Southern League: Yate Town 2 Hendon 2
PUBLISHED: 10:58 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 02 September 2019
Hendon failed to hold onto a lead for the fourth time in their opening six league games as they had to settle for a share of the points from their visit to Yate Town on Saturday.
For the first time this term manager James Gray was forced to significantly shuffle his pack, with Chris Grace best man at a wedding whilst Sam Corcoran and Matty Harriott were missing from the midfield.
Tyla Dickinson, signed on work experience from QPR on Friday, made his debut in goal whilst Ram Marwa came in for his Hendon debut in place of Harriott.
Lee Chappell returned to the side in and anchored the midfield in Corcoran's absence, as Scott McGleish and Mark Boyce joined Connor Calcutt, Arash Abdollahi and Dan Williams on the bench.
Conditions were perfect for football with the pitch like a carpet and the weather warm, but breezy and Hendon needed no invitation to get started.
Just seven minutes had elapsed when the ball broke in midfield for Kameron English. He shifted it to his right for the onrushing Luca Valentine to run onto, steady himself and strike a perfect low drive across Adam Forster and into the bottom corner of the net.
For the next 20 or so minutes, Hendon looked much the better side, passing the ball with confidence and keeping Dickinson well protected defensively. However, despite getting into some good attacking positions, the final ball rarely found a tangerine shirt and Yate remained in the game.
The hosts did create a couple of good openings as they grew into the game, as Mike Bryant took advantage of a Howard Hall clearance that was blocked by cutting in off the left flank, beating Tingey's challenge but then shooting wide.
Bryant then played in his strike partner Ollie Mehew but once again, from a good position, the effort missed the target.
Within 60 seconds of that miss, Valentine went close to giving Hendon a two-goal advantage at the interval but was unfortunate to see his effort from 20 yards thud off the top of the crossbar with Forster no more than a spectator.
As with the first half, it took just seven minutes for the first goal of the second period to arrive and this time it was Yate who struck.
Ryan Hope, who had been cautioned for a first half foul, made a slightly mistimed challenge 25 yards from goal and the host's skipper, Nick Peare stepped up to curl a low free kick around the wall, beyond Dickinson's dive and into the net off the inside of the post.
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Two minutes later, Charlie Smith went close from a free kick no more than three yards outside the penalty area in a central position. Credit must go to Forster whose positioning was excellent as was his save at full length firmly pushing the ball away from goal.
Gray made a double substitution soon after, introducing Calcutt and Dan Williams for Tahjae Anderson and Valentine, the former giving Hendon's attack more of a focal point whilst in Williams, fresh legs and a willing runner.
As with the game on Bank Holiday Monday against Chesham it proved to be a shrewd piece of management from Gray as within 13 minutes of the change, Calcutt had done superbly to receive the ball with his back to goal around the penalty spot, shift it out of his feet and as he turned, leathered a powerful strike into the roof of the net to extend Hendon's lead.
In the next 10 minutes, Hendon created three absolute gilt-edged opportunities to put the game to bed and failed to take any of them.
Firstly, Hall, given space to advance, hit a superb strike from fully 30-yards which Forster once again did well to push away.
The rebound though fell to Abdollahi in acres of space inside the penalty area. He took a touch which gave Forster the opportunity to narrow the angle and curled his effort inches past the top corner from the corner of the six-yard box.
Had the former Under-23 man struck his effort first time he would have had a more favourable angle to hit the target.
Then, English was twice sent clear with the home defence at sixes and sevens. His first effort was well blocked by Forster whilst his second one, on his weaker right foot, tried to beat the goalkeeper at his near post but rippled only the side netting.
Hendon remained in control throughout the closing stages, never giving their hosts a clear shot at goal aside from a header from a corner that went over the top.
As the game entered stoppage time Abdollahi found himself sent clear down the inside left channel. He advanced into the penalty area and had English and Williams up in support.
Seemingly trapped in two minds between shooting himself and squaring the ball, his pass lacked direction and power and the single covering defender was able to smuggle it back to his goalkeeper.
The travelling fans were wondering whether there would be a sting in the tail given the catalogue of missed chances and so it proved in the fourth minute of stoppage time when substitute Luke Spokes struck a low shot that went through a defender's legs and squirmed beneath Dickinson over the line to salvage a share of the spoils for the newly promoted side.
Hendon: Dickinson, Hall, Smith, Chappell, Hamblin, Tingey, Hope, Marwa (Abdollahi 69), Anderson (Calcutt 57), Valentine (Williams 57), English. Unused subs: McGleish, Boyce.