Tonbridge 1 Hendon 0: Greens beaten by bogey team Tonbridge
PUBLISHED: 13:09 14 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:09 14 August 2017
McCann’s men miss out on first day of Bostik League season
Hendon began the new Bostik Premier season with a disappointing defeat at bogey side Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.
Gary McCann fielded three debutants in his starting XI, with Jake Eggleton at right-back and Rian Bray next to him at centre-half, as Zak Joseph started in a wide attacking role on the right flank.
Leo Pedro made his debut from the substitutes bench, but the other new boys Ashley Nathaniel-George and Cameron Currie were unused.
After a less than ideal preparation thanks to a long coach journey, the Greens – lining up in proper Hendon Green rather than the lime green of last season – put in a performance that was full of endeavour and heart.
However, they lacked the final cutting edge in front of goal which the hosts possessed in the shape of former Brentford striker Nathan Elder.
After a cagey opening 0 minutes, the Greens went on to have the better of the first half yet without making the breakthrough.
Zak Joseph was denied on 12 minutes at close range by a fine Jonathan Henly save, then Reis Stanislaus’ fierce angled drive brought an even better save from the Angels custodian at full-stretch.
Every time the Greens went forward they carried a threat with Niko Muir, Joseph and Stanislaus linking up well and being unafraid of taking on their opponents.
Gradually, the hosts grew into the game and had their first shot at goal just before the half-hour mark when Chris Kinnear sent a shot a yard wide of Tom Lovelock’s right hand post.
Shortly afterwards, skipper Sonny Miles hooked a shot wide of the other post after the Greens had struggled to deal with a high free-kick into the box.
Chris Kinnear Jr became one of three home players to see a yellow card in the first period when he went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Eggleton.
The referee, Matthew Russell, had no hesitation in awarding Hendon a free kick and cautioning the Tonbridge player for simulation.
The Greens faithful could breathe a sigh of relief, and ended the half on the front foot – Keagan Cole had a shot blocked for a corner before just failing to get enough purchase on a glancing header six yards from goal and the ball bounced wide.
Tonbridge came out after the break all guns blazing and put the Greens under a spell of concerted pressure.
In spite of that, the back four of Eggleton, Bray, skipper Arthur Lee and Sam Murphy protected Tom Lovelock really well and the goalkeeper was limited to fielding overhit through balls and taking goal-kicks.
Perhaps the key moment of the match came 10 minutes after the break as Joseph’s footwork just inside the Tonbridge box was met by the already cautioned Liam Smith and the right-back clearly clipped the Hendon winger’s feet as he looked to go past him.
Again, the referee was right on the spot and immediately awarded the penalty. Matt Ball stepped up but although he beat Henly, he couldn’t beat the crossbar and from the rebound, Sam Murphy’s effort sailed high over the bar.
This let-off boosted the hosts and they looked the more assured side with Kinnear and Luke Blewden becoming more influential.
However, Hendon continued to hold firm defensively and continued to carry a threat going forward. Dan Thompson sent a shot narrowly wide of the angle of post and bar, and Lovelock had to continue to be alert to crosses into the box from wide areas.
The only goal of the game arrived with 13 minutes remaining as a cross from the Hendon left was comfortably claimed by Henly, and a break was launched down the Tonbridge left.
Jey Siva, so often a threat with his left foot curled in a beautiful cross that was met emphatically by Elder, who had managed to outmuscle his marker, and his header was buried beyond the helpless Lovelock.
To the Greens’ credit, they buckled down and looked for a way back into the game and twice came close to finding an equaliser – the best opportunity when substitute Dave Diedhiou’s looping header was touched over the bar by the alert Henly.
In stoppage time, Tonbridge went close to adding some undeserved gloss to the scoreline when Dan Thompson was denied only by a sprawling Arthur Lee challenge and as the final whistle went the Greens were left to rue the missed chances and single lapse of concentration defensively.
That aside, there will be plenty of positives for Gary McCann to take into the midweek fixture with Enfield Town.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Murphy, Tingey, Bray, Lee, Cole (Diedhiou 80), Ball (Ibe 75), Joseph, Muir, Stanislaus (Pedro 85). Unused subs: Currie, Nathaniel-George.