|Competition:||Middlesex Senior Cup|
|Date:||Tuesday 17 January 2017|
A much-needed tonic for Hendon's recent woes in the Ryman League came in the shape of a rare victory at Enfield Town's Queen Elizabeth Stadium in the quarter-final of the Middlesex Senior Cup, a triumph that will see Hendon face Wealdstone at Silver Jubilee Park in the semi-final.
On a cold night which saw a layer of frost appear on the pitch as the game progressed, it was the visitors who departed with an incredibly pleasing win under their belts in an even encounter that could have seen the score line both higher and closer if both teams had brought their shooting boots with them.
The opening stages of the game were an evenly-marched and cagey affair, the notable features of which were a header from Hendon striker Elliot Charles which just missed the target and a worrying hold-up in play as Hendon keeper Tom Lovelock received prolonged treatment for a foot injury. With no cover on the bench, the tension on the Hendon bench and terrace was palpable. Manager Gary McCann remarked that "I must mention the bravery of Tom Lovelock the goalkeeper. We thought we would have to put Casey in goal when he got hurt, but Tom volunteered to play on and did very well." It should be noted that various Hendon defenders were tasked - with differing levels of success - of taking goal kicks after Lovelock's injury.
There followed a procession of near misses and fluffed chances, both sides guilty of shooting wide or high or over hitting set pieces. Hendon then took the game by the scruff of the neck with a dominant passage of play: Marcel Barrington saw a shot turned round the post by Enfield keeper Nathan McDonald; Dave Diedhiou saw his shot from the resultant corner miss the target; and Barrington went close again, this time with a header.
Enfield were next on the offensive, Hendon defender Arthur Lee conceding a free kick on the edge of the box - picking up a yellow card in the process. The Enfield free kick hit the wall before the follow-up shot was headed over the bar by a Hendon player. The remainder of the first half saw Luke Tingey replaced by Quba Gordon, plus one more chance for either side: Casey Maclaren heading over the Enfield bar from a free kick and Enfield's Billy Crook being thwarted by a last-ditch tackle when put through. Despite the lack of goals, the first half was an entertaining affair nonetheless.
The opening exchanges of the second half saw Harold Joseph pick up a yellow card for the home side shortly before Karl Oliyide scored the first of his three goals of the evening. After an uncharacteristic error by former Hendon stalwart Mark Kirby, Oliyide was played through and he stylishly lifted the ball over the onrushing McDonald and into the net. McDonald subsequently produced an excellent point-blank save to deny Oliyide his second goal.
With Matt Ball replacing Laste Dombaxe in the 65th minute, Hendon were soon pressing to extend their advantage and Oliyide again obliged, with a near identical goal to grab his, and Hendon's second of the night.
Enfield were at pains to narrow the differential and came close a couple of times, with Enfield sub Percy Kiangebeni first shooting wide and then failing to capitalise on what appeared to be an extremely clear-cut chance with just the keeper to beat.
Marcel Barrington had two chances to build on Hendon's two goal advantage, but on both occasions seeing his vehement shots just clear the crossbar. It was Oliyide who claimed his hat trick and sealed the win for Hendon. Played through unselfishly by the impressive Keagan Cole, he found himself unmarked in the box and smashed the ball home, notching up double figures for the season in the process. There was still time for Harry Ottaway to slot home a consolation goal for Enfield, but not enough time for a full comeback, so it was the Greens who left the ground with a spring in their step.
McCann was full of praise for his team, noting that "we played really well and thoroughly deserved to win the game. In fact, we might have won more comfortably than 3-1. There is beginning to be a real feeling of togetherness and fighting spirit about the squad. We all played for each other and got our rewards. I was especially pleased for Karl Oliyide getting his hat-trick. He is a lovely, humble young man who has worked very hard for me this season and he is now in double figures in goals scored."
|12||Bobby Devyne||for 11 , 58|
|14||Percy Kiangebeni||for 3 , 68|
|15||Tyler Campbell||for 9 , 58|
|12||Matt Ball||for 8 , 80|
|15||Quba Gordon||for 5 , 44|
|16||Sam Murphy||for 9 , 65|
|17||Andre Da Costa|