the 27th minute when Nathaniel-George intercepted a loose pass from Gary Connolly in the centre circle. He had a clear run at goal and seemed to have Bennett dithering about coming before he shot wastefully wide of the target.
It did not matter because, a minute later, the lead was doubled. Muir worked his way into the box, rode two challenges, both of which might have resulted in penalty kicks, before rolling the ball across the six yard line.
A boot diverted the ball to the edge of the penalty area where Matt Ball was waiting. Needing no second invitation, BALL saw where the defenders were gathering on the goal-line and side-footed the ball into an unmanned corner.
The response from Kings Langley was to make a substitution, removing Gareth Price and replacing him with Sam Tring. In addition, former Hendon midfielder Paul Hobbs – the Kings Langley boss – made a positional change ditching the 3–5–2 formation in favour of 4–5–1.
It may have left Mitch King isolated up front, but defensively they were able to stem some of the Hendon attacking options.
In the 32nd minute, Kings Langley got themselves a lifeline. Hendon failed to deal with an attack and when the ball was crossed back into the danger area, ADEBIYI powered a header into the bottom corner.
Hendon’s response was almost immediate. In the 36th minute, more danger came from the right side and this time, from a set piece when the ball came into the danger area Dave Diedhiou launched himself at the ball and diverted it, via the foot of the far post, into the net.
The deflation of the Kings Langely team was almost visible as their confidence evaporated. It was almost as if Hendon had said, if you dare to score against us, we’ll simply go to the other end and score too.
Just before the break, Steve Ward forced a save out of Tom Lovelock. The placement was good, just inside the goalkeeper’s left post, but it didn’t have the power to cause him too many problems.
There were no changes to the teams at half-time – Hendon had not replaced Nathaniel-George on the bench when he stepped up to start following Sprague’s injury – but the second period was in stark contrast to first half. It had been open and, if not end-to-end because the Greens had dominated, there were still chances a-plenty.
After the break, Hendon were satisfied to soak up much more possession from Kings Langley. It could not really be called pressure because goalkeeper Tom Lovelock and the central defenders in front of him, Rian Bray and Arthur Lee, were hardly tested and definitely not overworked.
In fact for all their possession, the two best chances of the second half both went Hendon’s way. In the 57th minute, Nathaniel George forced an excellent save out of Bennett.
Midway through the half Kings Langley replaced Ward with Ceynan Karagozlu, but it did little to change the pattern of the game. Eggleton suffered a wrist injury when he was knocked into the barriers as he shepherded a ball out of play, but was able to continue.
Hendon made their first change with 13 minutes of normal time remaining, Rian McLean taking over from Nathaniel-George.
There was a compelling contest between Uchechi and Emmanuel Folarin. The physicality of the defender may well have put off a number of players, but not Uchechi, who may not have won the war, but he kept coming back for more.
With nine minutes to go, Ball fired a 20-yard shot which beat Bennett, but it went just the wrong side of the post. A minute later, Muir was replaced by Kezie Ibe, which was the last of the game’s four substitutions.
Ibe’s ability to hold up the ball and work it into corners frustrated Kings Langley, but they were largely helpless in stopping Hendon in what had been a largely comfortable stroll through the second half.