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Hendon 2-3 Kingstonian

At Hendon last year, Alan Dowson ripped up his championship-winning team to dramatic effect and this year also saw changes for Ks' visit to Vale Farm, as he reverted from a flat back four to last season's wing-back formation.

Like last year, it worked in curtailing a slump, albeit one far less severe, while also going back to last year's habit of seeing high-scoring games - Ks winning by the odd goal in five compared to the trifecta of single-goal encounters which preceded the match.

It looked as if Dowson's tactical revisions were going to pay spectacular dividend when Ks raced into a two goal lead. From then on, however, a Hendon side who were remarkably adept at retaining possession dominated the game, eventually clambering back to 2-2 after a pair of impressive long-range shots. Their parity was short-lived however, when a Dean Lodge strike restored the lead for Ks. This time, it was not surrendered.

If Ks were looking to bounce back from two poor defeats, they could not have made a better start. A Lodge shot was blocked and fell to Tom Bird on the wing, whose effort on the left went straight into the net over the head of Bradley Laurencin. Bird may wish to claim that the goal was deliberate but Dowson was having none of it, and few Ks fans would argue with his deeming the goal a fluke.

Jamie Busby fired wide for Hendon but the extra attacking license which the fomration gave to Bird and Dean Hamlin reaped further reard on 23 minutes. The former's deep cross was met by the latter, who headed into the ground. It bounced over Laurencin to put Ks two the good, with the fans beginning to optimistically dream of the five-goal cushion which would have put Ks top of the league on goal difference.

Instead, after Bobby Traynor fired over, it was Hendon who began to look much the better side. Lee O'Leary pulled one back by beating Rob Tolfrey from distance and Belal Aite-Oukarim might have scored another when an errant clearance from Tolfrey went straight to him. Fortunately for the visitors, the goalkeeper recovered his ground to save comfortably.

Adam Thompson cleared an effort off the line and Tolfrey had to make another good save just after the break before O'Leary fired narrowly over. Paul Robinson hit the bar from distance and Tolfrey did well to save an O'Leary free kick as The Dons ratcheted up the pressure. They were, however, fortunate not to concede a penalty when Michael Peacock appeared to push Lodge as he chased a long ball over their defence.

Max Hustwick also cleared off the line but the pressure eventually told, when after a seemingly infinite period of Hendon knocking the ball around with Ks' only method of stopping them being the foul, Lee Busby fired a powerful effort past Tolfrey from thirty yards - the second impressive strike from distance to beat the goalkeeper.

Instead of letting their heads drop though, Ks struck straight back. James Parker clattered into the back of Traynor but not before the striker had sent Dean Lodge through on goal. He rounded Laurencin and then beat the defender on the line to put Ks 3-2 up.

Hendon did not seem to recover mentally from the sucker-punch and it was Ks who had the better chances late on with Lodge firing narrowly wide from a tight angle and debutant Gomez Dali's pace cutting the home side open before he fired a weak shot when a pass to Carl Wilson-Denis may have been the better option. Ks could feel they'd beaten a good side, however, and keep themselves at the sharp end of the league table despite their recent slips.

Mon 20th Sep 2010
Vale Farm (Wembley FC)
Isthmian League Premier
Bird, Hamlin, Lodge
1Rob Tolfrey
2Dean HamlinCautioned
3Tom Bird
4Max Hustwick
5Gary MacDonald12
6Jean-Sylvain Dossou
7Matt GrayCautioned
8Adam Thompson
9Bobby Traynor16
10Lee HallCautioned
11Dean Lodge14
12Tobi Jinadu5
14Carl Wilson-Denis11
15Sam Clayton
16Gomez Dali9
17Nic Taylor
Match Report By
Simon Grier