Hendon aim to stay unbeaten in December as they continue life on the road
PUBLISHED: 16:05 03 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:19 03 December 2014
Hendon boss Gary McCann hopes his squad can avoid fatigue and maintain their unbeaten league run into the new year as the Greens’ sequence of gruelling away games continues.
The Dons have been on the road for their last three games in all competitions – including Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Ebbsfleet in the FA Trophy and Tuesday’s victory over London Bari in the London Senior Cup.
Next up is a trip to Bognor Regis Town in the league on Saturday before a visit to Enfield Town in the League Cup on Tuesday – and a rare home game against VCD Athletic is then followed by journeys to Leiston and Maidstone United.
After that Maidstone clash on Saturday December 20, Hendon will have played seven out of eight games away from home.
However, they have just completed a third consecutive calendar month without defeat in the Ryman League Premier Division – and McCann is keen to maintain that record throughout December as the Dons chase the top two teams.
“We’ve got a lot of away games,” he said. “We have players who are working 40 to 50-hour weeks and then when you are travelling to matches on top of that, it does have an impact.
“Also the pitches you play on at this time of year are more demanding, which can lead to fatigue.
“The last match we lost in the league was at the end of August. But we play Bognor Regis Town on Saturday and they have improved massively. They got rid of a lot of experience in the summer, deciding to go with a younger squad, and they’ve since brought in a bit more experience to add to it.
“We will play Maidstone on December 20, which will be a pivotal six-pointer.
“Our home match against Wingate & Finchley on December 27 is one where fans can pay what they want at the gate.
“Hopefully that will attract some more people to come down as there will be no Premier League or Football League matches that day.”
McCann was disappointed to see his team eliminated from the FA Trophy by Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.
The Greens lost 1-0 in a tight match which saw McCann change to a more defensive style than he usually adopts.
“I am disappointed in the result,” said the manager. “We knew it was going to be a difficult game because they are a team at the top of a division above us.
“I went to watch them last Tuesday night and they looked a different team on Saturday, but a change of manager often does that.
“I think we gave a very good account of ourselves. We played our part in containing them when they attacked us, but we were well shackled when we went forward.
“This was one of those occasions where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“I prefer not to set up our team to stop an opponent, but there are times when you have to make a difficult decision.
“I thought we had the best chance of the first half – the one for Andre Da Costa – but we couldn’t really get it up to the next gear to get past them.”
Hendon progressed into the quarter finals of the London Senior Cup on Tuesday night, winning on penalties at London Bari after goalless draw.
The Greens found it tough to cope with a heavy bobbly pitch which didn’t allow them to play their natural game and chances were limited for both sides, although Hendon had the bulk of the possession.
With the scores level after 90 minutes, the tie went straight to penalties. The home side scored their first spot kick before Peter Dean equalised. Ben McNamara gave the Greens the advantage as he pushed their second kick onto the post.
Andre Da Costa, Lee O’Leary and Dave Diedhiou all successfully completed their spot kicks as London Bari scored their third and fourth, but the home side’s fifth penalty taker fired his effort onto the bar and the ball bounced away to safety.