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Southern League: Staines Town 2 Hendon 5

PUBLISHED: 15:27 17 March 2019

Conor Calcutt celebrates a goal for Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)

Conor Calcutt celebrates a goal for Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)

Flickr.com/DBeechPhotography

Hendon enjoyed a thoroughly convincing victory over already-relegated Staines Town, but their performance in the final half-hour incurred the wrath of some fans.

Leading 5–0 after 55 minutes, the Greens could, and probably should, have added significantly to their lead, but, instead, they allowed the Swans to make the result respectable.

Hendon’s victory lifted them to 16th in the table, four points above Gosport Borough in the relegation zone, but only five points behind eighth-placed Farnborough. However, the fans’ frustration at the late Swans goals can be explained by the Greens’ goal difference; it is worse than all but two of the teams between the eighth and 20th places.

There was no change to the Hendon starting line-up, but on the bench was JJ Da Cruz, who had played for Harlow Town when the teams met in the FA Cup in September. He came in for the injured Romario Jonas, and made his debut as a half-time substitute.

Staines had been condemned to relegation before their victory over nearest rivals Frome Town a week earlier and they started with the confidence of a victory behind them.

However, the confidence didn’t mask their desperate defensive frailty, which was shown when Charlie Smith narrowly missed the target with a fourth-minute shot.

Six minutes later, Hendon took the lead in simple circumstances as from a corner curled into the penalty area Connor Calcutt was allowed to leap unchallenged and guide a header into the net from around six yards out.

Three minutes later, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick ran forward and smashed a shot past Lewis Dixon but the ball cannoned off the goalframe and went away to safety. The Greens were very comfortable with their lead despite the strong wind blowing into their faces.

However, there were a couple of alarming moments in defence when misplaced passes gave the Swans some attacking hope. These came to nothing as both Alex Yearwood and Andy Juett mistimed their runs to be caught offside or the passes forward were overhit.

In the 25th minute, Luke Tingey broke forward from his central defensive position without being challenged and when he got to aronud 25–30 yards out, he fired a low shot that arrowed just inside Dixon’s right post.

With Lee Chappell and Jacob Gardiner-Smith able to link up with the wide-playing Smith and Ryan Hope, every Hendon attack carried danger and the Staines goal was leading something of a charmed life.

The Greens, if anything, showed too much patience in attack, but with the game less than half an hour old, there was no need to rush things unnecessarily.

It was 3-0 after 34 minutes when Hippolyte-Patrick cut in from the left side and was brought down. It was not a violent challenge, but the defender seemed to get nothing on the ball and more than enough on the striker’s leg. Hippolyte-Patrick took responsibility for the spot-kick and, without fuss, smashed the ball into one corner as Dixon dived in the opposite direction.

Chances continued to come for Hendon, but there was also an escape at the other end when Bayley Brown stuck out a long leg to intercept a ball from Yearwood – being watched by a scout from a Championship club – which would have reached Juett in acres of space.

Just before half-time, Sergio Manesio, Matty Harriott, Gardiner-Smith and Hope were all involved in a raid down the right side and when the ball reached the middle of the penalty area, a Swans defender failed to clear the danger.

The ball arrived at the feet of Calcutt with his back to goal and he controlled the ball under no pressure, turned and, still unchallenged, shot into the net for his eighth Hendon goal of the season.

In first-half stoppage time, Andrew McCorkell was beaten by an angled drive from Yearwood but the ball flashed past the opposite post. It was warning to the Greens that they had to keep their defensive concentration, one that was not heeded in the second half.

Before the second half started, both teams made changes. Lewis Lavender replaced Liam Newton for Staines while Da Cruz took over from Manesio.

The Greens midfielder had received treatment after landing awkwardly from a hefty aerial challenge and, just before the break, appeared to be caught on the top of his foot by a late challenge. Da Cruz went straight to his natural centre-back position, releasing Brown to go forward into midfield.

In the first minute, Staines had two chances to score. McCorkell blocked the first attempt – his first save of any description – and the second was fired wastefully off target from a good position.

Hendon’s fifth goal summed up Staines’ defending as, in trying to play the ball away from the edge of the penalty area, a defender rolled it back to Dixon, who controlled it and looked for a team-mate downfield.

Dixon was not paying attention because Harriott was chasing him and he allowed the Hendon midfielder to dispossess him. In trying to recover the situation, Dixon pulled back Harriott, but only after the ball had been guided towards the unguarded net.

Smith then fired over the bar, as did Hippolyte-Patrick and Harriott, all from very good positions. There were plenty more chances, the best of which was a cross from Smith which Calcutt should have guided into the net with a simple header; instead, he launched himself at the ball and his spectacular header flew over the crossbar.

Both teams made their second changes, with Che Krabbendam coming on for Yearwood, while Bilal Sayoud replaced Smith.

McCorkell made a couple of routine saves as Hendon went all out in their hunt for more goals, disappointingly losing their concentration on the job and tactical discipline.

In the 65th minute, they were punished as Juett found himself in acres of space and beat McCorkell very comfortably.

Although Staines had two or three chances to get a second goal, Hendon had more than double that but Dixon atoned for his error earlier in the second half with a couple of excellent saves as Chappell and Hope were denied by good interventions at free-kicks.

After a run and off-target shot from Hippolyte-Patrick, with Calcutt – in acres of space – screaming for a pass, he was replaced by Lewis Toomey. Staines also made their last change, Jordan Harrison taking over from Joe McEvoy.

With six minutes to go, the Hendon defence was beaten by a neat through ball over the top which fell to Lavender. The substitute kept his nerve and fired into the net for a second consolation goal for the hosts and another blow to Hendon’s defensive record.

Hendon: McCorkell, Gardiner-Smith, Chappell, Manesio (Da Cruz, HT), Tingey, Brown, Hope, Harriott, Calcutt, Hippolyte-Patrick (Toomey, 81), Smith (Sayoud, 71). Unused subs: Obi, Hall.

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