QPR loanee Ben Pattie: Hendon’s relegation dogfight is making me a better player

Ben Pattie scored his first goal for Hendon in Saturday's defeat against Leiston

Ben Pattie scored his first goal for Hendon in Saturday's defeat against Leiston - Credit: Archant

Hendon forward Ben Pattie believes the team’s fight to stay out of the Ryman Premier League relegation zone is helping to develop him as a player.

The 19-year-old, who is on loan from QPR, netted his first goal for the Greens – as well as setting up another for Adam Wallace – in their 4-2 home defeat to Leiston on Saturday.

And Pattie has no doubt that he is gaining more valuable experience from the battle to turn Hendon’s disappointing season around than he would do in the less intense environment of Under-21 league football.

“I’d say it’s very different to Under-21 games,” Pattie said. “A lot of that is about trying out different things, but here you’re fighting for three points on a Saturday.

“It’s a lot more physical, mainly based on decision-making in the final third, which can win or lose you games. It does make things a lot harder – more tense in the changing room and out on the field.

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“I haven’t ever been in a team that’s been struggling before, so it is a good experience for me. It’s helped me out massively because I can work more on attacking play.

“I’m enjoying it and I’m trying to do my best. Obviously there’s a big first-team squad at QPR at the moment and I’m just trying to get as many games as I can and make them notice me.”

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The Greens remain hovering just above the bottom four in the Premier Division after a loss that was ill-deserved, given the way they dominated possession against Leiston.

The visitors’ 19th-minute opener at Earlsmead came against the run of play as Gareth Heath gave Hendon captain Mark Kirby the slip and slotted past goalkeeper Joe Wright.

Christy Finch made it 2-0 on the break early in the second period and the home side were unable to find a response, although Kirby’s header hit the post and Wallace nodded a chance wide.

Hendon seemed dead and buried when Finch headed his second midway through the second half – but Pattie, who had just come on as a substitute, rifled home a left-foot drive almost immediately.

He then headed down for Wallace to volley in the Greens’ second two minutes later but, despite late pressure from the home side, Joe Francis broke to kill off their hopes with Leiston’s fourth goal in injury time.

Nonetheless, Pattie feels Hendon’s display showed enough to suggest they are turning a corner, with a derby match against landlords Harrow Borough next up on Boxing Day.

“It was a good game to come into – there were a lot of chances and I was looking to notch myself and help the team out,” he added. “Hopefully I can keep going and that’ll be the first of many.

“We were unlucky – they had four chances and four goals on the counter-attack. But there’s a positive vibe around the club and the performances are coming.

“Harrow Borough will be pretty intense but I think we’ll do well and start climbing back up the table. There’s by far enough in the squad to do that, we need to work hard, dig deep and keep believing.”

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