Rams Man of the Match - Reece Yorke
In a wind and rain lashed encounter at Holloways Park Hendon and Beaconsfield battled out a scoreless draw in a contest long on brawn and effort and short on brain and finesse.
Hendon, without a league victory since early December, set the tone for the afternoon as early as the fourth minute.
Bajram Pashaj exchanged passes with Mayowa Balogun on the left flank and turned upfield. He easily out-paced Sergio Manesio and advanced up the wing. Luke Tingey was drawn out from the centre as Pashaj knocked the ball into space down the line. Realising he was beaten and with no thought for the ball the centre half took aim, dropped his shoulder and cynically barged Pashaj out of play. The winger, at full pace was struck squarely with such force that he careened into the perimeter wall. He immediately screamed in pain as the impact left him with a suspected dislocated left shoulder.
During the ensuing eight-minute delay to proceedings referee Lisa Benn, who apparently did not consider the challenge constituted serious foul endangering an opponent, showed Tingey a yellow card rather than the red one most observers thought the challenge clearly deserved.
The upshot was the early introduction of Dan Brown to square up to his little brother Bayley in the midfield with The Rams reverting to a 3-5-2 with Jordan ‘AJ’ Ajanlekoko dropping to the right hand-side of a formidable defensive trio.
AJ was, not for the first time this season, at the centre of the best chance of the half at the other end. After the stoppage Mayo Balogun, played in by Louis Stead, worked a crossing position on the left but dwelt allowing Manesio to make up ground and divert the ball behind for a corner. Louis Stead’s delivery to the far post found AJ unmarked at the angle of the six-yard box. He met the ball on the volley, electing to side foot his shot rather than putting his laces to the ball as he did to memorable effect last season at Hayes. His effort smashed off the face of the far post and away to safety with Danny Boness beaten and Lee Chappell scrambling to cover.
For the visitors Howard Hall and Shaquille H-Patrick were lively and threatening down the right but were receiving little back up from the supporting cast as the first half settled into a fractious, scrappy affair. Hendon probed down the right and launched long balls, long throws and a couple of corners at the Rams defence which by and large coped without Ravan Constable being extended as Lewis Toomey was well marshalled by Luke Neville, Reece Yorke and AJ who dominated in the air.
On occasions when The Rams broke quickly the visitors were happy to follow Tingey’s lead with a series of cynical fouls snuffing out pacey breaks and allowing them to re-organise and defend in numbers. Tactics which drew yellow cards for Lee Chappell and Romario Jones. As an attacking force Toomey’s only serious chance of the half was presented by a lapse in concentration between Constable and Reece Yorke who conspired to present a short goal kick to the striker 25 yards from goal but before he could punish the error Luke Neville stepped in to snuff out the danger. Chances were few and far between and neither keeper was particularly extended before half time.
Louis Stead flashed an angled volley wide of the post after a poor clearing header from Romario Jonas and at the other end Charlie Smith, lively throughout but somewhat starved of possession, was instrumental in Hendon’s best move of the first half. Nipping in to win the ball in midfield he fed Shaquille H-Patrick who laid the ball into the path of Toomey. Forced slightly wide of goal Toomey pulled his low cross back beyond the far post where Ryan Hope, on the stretch and under pressure from Mayowa Balogun, slid his effort into the side netting.
Half time 0-0
The home-side started brightly and were quickly on the front foot in the second half.
Louis Stead seemed to be at the centre of everything in the initial stages, stinging Boness’ fingers with a 20-yard drive and combining with Mayo Balogun who was fouled 25 yards out. Stead’s resulting free kick dipped just over the bar.
Hendon kept their shape and stuck to their task making a double substitution on 63 minutes as James Gray tried to add some attacking threat, introducing the pace of Ogo Obi and Jacob Gardiner Smith.
The changes did not divert the second half tide as The Rams dominated possession and forced a succession of free kicks in and around the midfield without seriously extending the visitor’s back line.
On the rare occasions the line was breached the off-side flag came to their aid as strike partners Brendan Matthew and Marvin Morgan were sometimes over eager to get in on goal.
Behind the backline Boness was equal to whatever The Rams could throw including a fine flying tip over from another Louis Stead goal bound effort. In truth, though, clear chances were at a premium with most efforts being shots from range.
The introduction of Jon-Jo Bates for Marvin Morgan added some pace and guile to the forward play but Jon-Jo was quickly frustrated at the physical approach of the visitors culminating in the sending off of Romario Jonas for a second yellow pulling back on Bates’ shirt as the striker drove in on the edge of the area.
That said the visitors could have nicked it. Mayo Balogun smashed a clearance into the back of Luke Neville in the left back position and fell over the stricken centre back presenting substitute Ogo Obi with possession. He advanced into the box and pulled a low cross to the far post where Gardiner Smith could not direct his effort on target.
Even against 10 men, despite controlling possession and moving the ball well The Rams could not find the moment of quality to secure the three points.
1. Ravan Constable
2. Callum Webb
3. Mayowa Balogun
4. Reece Yorke
5. Luke Neville
6. Wes Daly © (Sub12 Nathan Webb 83)
7. Louis Stead
8. Jordan Ajanlekoko
9. Brendan Matthew
10. Marvin Morgan (Sub 15 Jon-Jo Bates 71)
11. Bajram Pashaj (Sub 14 Dan Brown 12)
Subs Not Used:
16, Aaron Minhas
17. Kamil Zelechowski
Manager: Gary Meakin
1. Danny Boness
2. Howard Hall
3. Lee Chappell ©
4. Sergio Manesio
5. Luke Tingey
6. Romario Jonas [Red card 88]
7. Ryan Hope
8. Bayley Brown
9. Lewis Toomey (Sub13 Ogi Obi 63)
10. Shaquille H-Patrick
11. Charlie Smith (Sub12 Jacob Gardiner-Smith 63)
Subs Not Used:
14. Brendan Murphy McVey
15. Gianni Crichlow
17. Scott McGleish
Manager: James Gray
Ref: Ms Lisa Benn
Assistants: Mr John Okole - Mr Mark Forman