Southern League: Gosport Borough 3 Hendon 1
PUBLISHED: 08:37 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:38 26 November 2018
Hendon returned from their latest away day on a filthy afternoon on the south coast well-beaten by a Gosport Borough side which had been without a win in five matches.
Taishan Griffith came into the side in place of the injured Romario Jonas and slotted in at right-back, with Howard Hall moving across to centre half alongside Luke Tingey.
And Bayley Brown returned in midfield in place of Prince Mbengui as Connor Calcutt partnered Ricardo German up front with Gianni Crichlow joining Mbengui, Tyriq Hunte, Cole Brown and Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway on the bench.
The game was played in incessant rain and with a swirling wind blowing across the pitch making life difficult in particular for both goalkeepers.
The first tricky ball to deal with saw Danny Boness get half a punch on a left-wing cross from Patrick Suraci and the ball fell at the feet of Sam Lanahan, but his goalbound effort from six yards was well blocked by a sprawling sky-blue shirt.
A minute later Shaun Lucien was denied by a superb low plunging save by Pat O’Flaherty after a neat lay-off from German, the tall Borough goalkeeper getting two firm hands to the ball to push the ball away from the danger area.
Two minutes later and Lucien tried his luck again, this time from 25 yards, and his effort was half saved by O’Flaherty, low to the keeper’s right. The ball spun up and threatened to bounce in, but O’Flaherty was alert and able to dive to his left and pounce on the loose ball.
In the 10th minute, Connor Calcutt was the latest to be denied by O’Flaherty as his snap shot from inside the penalty area was superbly stopped low down and then O’Flaherty was forced to push away another low shot from German shortly afterwards.
In amongst the one-way traffic in the opening 20 minutes, a clash of heads between Matthew Casey and Boness in the Hendon penalty area when contesting a high ball into the box saw play eventually stop for treatment to both players.
Casey went down the tunnel for treatment to a cut, something which necessitated his substitution, whilst Boness was able to continue after a couple of moments.
Shortly after being cautioned for simulation on the edge of the Gosport penalty area, Lucien was denied again by a splendid save from O’Flaherty as his curling effort from Griffith’s cross was tipped over the angle at full stretch by the sprawling goalkeeper.
The hosts had the ball in the net on 27 minutes when Suraci was left in acres of space to finish, however the assistant’s flag ruled his effort out.
But this was the signal for Gosport to take a stranglehold on proceedings that they rarely relinquished for the rest of the afternoon.
Craig McAllister, a thorn in Hendon’s side on many occasions since the turn of the century, became more influential and after expertly taking down a long ball inside the penalty area saw his shot deflected wide by a defender and was then aghast to see the referee award a goal kick.
Lanahan then tried his luck from 20 yards which whilst straight at Boness, saw the Hendon goalkeeper spill the initial shot and then gather at the second attempt as Tony Lee was sniffing for a rebound.
German picked up a needless caution for kicking the ball away after being pulled up for a tug on substitute Joe Byrne, but Lee escaped censure for a similar offence soon after having been ruled offside.
Boness had trouble with another shot that slipped from his grasp in the greasy conditions and Lee was adjudged to have fouled him as the two men scrabbled to get onto the rebound, before Lee, sensing the Hendon goalkeeper’s nerves, tried an effort from distance which this time Boness chose to punch away from danger.
Seven minutes before the break the deadlock was broken as Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick cut inside from the left, past two challenges, before unleashing a powerful low strike from 22 yards which fizzed beyond O’Flaherty and into the bottom corner of the net.
It was a goal against the run of play based on the previous quarter of an hour, but there could at that stage be an argument made for Hendon being worth an advantage based on the half as a whole up until that point.
The lead lasted less than 90 seconds as a ball forward from defence saw McAllister peel away from Tingey in the penalty area. His first touch was sublime to take the ball down, his second as good to work an angle for a shot and his third, with his left foot, even better as he curled the ball beyond Boness into the top corner.
The hosts should have taken an advantage into the break as Lee failed to take advantage of a slip by Tingey inside the penalty area and with yards of space, fired his shot a yard wide of Boness’ right hand post.
And the Hendon keeper then made a fabulous save from a downward McAllister header and other chances went begging in the three minutes of stoppage time much to the frustration of the home fans.
The second half was far less end-to-end as Hendon spent the entire 45 minutes failing to put anything in the way of a coherent attack together and paying the price for more defensive insecurity.
McAllister headed wide from a corner when well placed in the opening minutes of the half before limping off and being replaced by Ryan Pennery.
Where the experienced player-manager had given the Hendon centre-halves a test with his physical prowess, Pennery and his fleet-footed pace gave them quite a different challenge to deal with.
Boness made a super save at full stretch from a Suraci free-kick on the edge of the D, quite centrally, with the Gosport winger’s effort headed into the top corner and he was denied again when his cross towards the far post was acrobatically cleared from danger by Chappell.
Joe Lea then failed to take advantage of another slip, this time by Chappell, as he fired wide from an angled position before the inevitable happened and the Hendon defence was breached.
It was a goal that Boness will not want to be reminded of as a long ball from just inside his own half by Harry Medway bounced on the edge of the penalty area and high over the stranded Hendon keeper, to leave Lee with the easiest of tasks to slam the ball home from a couple of yards.
Jimmy Gray replaced Lucien and Calcutt with Cole Brown and Gianni Crichlow in an attempt to get back into the game but the pattern of play remained with Gosport well on top and wining every battle across the pitch.
In the 67th minute a corner fizzed across the Hendon goalmouth begging for a touch to send it into the net that didn’t arrive, before another shot was spilled by Boness before being tapped in on the rebound by a predatory Gosport attacker who was, thankfully for Hendon, adjudged to have been offside.
Just 30 seconds later, Lee had a shot deflected the bar as the hosts looked to finish the game as a contest.
Pennery picked up a caution for a tug on Hippolyte-Patrick before having a strike well held low down by Boness and, with four minutes remaining, he curled an effort well over the top.
The deserved third goal for the hosts arrived with three minutes remaining and it was beautifully constructed with Pennery releasing Lee down the right with an impudent back-heel and his low cross was met at the far post by the arriving Suraci who had the simple task of beating Boness and sealing a thoroughly deserved three points.
For Hendon, that makes it just two points taken from their past three league games and just a single win in their previous five, a record they will be looking to turn around on Tuesday when they make the short journey up the M1 to take on Kings Langley.
Hendon: Boness, Hall, Chappell B. Brown, Tingey, Griffith, Hippolyte-Patrick, Bonnett-Johnson, German (Hunte 84), Calcutt (C Brown 65), Lucien (Crichlow 65). Unused subs: Mbengui, Alexander-Greenaway.