|Competition:||Middlesex Senior Cup|
|Date:||Tuesday 15 November 2016|
Hendon kept alive their hopes of silverware at the end of the season with a narrow victory over cup-holders Northwood in the second round of the Middlesex Senior Cup. With both teams determined to play open, passing football, the match was entertaining with numerous chances at both ends.
After the defeat against Metropolitan Police, there were five changes to the Greens' line-up, Omar Vassell, Keagan Cole, Kezie Ibe, Karl Oliyide and Jerome Federico coming in for Arthur Lee, Spencer McCall, Niko Muir, Finbarr Robins and Channing Campbell-Young. All but Lee, injured on Saturday, were on the bench, where Mayowa Balogun took over from Gradi Milenge.
Hendon started well and looked comfortable in possession, with Federico looking particularly dangerous up front. Billy Collings had to make a sprawling save only once - from Ismael Ehui who, last season, played and scored for the Greens on his only appearance - whereas Montel Joseph was kept busy, making three good first-half saves.
Those three saves came from chances which really should have been taken by the Greens, who did have the ball in the net on two occasions. The assistant referee, however, had his flag raised for offside both times, so the goals did not stand.
Disappointingly for Hendon, seven minutes before half-time, Oliyide signalled he had an injury and left the pitch, to be replaced by Robins. The good news, after he had been assessed, was Oliyide had not suffered a recurrence of his injury, but merely discomfort from scar tissue, and he should be fit for the next game.
Four minutes later, Hendon took the lead. A raid down the right flank saw interplay between Luke Tingey, Vassell and Federico resulted in a cross from the last-named of them. Ibe lost his marker and lashed the ball into the net with aplomb, giving Joseph no chance.
In stoppage time at the end of the half, Hendon paid a heavy penalty for carelessness. Sam Murphy was defending beyond the far post on the left side and, under almost no pressure, tried to chest a cross back to Collings.
There was no communication between the two players and Collings could not reach the ball before it crossed the goal-line at the cost of a corner. The defending at the set-piece was equally disappointing, as James Burgess knocked the ball over the goal-line from inside the six-yard box. It was Burgessâs third goal of this season, matching his total in 324 Hendon appearances.
It did not take long for Hendon to regain their advantage. Two minutes after the resumption, the Greens enjoyed space and time to deliver a cross from a wide position. Ibe dragged defenders out of position with a dummy run and Federico ran onto the loose ball and drilled it - off the thigh of Burgess as he tried to block the shot - into the net, past the wrong-footed Joseph.
Hendon could have extended their lead on three or four occasions, but Power Simpson denied Ibe, Federico, Cole and Robins with saves of varying degrees of excellence. Just past the hour mark, Casey Maclaren was withdrawn, a planned move, and he was replaced by Balogun.
Northwood continued to probe the Hendon defence and Collings was beaten by a low shot which cannoned off the outside of the left post. The arrival of Lewis Bircham at the expense Ismael Ehui changed the way the Woods played, attacking with pace down the flanks.
He came closest to getting an equaliser with a powerful 25-yard drive that dipped late as it flew past Collings and bounced off the top of the crossbar. A few minutes from the end, Ollie Sprague produced a perfectly-timed tackle to dispossess a raiding Woods forward as he ran into the penalty area.
Hendon's last change saw McCall come on for Cole, again a precaution, with 10 minutes remaining. Northwood made their two final changes as they continued to hunt for the equaliser.
It meant the Woods left holes in their defence, but Hendon were unable to capitalise. For all their pressure, Northwood could not fashion a clear opening and Tingey, Leo Donnellan, who produced another solid performance, Sprague and Balogun did enough to protect Collings and ensure the Greens were able to see out time to book a quarter-final berth.
|15||Mayowa Balogun||for 5 , 62|
|16||Spencer McCall||for 8 , 79|
|17||Finbarr Robins||for 10 , 38|