Hendon 1 – 1 Wealdstone

Hendon 1 – 1 Wealdstone
Ryman League Premier Division

1 - 1

KO: 19:45 | Tue 24th Jan ’12

Wealdstone drew their third league game in a row on Tuesday night as they were held 1-1  with near neighbours Hendon in a battling but ultimately frustrating display.

Although this result extends their run to just one defeat in 25 outings, they have drawn four out of their last seven games and Stones need to turn these draws into wins if they are to close the gap on the top five.

With the pitch at Vale Farm having survived the day’s earlier downpour, it was Stones who started the match the brighter of the two sides and they could have opened the scoring within the first three minutes.

Kurtney Brooks won a crunching tackle in midfield with the loose ball falling to Richard Jolly who carried the ball towards goal. As Jolly got to the edge of the box Ryan Wharton desperately tried to get back to make a challenge but he could only clumsily haul down the striker right on the edge of the box. It looked like Wharton had been the last man; however the referee opted to show the Dons defender just a yellow rather than the red that the huge contingent Wealdstone fans following were baying for.

Stones continued to enjoy greater possession early on at the home side stood off, and James Archer put in a great block on Jolly as the Stones top scorer hit a shot on the turn from just inside the box, before Brooks drove the ball narrowly wide from 20 yards.

After the decent start from Stones, Hendon began to get a foothold on proceedings as they were allowed to claw back possession in the middle of the park.

Elliot Godfrey had the home side’s first real chance of the evening on 28 minutes, hitting a volley first time from the edge of the box after a cross from Scott Cousins, however his effort sailed wide.

Former Stones striker Greg Ngoyi was looking lively for Hendon,  wanting to make an impression against his former employers, but he should have done better with a chance seven minutes before the break, snatching at a shot after a good ball from Elliot Charles.

Ngoyi did fare better on the stroke of half time though when he gave his side the lead. Former Ipswich and Brighton midfielder Darren Currie showed all his experience to thread a superb through ball to Ngoyi who was able to prod the ball past North from close range with an outstretched foot.

Wealdstone began the second half in a lot livelier fashion than they had ended the first, and they were able to bring the game level six minutes after the restart.

David Hicks seized on a loose ball in midfield and carried the ball forward before unleashing a low drive from 20 yards which snuck past Hendon ‘keeper Berkley Laurencin and nestled in the bottom corner.

The goal seemed to inject much needed life into Wealdstone, and it was only some superb goalkeeping from Laurencin which then kept the scores level. Brooks cut inside from the left hand side before letting fly with a dipping shot from 20 yards which was destined for the top corner. Laurencin was able to dive at full stretch though and claw the ball away brilliantly for a corner.

The game had become increasingly stretched as both teams looked to take the lead, and Ngoyi saw his header deflected just wide at one end before Britt Assombalonga volleyed straight at Laurencin at the other.

It was in the last few minutes that Hendon had their best chances to take all three points.

First , Jonathan North had to be quick off his line to block a close range shot from Godfrey before the former Watford ‘keeper pulled off an outstanding save in injury time. Substitute Karl McCloskey was able to turn on the edge of the box before unleashing an effort which was heading for the bottom corner, with North showing great reflexes to dive full stretch to his left to palm the ball away to ensure his side took home a point.

There were Injury worries on a bruising night for Stones as both O’Leary and Hicks went off injured

Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Chappell, Sterling, Cronin, Brooks, Smith, Hicks (Fitzgerald 77), O’Leary (Dean 68), Jolly, Assombalonga . Subs not used Poniskaitis, Goodman.

By Stuart Warren