By Pete Martin – Cover image by Andrew Palk
The first trip of the season into London for Salisbury FC saw them come away from Hendon FC with a point following a goalless draw. There was just 1 change from the midweek win at home to Swindon Supermarine; Theo Lewis dropping to the bench with Ryan Penny coming in to start.
It was Hendon who made the brightest start; Salisbury struggling to hold onto the ball early on and on 4 minutes Josh Gould was called into action, comfortably holding Niko Muir-Merchant’s strike from outside the box. 6 minutes later the same player had the ball in the net from a corner but the linesman’s flag saw celebrations cut short for the home side. A Charlie Gunson free-kick hit straight into the wall was the first real sight of goal for the visitors and as the half went on they started to grow into the game with the right-hand side of the team starting to become influential. On 25 minutes Aaron Simpson and Josh Hedges linked up well to feed Gunson driving into the box, but the midfielder saw the ball blocked behind for a corner. 3 minutes later, the game’s best chance so far arrived and it came the way of Salisbury. Good link up play by James Harding saw him feed it wide to Simpson and his near post cross found Noah Coppin making a great run across the defence, but the wide man could only flick his header over the bar from close range. As the game ticked towards half time chances were few and far between at either end until in time added on Shaun Lucien drew a fine save from Gould when he tried his luck from distance, but neither team could find a first half breakthrough.
As had been the case in the 1st half, it was the home side who started brightest in the 2nd and just 2 minutes into it Muir-Merchant fired a rasping shot over the bar, before Billy Leonard did likewise with Muir-Merhcant involved again. On 54 minutes Gould again had to be alert to push Joe White’s shot away when the ball fell to him from an errant defensive header. Salisbury were struggling to pose much attacking threat and were indebted to Gould again when he brilliantly denied Muir-Merchant with the attacker well placed in the box. The Whites finally managed to pose a threat on 76 minutes, substitute Dan Fitchett forcing a low save from Matt Kerbey with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box. Hendon continued to look dangerous and on 83 minutes only a brilliant last ditch block from Simpson denied White a goal, before Florian Envoudou Ada hit his shot wildly over the bar from a good position. Late on the Whites had 2 good chances to snatch a win but firstly Kerbey got down low to deny Jamar Smith at the near post, before a quick break from a Hendon set piece saw Hedges nearly set through but he was eventually blocked out and when the ball fell to Penny his weak shot dribbled wide as the game finished goalless and maintained both sides unbeaten records.
Salisbury are back at the Ray Mac on Saturday 26th August when they welcome Hungerford Town for the first ever time in a 3pm kick off.
Team: Gould, Simpson, Smith, Leggett, Jombati, Penny, McCreadie, Gunson, Hedges, Coppin(Lewis), Harding(Fitchett) Unused Subs: Osei, D Arnold, Lahan.