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Hendon paid a severe penalty for careless defending as Northwood ended the Greens' interest at the first stage of the Middlesex Senior Cup. The Woods' winner came from a former Hendon man, Michael Murray in a manner the team really should have known all about.
The Greens rang the changes following the disappointing loss to Needham Market, not all as a direct result of the performance. Melvin Minter replaced Joe Wright in goal, Sam Flegg came in for Ollie Sprague - he was at centre-half with Luke Tingey moving to left-back - Finnbar Robins came in for his debut at Goldy Capela's expense and Andre Da Costa was preferred to Leon Smith.
Northwood started with Berkley Laurencin, Mark and James Burgess on the pitch and Michael Murray and Niko Muir on the bench, so five of their 16 had experience with the Greens (although Muir did not make a competitive appearance for Hendon). The quartet's combined 634 appearances outstripped the total appearances for 11 Hendon starters; and only the presence of unused substitute and coach Scott Cousins ensured that the 16 on duty outstripped the Burgess twins, Laurencin and Murray.
The first half was end-to-end stuff. In the fifth minute, after a decent Northwood attack, Hendon countered, and after Russell Short challenged Laurencin the keeper could not gather the ball but it fell kindly for the Woods defence.
Five minutes later, after a Hendon free-kick had been only half-cleared, Andre Da Costa ballooned the rebound high over the bar from a long range. From the resulting goal-kick, Minter had to be quickly off his line to head the ball away. Then a run from Myles Stephenson was followed by a 20-yard shot which went just wide of the target.
Dean Cracknell tried his luck with a volley from 20 yards but Laurencin was not unduly troubled by it. Short then got in front of the Woods' keeper, but lifted the ball just over the crossbar.
Da Costa then made a couple of good runs, forcing a pair of corners, but the headers from them both went wide. At the other end, Joakim Ehui worked himself a shooting opportunity from 20 yards but shanked the ball wide.
Minter then made a confident save from a shot by George Nicholas, which took a deflection of a Hendon defender. Nicholas was then tripped by Short just outside the Hendon box, earning the midfielder a caution and the Woods a free-kick in a dangerous position. The free-kick was hit into the defensive wall and the rebound was easily saved.
Laurencin then made a good sprawling save at the feet of Morgan, who then hit a cross-come-shot which fell to Sam Murphy. His curling effort went well wide.
The first half ended with the rain starting to fall, and both teams created half-chances which were not taken. Before the start of the second half James Burgess, who was only playing in an emergency, was withdrawn with Murray replacing him.
Maybe it was the rain-slicked pitch that made the players more tentative, but there was much less goalmouth action after the break. Moments after Northwood had made their second change, Muir replacing Stephenson, Hendon had two good chances.
In the 59th minute, Murphy fired a shot which required an excellent save from Laurencin. A minute later, Morgan fired over the bar from a good position.
Those misses proved costly because when Hendon failed to clear a corner properly, Charlie Kennedy headed home a cross from the Woods right-wing.
It was sloppy, frustrating defending from the Greens. Almost immediately, Kezie Ibe was sent on to replace Cracknell, adding to Hendon attacking options.
It took 10 minutes but the extra attacker paid dividends for Hendon. A 78th-minute raid down the left the side, dragged a couple of defenders away from the centre.
The ball into the penalty was deflected high into the air, the result of which was the two closest defenders watched the ball loop over them. Showing great attacking instincts, Omar Vassell ran into the penalty area and he slammed the ball past Laurencin into the bottom corner.
A couple of minutes Minter produced a good save to keep the score at 1â€“1. However, in the 83rd minute he was beaten for a second time. Hendon defenders and midfielders had been warned about Murray's shooting prowess, and his languid running style.
It meant that at least one or two players should have been able to stop Murray's run before he fired low into the bottom corner. Minter, seeing the over-lapping Andy Lomas to Murray's left had shifted his weight towards that side and thus was unable to reach the shot as it arrowed just inside the opposite post.
Capela and Smith went on for Robins and Morgan, but the damage had been done. The Greens did have some half-chances, but Laurencin was not asked to do much to keep out the efforts, while others were struck well off target.