Hendon suffer gut-wrenching loss to Tonbridge Angels thanks to disputed late winner
PUBLISHED: 15:38 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 03 April 2017
Hendon suffered a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss at home to Tonbridge Angels - with the visitors scoring a controversial winner in the final minutes of normal time.
Nathan Elder had cancelled out Matt Ball’s first-half penalty midway through the second period and Tonbridge would grab the winner through Andre McCollin five minutes from time.
It came from a Nicky Wheeler cross that Andre McCollin sent goalwards.
Tom Lovelock dived full length in a bid to keep the rolling ball from crossing the line, but, according to the assistant referee, unsuccessfully.
It was a desperately tight decision and the reaction of the Hendon keeper was of incandescent rage and he was probably fortunate not to receive a card. It did, however, mean the referee discussed the decision with his assistant before confirming the goal.
James Harper was sacrificed for Elliott Charles immediately following the goal, increasing Hendon’s attacking options.
And Charles and Kezie Ibe then set up Khale Da Costa for one final chance to rescue a point four minutes into additional time but the winger’s shot didn’t have enough power to beat Jonathan Henly.
Tonbridge had made a bright start, forcing two corners in the opening 90 seconds. But it was the second corner from Hendon that proved much more fruitful.
Reis Stanislaus was bundled over by two Tonbridge defenders and the referee pointed straight to the spot.
Ball took responsibility for the spot kick and his accuracy meant that even if Henly had guessed correctly, he would not have been able to reach it.
A succession of free-kicks outside both teams’ penalty areas gave Ball and Vas Karagiannis the chance to show off their talents, but neither were able to get their efforts on target.
Seven minutes before half-time, excellent work from Da Costa set up a chance for Ball to double the Hendon lead. Unfortunately, the shot was not struck with great power and Henly was able to make a sprawling save.
Tonbridge made their first change midway through the second half, replacing Alex Akrofi with McCollin, and within a minute the Angels were level.
Wheeler was given space to attack thanks to a pass from Damien Scannell and his low ball into the danger area was turned in by Elder.
Hendon should have retaken the lead when Ibe set up Stanislaus. But instead of going for placement, he opted for power and the ball went fizzing over the crossbar.
Lovelock denied McCollin with a brilliant save before another substitute, Luke Blewden, forced the keeper to tip a shot onto the post.
But Tonbridge did get the winner and it means that Hendon are three points adrift of safety with four games to go although three of the sides above them have games in hand.
Next up for the Greens is a trip to Folkestone Invicta on Saturday.