Bostik Premier: Hendon 0 Dorking Wanderers 0
PUBLISHED: 08:48 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:49 13 February 2018
Hendon were left frustrated and disappointed as they could not break down a stubborn, well-organised rearguard put up by Dorking Wanderers at a cold, wet and windy Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday.
It was the first goalless draw for the Greens since the same weekend last year, a home encounter with Lowestoft Town.
The hosts welcomed back Tom Lovelock between the posts, while the only other change from the team which started at Burgess Hill a week earlier was the return of Luke Tingey at the expense of Dave Diedhiou, who dropped to the bench.
There could hardly have been a more dramatic or controversial start to the game as Hendon were awarded a penalty inside the first minute for a challenge on Zak Joseph, a decision which enraged Dorking players.
The challenge was clearly a foul but the offender was definitely outside the penalty area, as was Joseph.
The point of contact, however, was very, very close to the line of the 18-yard box and the referee decided it was on the line so pointed to the spot.
After discussing the issue with his assistant, however, he changed the decision to a free-kick. Zak Joseph took the kick and Slavomir Huk saved comfortably.
In the eighth minute, Lewis Putnam, who spent a short while with Hendon a few years ago after shining for Oxhey Jets, came close to giving Dorking the lead, but his effort was cleared off the line.
Five minutes later, a mishit clearance by Lovelock fell straight to Gareth Chendik, but the striker took an age to control the ball and Lovelock redeemed himself with a perfect sliding tackle to put the ball out of for a throw-in.
There was a very loud penalty claims for the Greens in the 15th minute, when Joseph appeared to be bundled over as he waited for a right wing cross but the referee waved away the claim.
Hendon gradually began to get more attacks going and Joseph and Ashley Nathaniel-George enjoyed success attacking Isaac Philpott and Rob Sheridan down the flanks.
When the Greens went a more central route in the 25th minute they were awarded a penalty when a shot from outside the penalty area struck the arm of a defender, which the referee considered to be raised.
Niko Muir had seen his last penalty saved, though he did knock in the rebound against Burgess Hill Town. But this time, Huk had no chance, nor needed one as the ball flew high over the crossbar.
Just before the half-hour mark, Dorking Wanderers again came close to opening the scoring when a ball was cleared by the Hendon defence to just outside the penalty area, where Sheridan was waiting and his rising drive was set for the top left corner until Lovelock, at full stretch, tipped the ball away for a corner.
The contest remained close with few clear-cut chances, but on the stroke of half-time, Daniel Walker was given a shooting chance, which the Wanderers midfielder put wide of the target.
Before the second half started, Ollie Sprague came on for Harold Joseph, and he filled his usual left-back spot with Arthur Lee and Rian Bray resuming their central partnership.
The back four had little to do in the second half as Hendon were completely on top, but could not find a breakthrough.
There was a moment of worry at the other end when Jake Eggleton had to stretch to make a clearance, which he achieved, but appeared to injure himself in the process. He limped off to be replaced by Sam Murphy, leaving the Greens with just one replacement for the final half-hour.
Joseph had a great chance to score midway through the half when he intercepted a back pass from Lewis Taylor.
He was forced wide by Huk, but still got the ball around the goalkeeper, however his angle was too tight and his shot, as the impetus of the slope worked against him, found only the side netting.
Casey Maclaren, Keagan Cole, Muir, Joseph and Nathaniel-George all saw half chances either miss the target or find a Dorking body blocking the attempt.
But with eight minutes to go, Diedhiou replaced Cole and he very nearly became Hendon’s hero.
Three minutes of stoppage time had elapsed when the ball fell to him in the penalty area and his shot was destined for the net until a Dorking defender intervened and the ball was cleared.
Then, with almost the last kick of the game, Ben Dyett won a header in the Hendon penalty area, but his effort went narrowly wide of the far post.
For all their efforts, Dorking Wanderers might have been worth a point, but for Hendon to come away with nothing for all of their approach play, would have been very harsh.
And, with the teams around the Greens failing to do more than pick up a single point, the one gained by Hendon must be considered more accurately as two dropped.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton (S Murphy 60), Lee, Tingey, Bray, H Joseph (Sprague 46), Nathaniel-George, Maclaren, Z Joseph, Muir, Cole (Diedhiou 82). Unused subs: Walker, Wise.