Southern League: Hartley Wintney 2 Hendon 3
PUBLISHED: 13:43 14 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:43 14 October 2018
Hendon bounced back from the disappointment of their Wednesday night FA Cup exit at Chippenham with a come-from-behind victory over Hartley Wintney on Non-League Day, a win that lifted them to second in the Evo-Stik Southern League South Premier Division.
There were two changes from the starting 11 against Chippenham, with Prince Mbengui dropping out the squad and Cole Brown going to the bench, while Gianni Crichlow and Marvin Morgan were given starting roles. New to the bench was midweek signing Connor Calcutt, from Farnborough.
Only a two-goal difference separated the sides in the table at kick-off but, for the first 10 minutes at least, the gulf seemed enormous.
Hendon attacked almost relentlessly, forcing multiple throw-ins and corner kicks, but the final delivery into the danger area was lacking.
Then, out of nothing, the Row took the lead when the Hendon defending, it must be said, was sloppy and indecisive, and a shot from Mike Campbell was hardly clinical but crossed the goalline.
Hendon’s response was good and they were level midway through the half. There were a number of blue shirts in the penalty area when Morgan slipped the ball to Stephane Ngamvoulou, whose shot was parried into the net by Adam Desbois.
Two embarrassing pieces of play in the same phase followed as a Hendon corner from Lee Chappell was played to the D of the penalty area, where the ball was cleared downfield with an unsubtle touch and left Hartley Wintney with a 3-on-2 advantage.
Visiting defenders did just enough, but the ball fell to Jack Beadle, who had time and space for control before shooting. He struck the ball sweetly and a fan noted that local hero Jonny Wilkinson – Farmham-born and raised – rarely struck a drop goal as well as that, as the ball split the uprights, having cleared the crossbar by probably 10–15 feet.
Hendon continued to press forward and Morgan and Ricardo German had good chances breaking forward from midfield.
They were thwarted by as much by defenders as the pitch, with both struggling to keep control of the ball on the uneven, grassy surface as they advanced. The best chance of the half probably fell to Romario Jonas, who was stopped by Desbois as Hartley Wintney wanted an offside flag. Jonas was onside and the goal would have stood, however, if either Morgan or Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, in support, had made the decisive strike, then the flag would have been raised.
At the start of the second half, it was Row who were quicker to attack and Hendon struggled to keep out the Hartley Wintney forwards, led by their veteran frontman Nic Ciardini. The goal which came, however, was another that asked questions about the defending.
An attack down the left engaged Howard Hall, but when Beadle was joined by Nathan Smart, no other defender was in sight. Smart had time to pick out a team-mate and although Hendon dealt with the first ball, no one could stop Jack Ball from stroking the ball into the net from 12 yards.
Before play resumed, Calcutt was brought on for his debut, replacing Crichlow, and within 30 seconds, he had a shot, but it was blocked by a Hartley Wintney defender.
However, it was Hartley Wintney who continued to attack and Danny Boness made a couple of key interventions. This might have lulled Row into a false sense of security because they over-committed to attack and Hendon punished them in the 63rd minute.
Credit must also go to the referee, who played a superb advantage allowing play to continue as Morgan was brought down. The ball ran to Hippolyte-Patrick, who rode a challenge before comfortably beating Desbois.
The foul on Morgan was his last contribution to the game as Brown replaced him within a minute of the equaliser.
German should have given Hendon the lead in the 68th minute when he broke clear of the last defender but his shot – with Hippolyte-Patrick even better placed – did not require a save as the ball flew high over the crossbar.
Hendon’s winner came with 20 minutes of the game remaining as Calcutt won a header on the edge of the penalty area, knocking it back a few yards to Laste Dombaxe, who sized up the chance and from 25 yards curled a shot inside the post past the unsighted and leaden-footed Desbois.
For a third time in the half, Hendon responded to a goal with a substitution, with Matty Newman taking over from Hippolyte-Patrick.
At the same time, Steve Noakes replaced Row’s Jacques Kpohomou – and, five minutes later, Claudio Herbert took over from Luke King.
There was more than enough time for Hartley Wintney to get back into the game, but they lacked the guile to unlock the visiting defence, superbly organised by Chappell. One long ball from Desbois almost did the job for Row, but the final touch found the side-netting.
A break by Brown should have given him a clear run at goal, but he was stopped by a body-check from Smart, who was very fortunate not to be carded. The free-kick, however, came to nothing.
Boness made an excellent save after 88 minutes, keeping out a powerful shot from Josh Webb. More importantly, he recovered quickly enough to fall on the ball before an orange shirt could take advantage.
Hendon: Boness, Hall, Chappell, Tingey, Jonas, Crichlow (Calcutt 57), Ngamvoulou, Dombaxe, German, Morgan (Brown 64), Hippolyte-Patrick, (Newman 71). Unused subs: Griffith, Hunte.