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Hendon's hopes of ending the season on a high note were dashed as they lost the London Senior Cup final 3-1 to Wingate & Finchley. The result completes a treble for Wingate, as they won promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division through the play-offs, and also won the Championship Manager (Isthmian League) Cup a few weeks ago. The two clubs will now meet in league action next season for the first time.
Both sides had players missing, although the Greens were boosted by two or three players passing late fitness tests. Wingate's squad were understandably tired due to the two ex-tra time games they had played to progress through the play-offs in the previous week.
The pitch was very poor, and looked in desperate need of water and care. It was extremely dusty and potholed, and a poor advert for Tooting & Mitcham United, especially as they host Chelsea Women's games at Imperial Fields.
Hendon started the brighter of the two sides, and it was no real surprise when they took the lead in the 14th minute when Greg Ngoyi bundled the ball home from a near-post corner.
However, this seemed to spark Wingate into action, and on the half hour mark they were back on level terms. Marat Karagul showed good strength to hold off his marker as he received the ball, and from close range he swivelled and fired the ball low past James Reading.
Both teams found life difficult on the awful pitch, particularly as both teams are much more comforatble playing a passing game - which was entirely impossible as the ball was bobbling all over the place.
Belal Aite-Ouakrim had a chance to restore the lead early in the second half, but Wingate soon regained control of the game, and in the 54th minute former Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Sam Sloma was able to slot the ball under Reading.
Hendon did probe to try and find a way through, but found the Wingate back line extremely well organised, and chances were at a premium.
The goal that secured the cup for Wingate came in the 70th minute when they counter-attacked through Ola Williams, and his low cross was diverted into the net by Lewis Jones.
Wingate were able to hold on for the final twenty minutes, extending their unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions, and after the final whistle, deservedly lifted the cup. It must be said that, apart from the first twenty minutes, Hendon's performance was extremely disappointing, and summed how so much of the second half of the season had gone.
However, had Hendon supporters been offered an appearance in the FA Cup First Round, a semi-final in the Middlesex Senior Cup, and coming runners-up in the London Senior Cup at the start of the season, many would have said that would have been a good campaign.