K’s Undone by First Half Hendon Haul
Sometimes a mid-winter pitch gets the game of football it deserves, but on a terrible surface at Earlsmead, Kingstonian and Hendon played out an entertaining game, with the hosts coming out 3-1 winners. It was 12 minutes of madness which undid Kingstonian, conceding three goals to finish off the game before a quarter of it had been played. Despite that, Tommy Williams' side, still struggling with injuries, looked composed in possession and created their fair share of chances throughout. Williams will be upset with the sloppy marking, which allowed Hendon acres of space in the area for all three goals.
The decisive moment came in the first ten minutes. Ks debutant Charlie Penny broke towards goal, only to be chopped down by the host's full back Casey Maclaren. Despite looking like a clear goalscoring opportunity, the defender was shown a yellow card. Inevitably, Maclaren opened the scoring two minutes later, finding himself unmarked at the near post to head home.
The goal undid a strong start from Kingstonian. Hendon’s dour goalkeeper Ben McNamara had produced two good saves to keep the scores level, holding well from an Elvis Hammond drive and tipping Pico Gomez’s free kick over, following Maclaren’s booking. However just seconds after Maclaren’s opener, the game looked over. Tony Taggart found space down Ks’ right channel and found Kezie Ibe on the edge of the area. Ibe’s turn was magnificent, bamboozling the stunned Ks’ backline, before produced a curling finish that matched the turn to double the Ryman league high flyer’s lead.
Ks continued to press, a shot from the imperious Steve Laidler somehow spun wide, while the wide men Josh Casey and Alex Addai both saw spectacular volleys fly just over. Despite this pressure, it was Hendon that made the telling contribution. More non-existent marking from the Kingston defense allowed Aaron Morgan time and space to produce a firm header past Rob Tolfrey to finish the contest off before half time. Hendon then proceeded to control the half with Sam Murphy controlling the game with a performance that transcended the Somme-like conditions and the otherwise Ryman-esque quality of football. After impressing at Kingsmeadow earlier in the season, Murphy produced an even better performance, he won’t be at this level for long.
The second half saw Kingstonian dominate as Hendon looked happy to sit on their three goal cushion. Gomez once again saw a free kick well saved by McNamara, but despite having all of the possession, Ks struggled to unlock an impressive Hendon defense. A glimmer of hope emerged with half an hour to go, as Hendon’s right back Chris Seeby was shown red for kicking out at Pico Gomez. Despite this, Hendon’s back four were stout, barely allowing Ks a sniff before the introduction of physical frontman Dan Buckle offered something different. Buckle’s first contribution was to have a shot cleared off the line, before the ball eventually fell to Sam Page, whose stretching volley found the bottom corner with ten minutes to go.
Despite the impetus and the extra man, Ks couldn’t make it count, with the only moments of the note following Page’s goal, coming from former-K Andre Da Costa, who seemed intent on injuring as many of his former colleagues as possible. So Hendon ran out comfortable winners in a game where Ks produced a pretty good performance on an awful pitch. Football is weird.
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.