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Hendon 2-1 Kingstonian

Despite taking the lead early on, Kingstonian suffered defeat to Hendon on Saturday, just days before they meet at Imber Court for the London Senior Cup final. It was a game which the hosts probably edged, although both sides lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

Hendon's Carl McCluskey squandered the first chance of the game in just the first minute after his header from an early free kick flicked just wide of the post. Clayton went close for K's five minutes in as he sent a curling effort from 25 yards just over the bar.

Seven minutes in some nice passing play by Kingstonian got the ball to Woods on the edge of the box. His shot was deflected to Traynor on the left-hand side of the penalty area. His cross found Saheed Sankoh, whose header rattled the crossbar. Three successive corners resulted from that chance and it was with the third that K's took the lead. The ball was floated to Tom Hutchinson at the back post, who headed powerfully. The keeper saved well low down to his right but could only parry to the feet of Sankoh, who tucked the ball home.

Kingstonian's advantage lasted just a minute, however, when, in the eighth minute, a ball over the top found Isaiah Rankin on the right-hand side of the six-yard box. His shot across goal found McCluskey at the far post, who had an easy finish into an open goal.

Ten minutes later a good ball from Ryan Wharton found the run of Rankin. Rankin then played another good ball into the path of Scott Shulton, but his first attempt was miscued. The clearance, however, was also miscued, which presented Shulton with another chance. His stab at goal could only find the crossbar, however, and the ball was cleared. Four minutes later and Hendon came close again, after an excellent surging run from Scott Cousins. He managed to hold off two challenges as he carried the ball goalward, before playing a low, hard ball into the Kingstonian box. Aaron Goode, playing at centre-back alongside Hutchinson, did very well to clear a difficult ball.

Rankin had a chance in the 31st minute, after a ball over the top left him one-on-one with Rob Tolfrey. His header was a poor one, however, and the chance was wasted. Six minutes later a clever corner found Elliot Godfrey unmarked on the edge of the box. He took his volley first time and, despite timing it well, couldn't hit the target, as the ball flew just over the bar and away for a goalkick.

Five minutes before the break Kingstonian almost had a second, as Tom Bird did well to skip past two Hendon players before playing a neat ball into Saheed Sankoh. Sankoh hit the byline and then did well to beat the incoming challenge. His cross, though, was squirmed away by the Hendon defence.

Just before the break, Shulton did well for Hendon, as he won the ball in the middle of the Kingstonian half and proceeded to carry it up to the halfway line. He then used the striker as a decoy to play a through ball past the K's defence only to run on and collect it himself. He continued with his run into the box, before firing wide of the far post.

It was in added time in the first half when a through ball found Rankin again in a one-on-one with Tolfrey. The striker managed to loop the ball over Tolfrey, but it didn't quite have the legs to cross the line, as backtracking Ryan Woods got to the ball before onrushing Shulton to clear the ball off the line, before being awarded a free kick.

At half time, Gary MacDonald came on for Tom Bird, with Aaron Goode shifting to right-back and Page switching to the left, as MacDonald slotted in alongside Hutchinson in central defence.

Whilst Hendon had had the edge in the first half, Kingstonian were enjoying slightly more of the ball in the first fifteen minutes of the second half and playing a lot of football in Hendon's half. They lacked that end product, however, and it was Hendon who had the first real chance of the second period. A Kingstonian backpass came up short and Rankin again found himself in the clear attacking the Kingstonian goal. His lofted effort, however, fell well wide of the post.

As the final quarter of the game approached, both sides were wasting good opportunities and failing to capitalise on good positions. Twice in a matter of minutes Kingstonian had efforts from 20 yards blocked, whilst Darren Currie wasted a promising chance for the hosts. He was in a good position on the right hand side of the box, but delayed his cross, despite having two men over, thereby allowing the Kingstonian defenders to get back and danger was averted.

In the 78th minute Goode played an impressive cross field ball to Ryan Woods on the left wing. He provided a good cross to Pattison who headed back into the middle for Sankoh. Sankoh's header, however, lacked power and proved an easy save for Berkley Laurencin in the Hendon goal.

Jerome Federico came on for Hendon in the 82nd minute and made an immediate impact. Just a minute later, he collected the ball and played a perfectly weighted ball down the inside right channel for Rankin. Rankin then squared the ball across the six-yard box where Jack Mazzone was waiting to turn it in.

And Federico could easily have had two himself, as he twice found himself in an identical position inside the six-yard box in the dying minutes. Both times, however, Tolfrey was equal to him and produced two very good saves low down to his right, keeping the score at a more respectable, and probably fairer 2-1.

Sat 14th Apr 2012
Vale Farm (Wembley FC)
Isthmian League Premier
1Rob Tolfrey
2Chris Page
3Tom Bird12
4Aaron Goode
5Tom Hutchinson
6Ian Gayle
7Luke Wanadio15
8Ryan Woods
9Bobby Traynor14
10Saheed Sankoh
11Sam Clayton
12Gary MacDonald3
14Allan Tait9
15Matt PattisonCautioned7
16Louis-Rae Beadle
17Jake Whincup
Match Report By
Sam Bryant