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Match Report

Wingate & Finchley
2
Hendon
3
Date:
Tuesday 14 December 2010
Competition:
Middlesex Senior Cup
Attendance:
102
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon advanced to the quarter-final of the Middlesex Senior Cup and an January date with Hampton & Richmond Borough after scoring in the last 30 seconds of extra time to down Wingate & Finchley at the Abraham Stadium. According to the referee, there were about 30 seconds left of extra time when Lubomir Guentchev fired past Gavin King, leaving the Blues no time to hit back.

James Parker, Craig Vargas and Brian Haule were all unavailable due to injury or illness, joining the long-term absentees Kevin Maclaren and Belal Aite-Ouakrim, so Hendon brought Jonathan Coke, Lee O'Leary and Glenn Garner into the starting line-up. A couple of other players also took part in the match though far from fully fit, a virus having laid them low last week.

That said, Hendon's energy levels, especially in extra time, made all the difference as they were able to see off the high-flying Wingate & Finchley, who were knocked off top spot in the Ryman League Division One North last weekend. It was a very entertaining match, on a bitterly cold night, and the result was in doubt right up to the end of both the 90 minutes and extra 30.

Hendon started much the better and it was a little surprising that it took until the 21st minute for them to take the lead. By this time, unfortunately for the Blues, they had lost their only recognised available striker, David Laird, to an injury and it meant an early introduction for former Hendon favourite James Bent.

The Hendon goal showed just what the forwards were capable of producing. It started with a short pass from Eddie Munnelly to Guentchev, who quickly found Aaron Morgan. Morgan and Garner interchanged passes to leave the Wingate & Finchley defence hopelessly exposed. When Morgan played his second pass into the path of Garner, the striker had time to control the ball before lashing it past Gavin King.

Wingate & Finchley were level seven minutes later. The Hendon defence nervously cleared the ball out for a corner and failed to deal with the first set piece, conceding a second corner. This second corner was only half-cleared and Josh Cooper, standing on the edge of the penalty area, drilled a shot which took a deflection and went past both James Reading and Jonathan Coke, guarding the near post.

For most of the rest of the first half, it was Wingate & Finchley who were on top, but they did get a big break four minutes before the interval. More neat interplay released Garner and he had a couple of strides on Danny Nielson, the last defender. It was only the slightest of trips and Garner did not go down. He was, however, inconvenienced and his shot was well blocked by King.

Nevertheless, without the illegal intervention from Nielson, it is hard to consider it anything but an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The referee played an advantage and, when the ball next went out of play, showed Nielsen a yellow card. If he had stopped play when Hendon didn't take full advantage of the situation, it may well have been a card of another hue that was waved in the Blues skipper's direction.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Wingate & Finchley took the lead. There was more than a hint of offside as Cooper broke clear of the Hendon defence, but the assistant referee's flag stayed down. Three yards clear of Michael Peacock, Cooper steadied himself and fired past Reading.

Hendon drew level 11 minutes later when Garner made space for himself inside the penalty area and drilled a shot past King when set up by Guentchev.

Both teams made substitutions, Hendon giving first-team debuts to Barkley Miguel Panzo and Jon-Jo Bates, the son of former Greens skipper Jon-Barrie Bates, as they replaced Morgan and Coke, respectively. It meant a further defensive reshuffle with Scott Cousins dropping back into a defensive position. Wingate & Finchley brought on Jordan Fowler for Marc Henry.

Both teams had chances to win the game in the dying minutes of normal time. But the better ones undoubtedly were in Wingate & Finchley's favour. In the 87th minute, Gary Burrell struck a shot off the foot of the far post as he went more for placement than power. A minute later, Fowler fired over the bar from an excellent position. Hendon's best chance fell to Garner, but his shot was blocked by a defender.

In extra time the Greens began to exert control, but they did have one huge fright. After 102 minutes, Lewis Jones beat Casey Maclaren to the ball and smashed a spectacular volley into the net. The assistant referee, however, had spotted that Cooper was in an offside position when he set up the chance, so Wingate & Finchley cheers were stilled.

Danny Dyer came on for Garner midway through the first period of extra time and his pace certainly unsettled the home team. It also resulted in a yellow card for Ahmet Rifat, his third challenge which might have brought a yellow card from the pocket of a fussier referee.

With two minutes of the extra 30 remaining, Angus McLachlan came on for the injured Ola Williams. With the spectre of penalties looming, Hendon were determined to find a winner before the lottery.

They found it, in stoppage time. Another foray from Dyer down the right wing forced Joe O'Brien to assist Sam Sloma and none of the Wingate & Finchley midfielders had the energy to track back and cover the runs of Miguel Panzo, Jamie Busby and Guentchev.

The ball into the box found Guentchev, who struck a sweet drive past King's despairing dive before being mobbed by delighted teammates. There was barely time for the game to restart and when a hopeful ball for Jones to chase rolled towards Reading's feet, the goalkeeper allowed a few seconds to elapse before picking up the ball. He didn't need to kick it away as the final whistle blew.

"I am delighted that we were able to win the game before the penalty shoot-out," said manager Gary McCann, "and I am sorry for all the fans who had to brave extra time.

"It was a very open game, but I think we made their goalkeeper work harder than they made ours work. We had a couple of players who have been under the weather with a virus, but our energy levels were fantastic. It really showed in the latter part of extra time."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
James Reading
2
Eddie Munnelly
3
Jonathan Coke
4
Michael Peacock
5
Casey Maclaren
6
Jamie Busby
7
Lubomir Guentchev
8
Lee O'Leary
9
Aaron Morgan
10
Glenn Garner
11
Scott Cousins
12
Danny Dyer
13
Jon-Jo Bates
14
Barkley Miguel Panzo
15
Dave Reading
16
Berkley Laurencin

Match Events

James Bent replaced David Laird
18''
18''
Glenn Garner
Josh Cooper
28''
Josh Cooper
55''
67''
Glenn Garner
78''
Barkley Miguel Panzo replaced Aaron Morgan
78''
Jon-Jo Bates replaced Jonathan Coke
Jordan Fowler replaced Marc Henry
78''
96''
Danny Dyer replaced Glenn Garner
Angus McLachean replaced Ola Williams
118''
120''
Lubomir Guentchev

Wingate & Finchley

1
Gavin King
2
Ola Williams
3
Sam Sloma
4
Joe O'Brien
5
Daniel Nielsen
6
Ahmet Rifat
7
Josh Cooper
8
Marc Henry
9
Lewis Jones
10
David Laird
11
Gary Burrell
12
Jordan Fowler
14
James Bent
15
Angus McLachean
16
Chris Chase
17
Dave Norman