Southern League: Swindon Supermarine 0 Hendon 1
PUBLISHED: 07:45 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:45 03 September 2018
Hendon's third trip west was the first the bring maximum points, but it took some fantastic defending and woeful finishing to ensure Supermarine failed to gain reward for persistent pressure, especially in the second half.
Matty Newman and Gianni Crichlow made their first starts, while Prince Mbengui made his second as Marvin Morgan and the injured Cole Brown were not in the squad, but Laste Dombaxe was a substitute alongside, Tyriq Hunte, Mark Boyce, Taishan Griffith and Junior Osbourne.
An indication of Marine’s wayward finishing came in the second minute when a shot from just outside penalty area was many yards wide and a couple high, too, landing with a resounding thump against cladding surrounding the indoor training centre behind the goal.
The Greens gave their hosts a lesson in clinical finishing in the sixth minute as a ball downfield picked out Ricardo German, who controlled the ball and took off downfield and towards the right touchline.
Howard Hall was quick to overlap and German’s pass was perfectly weighted for him to reach the ball and cross it into the danger area. Critchlow had anticipated the possible chance and sprinted towards the near post.
When it arrived Critchlow flicked the ball towards the back post, taking Josh Hill – at the near post – out of the equation. The ball struck the inside of the far post, rolled across the goalline and, as Hill dived towards it, over the line.
A minute later, Joe Shepherd tried to lob Danny Boness with a header that dropped on top of the net. It would be the first of three good chances that Shepherd would spurn.
Just past the quarter-hour mark, Critchlow almost got a second goal. Finding himself with the ball just ouside the penalty area, he worked himself a shooting angle, but his effort slipped just the wrong side of the far post with Hill some distance from covering the shot.
The next 30 minutes were pretty much equal, with neither team being particularly threatening. However, for the final 10 minutes of the first half and almost all of the second, it was pretty much one-way traffic towards the Hendon goal.
Fortunately for Hendon all the chances fell to Marine attackers who were not Stuart Fleetwood. Now at the veteran stage, the former Wales Under-21 international who spent many years scoring goals in the Football League, was superbly marshalled by Romario Jonas and Guri Demuria and was never given an opportunity.
Supermarine’s best chance of the first half fell to Ryan Campbell, their left-sided attacking midfielder. Set up by good approach play by Shepherd and Conor McDonagh, Campbell was on his weaker right foot and the shot lived down to the pedal imbalance.
In the second half, Hendon’s ball retention was not as good as it had been and Stephane Ngamvoulou, Critchlow, Newman and Mbengui were forced to play deeper, leaving German hopelessly isolated. Given the invitation to take the ball forward in good positions, Marine gratefully accepted.
Campbell and Brad Hooper did the approach play down the right but Hall and skipper Lee Chappell limited their success. Supermarine, however, could not get their efforts on target and, in the second half alone, they were awry on a dozen occasions, to say nothing of crosses failing to find attackers.
Boness was called into action in the 62nd minute, diving low to push a shot from McDonagh wide of the post. Apart from a couple of punches and some excellent catches from other crosses, it was the goalkeeper’s only save.
From the resulting corner, Shepherd was guilty of possibly Swindon’s worst miss. Trying help a possibly goalbound header, he lifted the ball over the bar from no more than a couple of yards out.
Campbell had another good opening, but again his right-foot shot didn’t trouble Boness and barely stayed inside the penalty area. When Hendon did attack, Critchlow’s runs caused wide defenders to panic and both Michael Hopkins and Jack Alexander was cautioned for holding him back.
A minute after his caution, Hopkins almost atoned with a fine overlap down the left side and his low cross begged a touch from one of three advancing forwards, but, sliding in, none could reach it.
Hendon’s three substitutions were pretty much like for like, Newman making way for Griffith, Dombaxe taking over from Critchlow and Hunte replacing German.
Supermarine, although adding another striker when Josh Parsons replaced midfielder Dave Bampton – who had discarded thigh strapping after about 10 minutes – after 59 minutes, then replaced Fleetwood – the man most likely to take a chance if it came to him – with five minutes of stoppage time to be played.
Having watched their team concede late goals to lose leads in their two previous away games, Hendon fans were on edge as the attacks mounted. The Greens were helped by Marine’s staunch refusal to change their style and when they had a late corner, Hill looked to add his considerable height, but was told to stay back.
In the first of four minutes of stoppage time, frustration boiled over, but the referee calmed everyone down without showing any cards. That took the sting out the final few minutes as Hendon hung on.
Hendon: Boness, Hall, Chappell, Tingey, Jonas, Demuria, Ngamvoulou, Mbengui, German (Hunte, 77), Newman (Griffith, 58), Crichlow (Dombaxe, 73). Unused subs: Boyce, Osbourne.