A Win Is, After All, A Win
What those who don't follow non-league don't realise is that amongst the frequent footballing detritus - the miscontrolled passes, the snatched-at chances, the goalkeeping howlers and the oh-so-frustrating long balls sliced out for throw-ins - moments of magic can happen surprisingly frequently. The glimpse of a level of talent that suggests that with more application, fewer injuries or simply better luck, players might be playing full-time for a living rather than semi-professionally at the end of a hard day's work.
And it was two such moments of magic that sunk Hendon, emerging near the end of a game which, even by Isthmian standards, desperately lacked quality for about 89 minutes and 50 seconds.
In familiar fashion, Rob Tolfrey provided the first of these about fifteen minutes from time, with the game still goalless. Hendon attacked down the right and a low cross picked out Leon Smith. Somehow, Tolfrey reacted to keep out his powerful close-range effort, which no goalkeeper of any level would have been criticised for conceding.
Such was Ks' toothlessness that it's hard to imagine they could have come back from a goal down. But with the scores level, Tommy Williams introduced Malachi Hudson seven minutes from time. Short of form and confidence he may have been in recent weeks but that only spurred him on to provide the second moment of magic, winning Ks the game.
He took the ball just inside his own half, determined to make an impact on the hitherto lacklustre encounter. That he did, beating three Dons, before wrong-footing goalkeeper Melvin Minter as he laid the ball off to debutant Brendan Murphy-McVey. Murphy-McVey had had a quiet game but curled home from the edge of the box to give Ks the lead four minutes from the end.
The win wasn't quite theirs, as Tolfrey had to save well almost immediately and then deep into stoppage time Kezie Ibe slipped after being teed up by the chest of makeshift striker Mark Kirby. He skied his shot in the process, gifting Ks the points and leaving them outside the playoffs only on goal difference.
Until the late flurry of activity a win for either side seemed unlikely, such was the game's insipid nature. On about ten seconds Peter Dean look last week's Messi comparison to heart, hitting three keepie-uppies on the turn before volleying just wide from the edge of the box. But that was the first and only time Ks threatened in the first half and Hendon were no better, only coming close when Smith fired over the bar into the KRE seating.
The second half was somewhat better. Ty Smith's long-range effort forced Minter to tip wide and when the resulting corner was cleared only as far as Dan Bennett he fizzed it over. Dylan Casey came close with a free kick, Dave Diedhiou did with a volley, Ibie missed a chance and Sam Page struggled to get a shot off when a corner broke to him. There was little to suggest either side would win it; but then came Tolfrey and Hudson.
Match report by Simon Grier.