Southern League: Hendon 0 Salisbury 3
PUBLISHED: 10:03 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:55 15 October 2019
Hendon 0 Salisbury 3
Hendon, ravaged by injuries and unavailability, had no answer to a strong and confident Salisbury team on Saturday.
The final score may have been a little flattering - the last goal was with almost the last touch - but there is no doubting that the Greens did not do enough to threaten to upset the visitors.
No less than eight players were unavailable for one reason or another - Lee Chappell, Tom Hamblin, Kraig Noel-McLeod, Romario Jonas, Ryan Hope, Matty Harriott, Connor Calcutt and Dan Williams - so Hendon were down to the barest of bones.
The two new signings were both included, Ed Cook starting alongside Luke Tingey in the middle of the back four, and Toby Byron on the bench, while Howard Hall and Harvie Gardiner swapped bench and starting roles.
The game had a cagey start but, in the 11th minute, Toby Holmes tussled with Cook as they chased a downfield ball down the inside-right channel.
There was a bit of arm-wrestling as they tussled and the former went to ground.
The assistant referee immediately flagged for a foul to Salisbury, whose players hoped for a red card, but there was sufficient mitigation to suggest that the yellow card shown was the right call by the referee. The free-kick did not require a save from Chris Grace.
Grace, however, was called into action in the 18th minute when former Hendon man Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick drilled a shot towards the far post.
Diving full length, he not only made the save but also got a very strong hand to the ball, pushing it some distance away from danger.
Midway through the half, a challenge on Sam Corcoran by Ollie Knowles elicited a furious response from the Greens captain.
His retaliation was maybe a little fortunate to receive only a caution and Knowles joined him in the referee's notebook.
In the FA Cup a week earlier, Hendon conceded soon after the half-hour mark and the same thing happened again. A corner from the Salisbury left wing was curled into the middle of the six-yard box.
Grace came out for the ball as it was flicked to beyond the far post, where Tom Leak was standing unmarked.
Leak, unpressured, even as the ball arrived, side-footed towards the near post and Arash Abdollahi got his feet tangled, leaving him unable to make the clearance.
There was no capitulation this week, but Hendon did concede a second goal seven minutes later. The Greens were in possession in the Salisbury half when the ball was lost and quickly funnelled downfield by Josh Somerton.
Hippolyte-Patrick took advantage of Hall's slip to run clear. Tingey came across to slow down the forward but Hippolyte-Patrick angled a shot towards the far post and Toby Holmes applied the finish from about three yards out.
Hendon were much better in the second half and, for the first 15 minutes of the period, were clearly on top. This was despite losing Kam English after 49 minutes, with Gardiner replacing him.
It was the second change the Greens had made, Byron starting the second half in place of Abdollahi. This resulted a few positional changes, most notably Charlie Smith moving much further forward into a more central midfield role.
Francis Amartey, who had twice eschewed shooting options when in a good position during the first half, tried his luck after 51 minutes. It was a good strike and Gerard Benfield was forced into a difficult save.
Just before the hour mark, Luca Valentine made a mazy run and got into a dangerous position from where he slid the ball across the face of the Salisbury goal.
All it needed was a touch from a Hendon forward to halve the deficit, but none was there.
From the corner, Hendon had another half-chance, but they were unlucky in that a rebound landed near to the feet of a Salisbury defender who was able to clear.
Grace was kept busy over the next 10 minutes, making acrobatic palms away from crosses by both full-backs, first Somerton and then Bay Downing.
In between those, however, the goalkeeper did very well to make a double save from Nathaniel Oseni, and Hippolyte-Patrick also dragged a shot wide of the far post when in a good shooting position.
With 15 minutes to go, Tom Nyama replaced Smith to shore up the midfield which was becoming a bit overrun.
Salisbury were content to make their three changes, taking off all their attackers, sending on, amongst others, former Premier League goalscorer Leroy Lita - twice involved in million-pound transfers - and National League striker Dan Fitchett..
With eight minutes to go, Hendon struggled to clear a corner and when the ball came to the edge of the penalty area, Aaron Dawson had a clear shooting chance. His head was in his hands, however, as he scuffed the ball badly wide.
However, in the last of the three minutes of stoppage time, Lita got clear of the Hendon defence, and his low strike crept just inside the far post.