Listen back to today’s match coverage with the Magpies 1-1 draw away at Silver Jubilee Park, Hendon. Matty Holmes after match reaction scroll to 2:21:41
Hendon FC 1-1 Wimborne Town
(Harriott 32′) (Roberts 66’p)
Saturday 17th August – Southern League Premier
In a game of two halves, Wimborne came from behind to bag their first goal and away point of the new season courtesy of a Kieran Roberts penalty in a dominant second-half display.
Manager Holmes started with the same XI for the third game running, but an inspired double substitution on 55 minutes changed the game.
However, it was Hendon who dominated the first period, playing fluent, fast-paced football on their own artificial surface. And they started like the proverbial express train: a weak clearance by goalkeeper Cameron Plain ended with him catching a header; then the young stopper threw himself to his right to make a super save at the foot of his post from Ryan Hope’s drive; before Connor Calcutt’s header was cleared off the line. All this in the first three minutes.
With the wind behind them, the Greens’ attacks continued to rain down on Plain’s goal. A header bounced off the top of his crossbar on 8 minutes; a 20-yard free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall on 18 minutes, and the follow-up was diverted for a corner; Sam Corcoran shot wide after a swift attack down the right two minutes later; and a surging run through the middle saw another Greens’ shot flash past Plain’s post.
With the Magpies’ mid-field over-run, Wimborne rarely had control of the ball, and the back-line was under constant attack. With Joe Byrne and Sam Poole marshalling the defence, the visitors resisted all the home side could throw at them until the 32nd minute. A free-kick was half-cleared, and when a follow-up low cross from the right came into the area, Matty Harriott scrambled the ball into the net from 2 yards – it was a disappointing goal to concede.
With Hendon knocking the ball around at will, there was a danger that the floodgates would open, but the visiting defence dug deep – Byrne making an excellent tackle on the left and then wide on the right, and Poole rarely missing a header in the centre. The Magpies did have two shots in the first period, both by Roberts, but neither troubled the tall Chris Grace in the home goal.
Hendon’s thirteen goal attempts to Wimborne’s two encapsulated the story of the first half.
During the interval, the words of “Things can only get better” kept running through your reporter’s head – and in that second period they certainly did!
On 48 minutes good build-up play between Lukes Burbidge and Holmes, and Roberts saw Tony Lee fire over when well-placed. Four minutes later a quick break saw Lee and Roberts threaten the home goal. With Connor Doe and Franklyn Clarke getting more support in mid-field, it was a promising start to the half for the visitors, and things were, indeed, about to get better! Manager Holmes introduced Stefan Penny and James Stokoe on 55 minutes, and the impact was almost immediate.
Clarke found Stokoe who played Holmes through on 58 minutes; three minutes later Plain’s clearance was controlled by Stokoe who again sent Holmes through; Roberts had a shot which went wide; and Poole’s header from a corner was caught by Grace.
With Stokoe rolling his defenders and rolling back the years, and Penny surging down the right, Wimborne took control of the game. Hendon had let leads slip in their first two league games, and their foul count started to mount as they anxiously tried to stop it happening again.
The deserved equaliser came at the mid-point of the half. Following Josh Buck’s inswinging corner from the right, a low cross resulted in a melee and a shot which hit a falling defender’s hand. A penalty looked the right decision, but a yellow card seemed harsh. Roberts confidently fired home.
Sensing a second, Wimborne kept pressing. A counter-attack on 69 minutes involving Stokoe, Holmes and Burbidge saw the latter’s rasping shot fly inches wide; Billy Maybury’s 20-yard free-kick was blocked; Clarke forced Grace into a low save after good work by Holmes; Stokoe fired over after Holme’s effort was blocked; and Stokoe drew a good save from Grace on 83 minutes after a pass from Roberts.
Hendon did have chances in the last five minutes: Callcutt shot over from a knock-down; Plain made an excellent tip-over on 87 minutes; and Corcoran flashed a shot wide in time added-on.
As we saw last season, points are hard to come by on the road. This was a good one, and that second-half performance will put the boys in good heart for the next two tough games – Taunton at home on Saturday, and Poole away on Bank Holiday Monday.
Wimborne: Plain, Maybury, Buck, Byrne (Penny 54′), Poole, Clarke, Doe, Roberts (66’p), Lee (Stokoe 54′), Burbidge, Holmes (Young 90’+1)
Unused subs: Pettefer, Bayston
Sat 24th August Taunton Town home – Southern League
Mon 26th August Poole Town away – Southern League