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Hendon 1-1 Kingstonian

Claremont Road on a Tuesday night. It could have been scripted - cold, wet and miserable. One thing the scriptwriters clearly forget to include was the traffic chaos on the North Circular Road. With no less than seven braves ready to do battle for K's, kick-off was delayed as both sides waited to fill their contingents. As the 8.00 start time approached, the foul weather picked up again as the gusting winds swept the rain across the sparsely populated ground. The clear winner tonight was to be Hendon's new drainage system and pitch, providing a fine playing surface for the game.

Dave Clarke had endured the most frustrating road trip and was able only to make the bench. Club captain Peter Barnsby stepped in for his first start of the season in place of Matt Flitter, presumably still sore from a knock on Saturday. Neil Lampton was given a start, and pushed further upfield than James Pinnock to provide the latest support for sole recognised frontman Tim Sills, whilst Phil Wingfield made a welcome return from injury.

The game a few minutes old, Lance Key was called into his first action of the night, parrying well at his near post from a Steve Forbes strike. The wind made life difficult for both sides, and Hendon stuck it up high to test the K's rearguard, who coped well in the box. Steve Butler and Ian Duncan did manage to sneak in at the back post but were both unable to make the necessary connections to cause any damage.

Midway through the half and old adversary David Hook escaped punishment when his clearance landed dangerously short. The experienced 'keeper was able to return to position by the time Tim Sills had taken charge of the ball to comfortably take the strike into his grasp. Ian Duncan had one of the better chances of the half as he ran with the ball towards Key's goal, but the Dons player was unable to control his shot as it flew high and over into the darkness.

The second half started with a bang as Paul Towler met a Keiran Gallagher cross at the far post and headed goalwards from close range. Julian Sills tried in vain to slice the ball back out from under his crossbar, but to no avail and the home team celebrated. Only for the linesman's flag for offside to deny them the lead. A close decision, but a decision nonetheless.

Key was called into action to guard his goal on a couple of occasions, before James Pinnock's angled shot was parried by Hook. Bashiru Alimi thrust himself towards the ball in the middle of the box, but was denied possession by the flying challenges as the home defence completed Hook's stop. For the first time in the game, sustained pressure was building at the home end as Kingstonian moved forwards.

Tim Sills almost broke through on the left but was had to settle for a corner, to be taken by Pinnock. The first of a few good corners around the hour mark, it was this one that was to have the greatest impact. An inswinger, either by choice or wind, Hook had no option but to come to his six-yard line to attempt to punch it away but got it all wrong as he helped it into the back of his own net.

Midway through the second half, Alimi was brought down just outside the penalty area and Phil Wingfield stepped up to take the set piece. A clean strike over and round the wall, Hook did well to tip it around the upright to keep the margin at one goal.

Substitute Ricci Crace wasted a good effort for Hendon as he struck wide, though the momentum of the game was swinging back into Hendon's favour. Martin Randell and Craig Lewington tussled in the K's box awaiting a free kick delivery, resulting in a booking for the K's man and a subsequent tussle. It was from a free kick for offside, originally deep in the Hendon half until Hook moved it, that the Hendon equaliser came. With defenders and attackers unable to take the lofted ball, substitute Rob Haworth swung at it on the half-volley and his goalbound effort took a deflection off Eugine Ofori before going in low at Key's left post.

The game was now there for the taking, and with Hendon the likelier takers until Jamie Burgess was sent off for a second booking after hacking at K's substitute Mark Jones on the touchline. Tim Sills was guilty of a similar offence, and although his punishment was the solitary yellow card, it did lead to a multiple player scrap next to the Hendon goal. As things settled down, it was just left for the clock to tick away the final couple of minutes as the unbeaten and unbeaten-bar-one sides kept their records going with a fairly equally deserved share of the spoils.

Tue 15th Oct 2002
Claremont Road
Isthmian League Premier
1Lance Key
2Neil Lampton
3Sean Thurgood
4Craig LewingtonCautioned
5Peter Barnsby
6Julian Sills
7Liam Collins15
8Bashiru Alimi
9Tim SillsCautioned
10James Pinnock
11Phil Wingfield16
13Matt Sargeant
14Jamie Leacock
15Dave Clarke7
16Mark Jones11
Man of the Match
Sean Thurgood
Sean Thurgood
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi