Southern League: Hendon 3 Merthyr Town 0
PUBLISHED: 17:28 02 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 02 December 2018
Hendon ended a four-game run without a victory with a 3–0 defeat of fellow high-flyers Merthyr Town on Saturday.
The win also saw Hendon climb above Merthyr, who finished with 10 men after skipper Ashley Evans received a second yellow card near the end.
New signing Matty Harriott came straight into the Green starting line-up, where he was joined by Ricardo Alexander-Greenaway, making his first start in a League match. Gianni Crichlow and Prince Mbengui were the two players who dropped to the bench.
When Martyrs goalkeeper Josh Gould made his Swansea City U23s debut, he saved a penalty in a Swans win. His Merthyr debut – he had joined the club on a month’s loan a day earlier – was significantly unhappier as he stumbled slightly as a back-pass came towards him and was grateful to watch the ball strike the outside of a post and go out for a Hendon corner.
The first attempt on target came from the Martyrs as Ryan Prosser shot powerfully at goal. Danny Boness produced an excellent save to push away the ball.
In the 15th minute another error from Gould, this time a poor clearance, gifted Hendon a lead.
Attempting to pass the ball out from the edge of the six-yard box, Gould was shut down by Connor Calucutt and Cole Brown. The clearance struck Calcutt and fell to Brown, who took a touch, improved his angle against the advancing goalkeeper and rolled the ball into the net.
Both teams were committed to the cause, but they went too far, resulting in cautions for Hendon’s Howard Hall, Lee Chappell and Marriott, while the Martyrs’ Kyle Patten also saw yellow.
Hendon’s second goal, after 22 minutes, was a superb team effort that started with Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick who won a challenge on halfway and passed to Calcutt, who found Bayley Brown, from where the ball went to Harriott and then Alexander-Greenaway.
His pass sent Harriott clear and with Gould uncertain whether to narrow the angle, the midfielder rolled rolled the ball across the six-yard box. Brown had no one challenging him as he ran towards the far post and he slid the ball into the net from six yards out.
Chances were at a premium but Calcutt glanced a header inches wide of the far post from a well-placed Chappell cross and Hippolyte-Patrick almost scored with a speculative angled shot. At the other end, Prosser mishit a shot straight at Boness and, in stoppage time Lee Lucas did much the same.
For a second consecutive match Luke Tingey failed to see out the 90 minutes, this time a slight muscle injury meaning he was replaced by Taishan Griffith for the second half, with Hall moving to centre-half alongside Adam Pepera.
Prosser did have another effort on target after 52 minutes, his header going close to the crossbar but Boness acrobatically tipped the ball over the bar.
Two minutes later, Evans committed another bad foul and, despite his protestations, received a yellow card.
In between, Merthyr made their first change, Adam Davies making way from Tom Meechan.
Calcutt, having run himself to a near-standstill on the boggy Kings Langley pitch on Tuesday night, was removed from the action after 58 minutes, with Ricardo German sent on to replace him.
With an hour gone Hendon had an escape when a Merthyr free-kick flew across the penalty area and was probably just too far out for Boness to come for it, with no attacker able to get a touch as the ball flashed just beyond the far post.
The Greens made the game safe after 73 minutes with another spectacular goal from Hippolyte-Patrick, his 12th since joining the club in September.
German went on a mazy run, decided not to send the ball out to Cole Brown, but passed instead to Hippolyte-Patrick. There was still plenty of work to do, and, having beaten two Martyrs, suddenly found himself in some space. Although he was almost 30 yards out, Hippolyte-Patrick sent a magnificent curling shot – aided by the slightest of deflections and Gould’s despairing hand – into the roof of the net.
Before play resumed, Harriott made way for Mbengui while Merthyr’s player-manager Gavin Williams took over from Kieran Lewis.
Brown then came close to completing his hat-trick when he arrived at the far post to meet a deep free-kick. His sidefoot, from an absurdly narrow angle, looked to be on target for the opposite upright but was saved by Gould at the second attempt.
Prosser was then a little fortunate not to receive a red card for a nasty challenge on Boness as he caught a high ball into the penalty area.
The striker had no chance of winning the ball but he raised his leg as he ran into the goalkeeper, who had yet to return to terra firma. As Boness received treatment, Prosser was shown a yellow card.
A red card had seemed almost inevitable from midway through the first half and, in the 85th minute, it arrived as Evans committed another bad foul this time on German, grabbing him around the neck and pulling him to the ground.
r the striker had received treatment, the referee showed Evans yellow and then red cards. An angry Evans then stormed towards German and a Merthyr player and the Hendon player reacted, earning him a yellow card. This was, however, a misunderstanding as the skipper was merely passing the captain’s armband to a team-mate.
Merthyr had one final half-chance, but Prosser directed it straight at Boness, who saved comfortably. In the five minutes of stoppage time, Hendon were able to play the ball around with comfort.
Hendon manager Jiimmy Gray said: “We played well today and I think we deserved the win.
“We kept a clean sheet today and that has pleased me almost as much as the three points today. We had given away too many sloppy goals recently.”
Hendon: Boness, Hall, Chappell, B Brown, Tingey (Griffith 46), Pepera, Hippolyte-Patrick, Harriott (Mbengui 73), Calcutt (German 58), C Brown, Alexander-Greenaway. Unused subs: Crichlow, Lucien.