Hendon 0 Lowestoft Town 1
Lowestoft bounce back after Saturday's dissapointment, to beat a tough Hendon side 1-0 at Vale Farm.
Hendon: Laurencin, Wharton, McCluskey, Fisher, Brathwaite (Mazzone 69 mins), Maclaren, Cracknell, Murray, Ngoyi (Rankin 69 mins), Aite-Ouakrim (Diedhiou 46 mins), Gambin. Subs; Hall, Rankin, Diedhiou, Kennedy, Mazzone
Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Saker, Gaughran, Mitchell, Ainsley, Smith, Fisk, Jones, Francis, Henderson, Frew. Subs; Eagle, Cunningham, Cockrill, Okay, Nelson
Lowestoft made the tough trip to an always competitive Hendon, who even with ten men, made Lowestoft work for the points in a 1-0 victory for The Trawlerboys.
Lowestoft created plenty of chances and could have won by more but the side defended well at the back and with Henderson and Smith putting in a superb showing, Lowestoft ran out worthy winners against a Hendon side who are currently in a false league position.
The game was preceded with a minutes silence for Remembrance Day before the teams kicked off on a boggy pitch, which was soft under foot.
The game started at a ferocious pace with both teams finding their men and knocking it about well.
Lowestoft had the first chance of the game with a good move on the break, seeing the ball worked across midfield to Smith and then Saker at pace, who delivered into the box and after a poor clearance the ball dropped to Henderson, who sent a sweet volley in which just cleared the bar.
Hendon were seeing possession also and sending a few balls into the Lowestoft box but they were all being dealt with by a solid Gaughran and Mitchell.
Lowestoft carved out the first of many chances to be put together by Henderson and Smith but with Smith bursting down the right after being found by a great ball from Henderson, the cross was returned to Henderson in the box but an offside flag put a stop to the move.
Not long passed before Henderson and Smith were at it again, combining well and ending up with Smith releasing a super shot across the goal, producing an outstanding save by the keeper Laurencin.
Lowestoft were testing Hendon now and on twelve minutes and after a couple of good chances, Lowestoft took the lead. A great cross from the right corner by Mitchell was delivered to the far post and drilled in off the post from close in by Henderson for 1-0.
Lowestoft came close to making it two moments later, with Francis sending in a good ball from the left and Frew sending a header over the bar at the far post, when he probably should have done better.
Lowestoft had the edge of the game but whenever Hendon were in possession they passed it well and were always looking to the right wing as an outlet with the numbers 11 (Gambin) and 2 (Wharton) offering themselves up.
Hendon's first real sight on goal came from Gambin on the right, going on a good run and cutting inside to lay back for Murray but his shot was weak and Jessup claimed with ease.
With twenty five minutes on the clock and after a good game so far, Hendon found themselves down to ten men, with the number 7 (Cracknell) going in over the top on Saker and being shown a straight red.
Hendon in fairness didn't let the sending off get to them though and held their own, even though they were struggling to find their way past a solid Lowestoft rear guard.
With Gaughran and Mitchell looking solid at the back and Smith and Henderson giving Hendon lots of problems, all that was missing was a second goal for Lowestoft.
Francis nearly got that second goal for the blues with a kick forward finding Henderson, who nodded on to Francis in the area, only for Francis to have his shot saved by the keeper from the angle.
Even with one man less, Hendon were trying to impose themselves more but Lowestoft were putting in some hard work, closing Hendon down and keeping them penned in.
Another Smith and Henderson exchange in the area opened up a chance in front of an open goal but the resulting shot from Francis was blocked and the ensuing scramble ended without a goal for Lowestoft.
The blues had created plenty of chances but with the game at 1-0 it was still finely posed and Hendon came mightily close to levelling the scores with Murray bending a great shot from the edge of the area, beating Jessup all ends up but seeing him get the faintest of touches on the ball to send it onto the bar.
It was a pretty low attendance but some of the regular Lowestoft travelling supporters were in attendance and a couple of those supporters were making a great level of noise, singing really loud and getting right behind the team; great stuff!!
With the half coming to a close, Lowestoft had to see out a couple of late corners with the ref indicating 2 minutes injury time but playing at least 4. However, with Henderson and Smith on the same wavelength and looking in great nick today, hopes were high for the second half.
Hendon started the second half with a change, bringing on the number 15 (Diedhiou) for the number 10 (Aite-Ouakrim).
It took a few moments for the sides to settle into the game again but when they did Lowestoft nearly increased their lead, with Francis stealing the ball off the substitute Diedhiou and bursting forward to send a shot just wide from the angle but winning a corner after a touch from the defender. From the resulting corner Henderson had a free header and a great chance to extend the lead but he sent his header wide of the target and held his head in his hands in disappointment.
Lowestoft were starting to yet again knock the ball around and the positive was that they were creating plenty of changes but were guilty of not taking some.
Hendon for a moment looked like they were going to be sent down to nine men, with the number 9 (Ngoyi) flying in on Ainsley, however the card was yellow and probably just about the right decision but if the tackle had of been any higher then it could have been red.
Hendon to their credit were still not showing signs of being a team with ten men and started to apply a little pressure of their own with some good football, in a game which was good to watch as a spectator.
The Henderson and Smith show continued to cause Hendon problems and at the end of another move by the deadly duo, Smith was brought down on the edge of the area and the resulting free-kick zipped just past the far top hand corner from Francis.
Hendon made their two final changes in the 69th minute, in the hope of snatching a leveller in the game.
However, it was Lowestoft who continued to create and again it was Henderson and Smith combining to carve another chance out, ending with a Smith shot going the wrong side of the post.
Lowestoft were playing great when coming forward and should have been more than one up but for all their great approach play and chances they only had one goal to show and even though he was trying, Frew wasn't proving to be anywhere near as effective as Henderson and Smith.
As the game entered its final moments, Hendon were really trying to get something and Lowestoft were looking a little bit nervy at the back, knowing that they were only 1-0 up, but for all their efforts Lowestoft held them off.
Henderson looked like he was going to put the game to bed for Lowestoft, making his way into the Hendon area with good strength but a great tackle by Wharton came in just as he was looking to pull the trigger.
With the seconds ticking down, a ball came into the Lowestoft area from deep in the right hand corner but a half chance for Hendon to grab a late and undeserved equaliser went begging, as the ball was weakly headed behind from close in.
The final whistle sounded shortly after and Lowestoft had secured a solid three points against a tough team who are never easy to beat on their own turf. It was also a welcomed away clean sheet in the league with a solid and confident defensive showing.
Lowestoft would love to have Mitchell in midfield but with the injuries in defence at present he had to pair up again with Gaughran at the back and the partnership was solid and uncompromising, repelling any efforts Hendon tried to muster on the Lowestoft goal. The performance of Saker also has to be mentioned again, as since stepping in for the sidelined Gleeson he has been consistent in his play, showing great defensive abilities and a quality when coming forward with the ball to deliver into the box.
However, the main credit for the day has to go to Henderson and Smith who struck up a wonderful understanding today and with them being both on the same wavelength they terrorized the Hendon backline on numerous occasions, with their quick touches and one/two exchanges.
Yes the team were guilty of missing a few chances but if they keep creating like this then the goals will start to come more frequently and eventually some team could end up being on the end of a hefty defeat at the hands of this talented Lowestoft outfit.
When it comes to the Man of the Match, even though he didn't take some of his chances, Smith just beat Henderson to the honours for me, with his confident play and almost floating across the pitch surface with the ball at his feet at times.
This was a good performance and an excellent away result at a tough ground, giving the team a solid foundation to take into their next game on Saturday, at home to Bognor Regis Town.