Match Report

Slough Town
M Williams
D Uchechi
Match details
Competition: FA Trophy
Date: Tuesday 28 November 2017
Attendance: 626

Hendon moved into the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy with the most dramatic of victories against Slough Town at Arbour Park on Tuesday. The reason for the hyperbolic drama observation is that the Greens did it with their youngest goalkeeper for decades being called up at short notice and he then made four crucial saves, plus two more in a penalty shoot-out.

Tom Lovelock was confined to bed with flu, which meant that, after the Greens' attempt to make an emergency registration was denied by the FA, 17-year-old Daniel Purdue made his debut. Another change saw Dave Diedhiou replace Casey Maclaren in midfield.

That said, Slough - with an FA Cup tie against Rochdale six days away - were down to one fit striker in Matt Lench and 37-year-old Manny Williams (who scored against Hendon in the FA Cup when Purdue was four years old) was named on the bench.

There are two ways of looking at the evening's entertainment which was, until midway through extra-time at least, another superb advertisement for non-league football. Firstly, Hendon could, and probably, should have been out sight long before the Rebels snatched an equaliser with a minute of normal time remaining.

Secondly, the Hendon defence of Jake Eggleton, Sam Murphy, Rian Bray and skipper Arthur Lee, was magnificent in protecting Purdue from what could have been a barrage of attempts. The youngster was given the perfect start in terms of confidence when a shot from Lench after five minutes was drilled straight at him and he caught the ball comfortably.

The Slough defence didn't have the same comfort and composure as they had shown on Saturday and Niko Muir nearly made them pay in the 18th minute. His effort, from an acute angle, found only the side-netting.

James Dobson was, once again, a thorn in the Hendon side and he saw an effort after 22 minutes saved by Purdue. Six minutes later, Lench fired a shot inches wide of the target, but Slough showed their lack of firepower because, for all the territorial advantage, efforts at goal - on and off target - were few and far between.

The Rebels paid for their profligacy after 33 minutes. Diedhiou won a header and sent the ball forward to Michael Corcoran, who sent a superb, slide-rule pass outside a defender and perfectly weighted for Muir.

Within a couple of strides, Muir, although out wide, had a clear run at goal. For once, however, he didn't shoot, instead passing into the path of Daniel Uchechi, who caressed the ball beyond Jack Turner's dive and into the bottom left corner. Hendon fans apart, the 626 crowd were stunned into silence.

Slough did have a chance to equalise before the break, but Dobson, for the third time in the tie, saw an effort bounce away from the frame of the goal. And moments before the players left the field, Turner kept the score at 1-0 with a superb save to deny Muir.

The second half started with the two goalkeepers taking centre stage. Ninety seconds after the resumption, a clearance from Purdue from a short back-pass bounced off Lench and the goalkeeper somehow scraped the ball away from the goal-line with home fans convinced he had not reached it in time.

All Purdue did, however, was roll the ball to Warren Harris, who took too long to fire off his first shot and Purdue blocked it. Harris had another go and, once again, Purdue was equal to it.

Play quickly went up to the other end and Turner matched Purdue with his save to deny Diedhiou. And Turner made two more top saves to deny Muir on two more occasions.

Dobson must have been getting heartily sick of the Hendon No.1s because he found himself watching another goalbound effort turned aside by Purdue. This was the signal for three Slough changes in a few minutes as Josh Jackman, Lee Togwell and Sean Fraser made way for George Wells, Manny Williams and Nathan Smart, respectively.

Hendon's response was to replace Ashley Nathaniel-George with Maclaren, a combination of tiredness and increased Slough pressure forcing the substitution. Muir really should have made the game safe when he was given two clear runs at goal, but he failed to hit the target either and then he and Zak Joseph got on the wrong page after another counter-attack.

Mark Nisbet was just wide with a header following a corner and Slough added him to their ever-growing forward line. Then, with barely a minute of normal time remaining, Williams found himself in space behind the defence, and he slipped the ball into the net.

The equaliser or, more accurately, extra-time was certainly not on Slough's most wanted list with the FA Cup tie looming, but it was probably preferable to meekly going out of the FA Trophy. Hendon had not done well in extra time when they went out of the FA Cup against Wingate & Finchley in September, but this was a different story.

The pace of the game slowed significantly and there were fewer chances, though Williams saw his effort blocked by a defender after 97 minutes. Hendon made their second change just before the changeover, Keagan Cole coming on for Joseph.

Both teams looked exhausted and midway through the second period, it looked as if the Rebels would go down to 10 men because Lench could barely drag himself up to walking pace and was seen by the home physio as play continued on the opposite side of the pitch.

Muir and Uchechi might have won it for Hendon from more good counter-attacking raids. The nearest Slough came to a goal was a misplaced clearance from Rian Bray which Purdue somehow pushed away.

In days of yore, the final whistle would have been signal for the two teams to try to get home advantage for a second replay (when the two teams played in 1976, a neutral venue, Wembley FC was used), but now it is a penalty shoot-out. It was decided they would be taken at the end Slough had been attacking.

Murphy went first, but he could not beat Turner. Lench had Slough's first effort, but the former Harefield United youth-teamer was denied by a magnificent full-length diving save from Purdue.

Up stepped Corcoran and he drilled the ball beyond the feet of Turner's drive to give Hendon the advantage. Dobson, Slough's dead-ball specialist was next to go and although he struck the ball with power, it was rather straight and Purdue parried it.

Maclaren was Hendon's third taker and his impressively languid stroke of the ball lifted it over the dive of Turner and into the net. It was almost now or never for the Rebels and Williams had responsibility for their third attempt.

Purdue guessed correctly, flung up an arm, but the ball was already on its way to the top of the crossbar. Most impressively - and maybe because he has seen some hilarious video clips of strange things happening with rebounds - he made sure the ball bounced away harmlessly.

It was down to Uchechi to win the game for Hendon. He strode up confidently and placed the ball into the opposite corner to which Turner was diving. Uchechi turned to take the adulation from happy team-mates and coaches and watched as all but one of them made a beeline for Purdue, the real hero of the hour.

An understandably proud Gary McCann said, "Togetherness in adversity is paramount. It was something I spoke to the players about on Saturday night.

"But I had no idea how much we would face a few days later. I went with an instinct to go with Dan when I knew Tom was unavailable and he played like it was a game in the park.

"The defence was brilliant in protecting, but his save early in the second half was absolutely magnificent. And his two saves in the shoot-out led to the third one. It put so much pressure on Williams to score that he buckled.

"This was truly a night to remember for everyone connected with Hendon. It was fantastic."

Report by David Ballheimer : Not to be reproduced without prior permission

Slough Town

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Jack Turner  
2 Sean Fraser  
3 Josh Jackman  
4 Guy Hollis  
5 Mark Nisbet  
6 Lee Togwell  
7 James Dobson  
8 Simon Dunn  
9 Matt Lench  
10 Nathan Webb  
11 Warren Harris  
12 George Wells for 3 , 72
14 Nathan Smart for 2 , 80
15 Tom Biss  
16 Manny Williams for 6 , 72


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Daniel Purdue  
2 Jake Eggleton  
3 Sam Murphy  
4 Dave Diedhiou  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Arthur Lee  
7 Daniel Uchechi  
8 Michael Corcoran  
9 Zak Joseph  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Ashley Nathaniel-George  
12 Casey Maclaren for 11 , 82
13 Harly Wise  
14 Matt Ball  
15 Kezie Ibe  
17 Keagan Cole for 9 , 102