Blues 1 Hendon 2
By LFC Media
Blues beaten but play off bound
The Blues ended their regular season with a defeat but have still secured a play off place for the first time ever in a MATCH SPONSORED BY BEACH VIEW HOLIDAY PARK. In front of a season best attendance (617) Hendon secured the points with a fourth straight win over the Blues thanks to two quick fire goals midway through the second half. Substitute Joe Marsden reduced the arrears and despite sustained Blues pressure Hendon held on to claim third spot and a home semi final against Folkestone Invicta while the Blues finished fifth and will travel to face Dulwich Hamlet on Thursday.
The match was an absorbing contest throughout, with the visitors victory seeing them finish in third place, meaning they will have home advantage against Folkestone Invicta in the semi-finals. Blues captain Tom Bullard was fit enough to start, having had four stitches in his knee after Tuesday night’s fixture while Chris Henderson came back into the squad after missing the midweek victory over Needham Market through injury. It was the home side who had the first chance. Patrick Brothers’ pass found Jake Reed whose delivery into the penalty area found Christy Finch but he couldn’t convert. Kyle Hammond’s corner was nervously punched away by away custodian Tom Lovelock and Tom Bullard’s effort was deflected over the crossbar. Casey Maclaren headed at Marcus Garnham moments later, while Garnham also saved Josh Walker’s strike. Jake Reed shot wide while Matt Blake was thwarted by Lovelock’s feet as the Blues striker raced clear into the Hendon box. Marcus Garnham saved excellently from Daniel Uchechi and late in the first half, an alert Byron Lawrence freed Christy Finch but he put his attempt wide of Lovelock’s left hand post.
The second half resumed with Hendon's Ashley Nathaniel-George twice shooting over in a matter of minutes, the second effort just inches wide. The home side should have taken the lead just before the hour mark. A flowing move released Matt Blake down the left flank and he provided the perfect pull back into the box for Christy Finch but he placed his shot wide of the goal. Patrick Brothers then fired just wide of Lovelock's goal as the home side started to turn the pressure before Marcus Garnham was called into action, flying across his goal to turn away Uchechi's free kick. But on 62 minutes Hendon broke the deadlock. Nathaniel-George picked up the ball on the left and cut inside to a central position before finishing brilliantly into Marcus Garnham’s top left hand corner. About a minute later the Blues were stunned as the visitors doubled their advantage, Uchechi with the neat finish after some clever build up play from the visitors. The Blues fought back strongly and seven minutes later were back in the contest when substitute Joe Marsden’s cross-cum-shot from the right evaded Lovelock and it found the net via his left hand post. Suddenly Leiston were in the ascendancy and with ten minutes remaining a rasping drive from Byron Lawrence was superbly tipped onto the bar by Lovelock. Jake Reed saw a header flash wide in the closing stages before Joe Marsden saw a right wing corner crash onto the bar and away to safety. This was the last action of a great game with both sides celebrating an end of season play off place.
FT - Blues 1 Hendon 2
Blues - Garnham, Hammond, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Blake (Marsden 66 mins), Reed, Finch (Henderson 66 mins), Brothers (Docherty 79 mins). Subs not used - Mills and Eagle.
Hendon - Lovelock, Hammond, Sprague, Tingey, Bray, Maclaren (Ball 88 mins), Uchechi, Murphy, Walker (Cole 88 mins), Muir (Joseph 82 mins), Nathaniel-George. Subs not used - Eggleton and Currie.
Match Sponsors BEACH VIEW HOLIDAY PARK Man of the Match - Patrick Brothers
Attendance - 617