U13s slip up at home to Hendon


The Dragons turned out in their brand new kit replete with new sponsor, Rough Trade, logo to host Hendon Youth this Sunday. The whiter than white shirt details were reminiscent of a washing powder commercial. But would they be able to take their opponents to the cleaners? Hendon were relegated from the division above at the end of last season so we knew they would pose a stern test.

The St. Mark’s pitch, patched up with sand filled pot-holes and ankle height grass, didn’t make for the best playing surface but both teams started brightly. Then with hardly any time played, it was like déjà vu as the visitors took the lead from a corner, the same way we had conceded 3 goals in our last match. But unlike the last game the Dragons didn’t cave in. They battled hard to work the ball through a congested midfield and Felix had a rasping shot parried by their keeper. It was developing into a very even match with both sides having their chances. The home side seemed over cautious and lacking killer instinct in front of goal and this was to prove costly. After 17 minutes the visitors had doubled their lead, after a swift break from a ball over the top. Waleed almost pulled one back for the Dragons direct from a corner but again the inspired Hendon keeper managed to keep the ball out of his net and Karim unluckily thundered the rebound against the bar.

Another Dragons attack saw the Hendon keeper make yet another save and from the resulting break Hendon made it 3 nil, which somewhat flattered the visitors. But the home team were pressing hard and it felt like a goal was coming. Jake drove forward down the right, crossed (or shot only he really knows) into the box and the ball looped over the keeper into the net. 1-3 at half time.

The second half resumed and the Dragons hit the bar for the third time. We were starting to think it was going to be one of those days. Jake had other ideas, however and when he notched up his second we were in touching distance and looking like the better side. An equalizer would have been nothing more than we deserved. Unfortunately Hendon exploited our defensive frailties twice more with their crude, yet effective, tactic. The long ball over the top for their pacey strikers to run on to. At 2-5 we were still in the game. Hendon’s unsportsman-like and frustrating time-wasting antics were proof that they knew we were still a potent force. Waleed slotted home to make it 3-5 and the final whistle bought the game to a close.

Wasn’t it Einstein that said ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of madness’? I’m not exactly sure if he was taking about football but he certainly could have been. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that we need to stop making the same silly defensive mistakes and giving teams a head start. Looking on the positive side, we could have genuinely had another 5 goals on another day and with another opposing goalkeeper between the posts. We looked really good in spells and that wasn’t just because of our brand new whiter than white kit.