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Hendon Under-21s gained quickfire revenge over Wilberforce Wanderers at Chase Lodge on Saturday afternoon. Just seven days after conceding two goals in the last few minutes to lose 3-2, they took an early stranglehold on this match and rarely looked like relinquishing it.
Joint manager Eamon Finn rang the changes in the light of the previous week's performance, giving debuts to Freddie Boffu and Nadir Bennacoeur. And it took the latter just three minutes to make his mark, scoring the opening goal. Hendon doubled their advantage 10 minutes before half-time. Awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty area, Stephen Cunningham - playing despite his mother passing away the day before the game - shot the ball goalwards and celebrated as a deflection ended up in the back of the net.
Wilberforce did get a toe-hold back in the game with a goal four minutes after the resumption, but Hendon were determined not to make the same mistakes they had made the previous week. And they achieved this, wearing down Wilberforce and regaining control. With 10 minutes to go, Cunningham grabbed his second goal to restore Hendon's two-goal advantage. Four minutes, Cunningham sealed the victory with a magnificent 30-yard strike to complete his hat-trick.
"This was a much-improved performance," said a happy Mr Finn. "I felt I had to make changes after last week and gave two players their debut, even though with both our goalkeepers out, full-back Jake Manzi had to play in goal again. We played very well today and deserved to win. I can't say enough about my man of the match, Stephen Cunningham. His mother died yesterday but he came to play and he scored a hat-trick."