December 6 2013 Latest news:
By Steve Rogers
Monday, August 19, 2013
Hendon supporter Steve Rogers gives his verdict on Saturday’s 5-3 home defeat against Maidstone United at Earlsmead.
Football is a strange game, varying from boring goalless draws to high-scoring thrillers, and it was the latter that we saw at Earlsmead on Saturday afternoon as we lost 5-3 to Maidstone United.
Usually, as a supporter, we’ll leave the game disappointed and miserable after a defeat. However, whilst I was disappointed that we’d lost, I also left having been thoroughly entertained by both teams. A strange feeling!
After the defeat to Dulwich last Monday, in which the work-rate of some of the players was questionable, we rang the changes by bringing in three young loanees from Wycombe Wanderers.
Junior Morias and Lee Angol are already known to us as they spent time with us last season, and were a big part of the kickstart that our season received in the new year, while Charlie Horlock took over from the injured Berkley Laurencin between the sticks.
We’d kept their arrivals quiet so that Maidstone didn’t have time to do their homework, so not only was it a surprise to them to see three new names on the teamsheet, it was also a pleasant surprise for our fans.
As to the game, it was one of the most entertaining, open matches I’ve seen in a long time, with plenty of chances at either end.
Maidstone have one of the most potent strikeforces in the league in the shape of Frannie Collin and Paul Booth, both of whom have scored regularly against the Greens.
Meanwhile, We had the experience of Jefferson Louis along with the energy of Morias and Angol. As a result, we had a game where both attacks were on top, and both defences struggled to cope.
The first half produced five goals in the space of 24 minutes. We took the lead twice, only to be pulled back level within minutes, and the Stones took the lead shortly before-half time.
The goals in the second half also came quickly - three within eight minutes - and even though Maidstone shored things up at the back by introducing Steve Watt, there were plenty of chances in the remainder of the game.
However, both keepers were in fine form, despite the number of goals. Charlie Horlock had a very good debut for us, making three or four excellent saves - a couple of which could even be described as top quality.
Both managers will be disappointed with their defences, but the poor defensive performance from the Greens wasn’t down to a lack of effort - they just couldn’t cope with what Maidstone had to offer.
In fact, I can’t fault the work-rate of any of the players - unlike last Monday, where the performance of two or three had left me quite angry.
We did look very impressive going forward, and hopefully the performances of the two Wycombe youngsters up front will inspire the rest of the squad when they get their chance in the weeks to come.
Defensively, we do have three excellent defenders coming back to fitness in Sam Flegg, George McCluskey and James Fisher, and I’m sure one or both will be involved very soon. In my opinion, Flegg is one of the best signings that Gary McCann has made over the years.
Once everyone is fit, the squad will know that if they don’t put the performances in, there are plenty of players chomping at the bit to take over their shirt, and hopefully that will ensure that performances and results improve.
Any player who doesn’t put the work-rate in won’t last very long. I can accept players having bad games - we all have bad days at the office - but I will never accept players not giving 100 per cent for 90 minutes (plus stoppage time).
It’s early days, there are still 43 league games to go - plus a multitude of cup games - and in Dulwich and Maidstone we’ve played sides who I think will be challenging for the title or play-offs come the end of the season.
With the squad that Gary has put together, I believe we can also be involved at the right end of the table. A couple of wins this week against Leiston and Enfield Town and things will suddenly look so much rosier.
Those of you who are Hendon supporters will know who I am and, for those who don’t, I’ve been supporting the club all my life and am first and foremost a supporter.
I am involved behind the scenes as match secretary and also do the day-to-day updating of the club website at www.hendonfc.net. You’ll be seeing plenty of my thoughts and opinions in this blog during the season.
And if you ever fancy coming along to a game at Earlsmead, and you are a season ticket holder with a Premier League or Football League club, you can get a 50 per cent reduction at the gate for our home league games.
We’re at home on Bank Holiday Monday at 3pm. Why not come along and see what we have to offer?
Follow me on Twitter @SR_Sport