Match Report - Hendon FC v Salisbury FC

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Hendon FC 2 Salisbury FC 2
Evo-stik South Premier South
Saturday, 2 February 2019

By Alec Hayter

Although Salisbury's travelling fans might have felt disappointment at their team's only taking one point from their visit to Hendon, I think many would have settled for a point before the game, especially as it was played on yet another 3G playing surface. It's a good job it was however as it was one of only three league games to survive the snow, and that must have been down to a tremendous effort by the home side's volunteers. Any disappointment must however be tempered by having to a play on something other than grass, and by the fact that this was a very hard earned point away from home. A draw was a fair result after an entertaining game which was as different as chalk and cheese from the physical battle with Taunton four days earlier. Both sides tried to play today, and succeeded.

Things didn't start well for the Whites as in the first real attack at either end Hendon took the lead on seven minutes after a pinball session in the Salisbury box. As a result of no particular science or skill the ball came out towards Shaq Hypolyte-Patrick who, without hesitation, belted it back past James Hillson. The keeper stood no chance whatsoever of keeping it out.

Seven minutes later Luke Tingey hooked an overhead effort over the top when maybe he should have done better, but on 22 minutes Salisbury had their first real go when Tom Whelan's 25 yard low right foot cross shot was pushed round for a corner at full stretch by home keeper Danny Boness. Twelve minutes later Bouwe Bosma fed Dan Fitchett whose effort from a similar distance went wide of the target, but straight away Hendon replied when a long ball went through the Whites defence and set Lewis Toomey in the clear. It looked odds-on a second goal, except that Hillson had other ideas and made a great save in a one on one.

Whelan tried his luck again from just outside the box on 44 minutes, but shortly before the referee blew for half time Salisbury got back on terms when a Benson cross was headed back into the mix by Elliot Wheeler and Fitchett, facing his own goal, executed a perfect overhead finish low into the corner.

The level score at the break was a fair reflection of what had gone before, although the Salisbury keeper will probably want to forget an incident just before the teams left the field when, after coming out for the ball, he unwittingly presented Hippolyte-Patrick with a good opportunity - thankfully wasted, with the finish going high.

The first part of the second half was almost all Hendon and on 52 minutes Hillson was forced to make a good save from Matty Harriott after the wide man had received a good ball in from Charlie Smith. As Hendon kept up the second half pressure Smith provided two further assists, firstly giving Tingey a 15 yard headed opportunity which went over the top on 57 minutes and then four minutes later doing the same for Darren Locke who repeated the miss in almost exactly same way.

Enough was enough for the Whites and they sprang into action on 63 minutes when Benson sent in a teasing, curling cross from the right which left home keeper Danny Bowness in two minds as to whether to come for it or stay, but by the time he had made a decision Fitchett had nipped in to volley in the Whites', and his, second.

PairElation (or not!) depending on kit colour, as the Whites celebrate the first of two Dan Fitchett goals.

Following Hendon's tremendous start after half-time, the Whites' second goal was against the run of play, but nonetheless very acceptable, and on 67 minutes Salisbury might have extended their lead when a Benson free kick found Wheeler, who unfortunately headed over from distance.

The slender lead began to look very slender as it was the home side who had the remaining chances with Hillson forced to make a great save in touching a 25 yard Ryan Hope sizzler over the bar on 72 minutes. With six minutes remaining the keeper again did well after Smith delivered a great corner to Ogi Ogi, and it was not until four minutes into time added that Hendon's efforts were rewarded with a late equaliser. The impressive Hyppolyte-Patrick capped a fine display when, in a breakaway from their own half after suspicion of a handball by a Hendon player, he sent in a raking cross from the right to the far post for Connor Callcutt to level with a close range header.

HillsonJames Hillson makes a top corner rescue.

Hendon were a very decent side when they visited Salisbury earlier in the season and they certainly know how to play on their 3G surface, as you would expect, but that was not the reason they got a deserved point from the game. They made chances throughout the game, although in the first half it was probably a case of "getting to know you" for Salisbury, as it seems that each of these surfaces they have encountered has had differing characteristics. Having got their equaliser shortly before half-time and then taken the lead just after the hour it looked as though maybe a very valuable three points would return to Wiltshire. However, the correct amount of added time awarded by referee Rhys Battye was telling, and Hendon made the most of their opportunity. Overall, a point was therefore very satisfactory. It is unlikely that many visitors to Silver Jubilee Park will avoid leaving empty-handed.

Next up is the visit to Basingstoke Town on Tuesday, and that match now has added spice as they unexpectedly took the points at Weymouth. They will obviously be on a high and Salisbury will have to be at their best to get anything, but after today's performance, and a pleasing debut from central defender Ben Morgan, they can be confident. Of course, a large travelling contingent can help tremendously..

MorganA commanding debut from Ben Morgan.

Hendon FC: Boness, Gardiner-Smith, Smith, Tingey, Locke (Ogi Ogi 82), Chappell, Hope, Manesio, Toomey (Callcutt 70), Hippolyte-Patrick, Harriott.
Subs not used: Brown, Hall, Murphy-McVey.

Salisbury FC: Hillson , Herbert, Sommerton, Whelan (Mullings 90+2), Wheeler, Morgan, Benson, Dawson, Fitchett (Skeen-Hamilton, 89) Bosma, Sparkes.
Subs not used: Hopper, Mdlalose, Haysham.

Attendance: 283 Referee: R Battye