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Hendon still fighting after impressive win over Needham Market

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 March 2017

Matt Ball's corner swings directly into the net to put Hendon 1-0 up against Needham Market. Picture: DBEECHPHOTOGRAPHY

Matt Ball's corner swings directly into the net to put Hendon 1-0 up against Needham Market. Picture: DBEECHPHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

Hendon kept themselves firmly in the fight to avoid relegation with an impressive 2-1 win at home to play-off chasing Needham Market.

Hendon's Kezie Ibe in action against Needham Market. Picture: DBEECHPHOTOGRAPHYHendon's Kezie Ibe in action against Needham Market. Picture: DBEECHPHOTOGRAPHY

Goals from Matt Ball and Keagan Cole helped the Greens move up one place in the Ryman League Premier Division to 22nd, just two points away from safety with seven games to go.

It banished the memories of last week’s collapse against Leatherhead and saw them to a third straight victory at Silver Jubilee Park.

Hendon took an early lead with a freak goal. Ball took a corner from the left and, thanks to a strong wind behind the hosts, it curled into the far corner.

The Greens continued to set the pace and caused the Needham Market defence more than a few problems.

Tom Lovelock saves Billy Clark's penalty for Hendon against Needham Market. Picture: DBEECHPHOTOGRAPHYTom Lovelock saves Billy Clark's penalty for Hendon against Needham Market. Picture: DBEECHPHOTOGRAPHY

Kezie Ibe was excellent, holding the ball up and using wide men Marcel Barrington and Khale Da Costa very well.

However, when the ball came into the penalty area, Danny Gay in the Needham goal was equal to everything that came his way.

Hendon extended their lead seven minutes before half-time with a neat goal.

A set-piece was not cleared by the Needham Market defence and Cole returned it with interest after taking a touch.

He rather blotted his copybook by picking up a caution for simulation as he went down dramatically in the penalty area and Needham had a great chance to halve the gap when they did get awarded a spot kick for a foul by James Hammond.

Billy Clark took responsibility but it was a poor effort, hit too close to Tom Lovelock who saved with his legs.

With the slope in their favour in the second half, Hendon continued to set the pace, but they could not add to their advantage. They created chances, but failed to take them.

As the half progressed the home fans thought back to the previous week’s debacle, when a two-goal half-time lead was turned into a defeat, and there was an air of nervousness.

And that air wasn’t helped with 11 minutes remaining when Hendon failed to deal with a corner and Luke Ingram was given a free header from which he made no mistake.

That was as good as it got for the Marketmen though and the better chances in the closing stages came at the other end, Gay making an excellent save to deny Da Costa one-on-one and Sam Murphy crashed a drive off the frame of the goal.

Next up is a trip to AFC Sudbury on Saturday.

Hendon: Lovelock, Hammond, Lee, Murphy, McLeod-Urquhart, Harper (Diedhiou 70), Cole, Ball, Ibe (Stainslaus 88), Barrington (Rumens 70), Da Costa.

Subs (not used): Charles, Tingey

Goals: Ball 3, Cole 37

HT: Hendon 2 Needham Market 0

Attendance: 139

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