Match Report

O Sprague
A Ujkaj, I Olutade
Match details
Competition: London Senior Cup
Date: Tuesday 06 February 2018
Attendance: 71

Hendon, for the second time this season, were dumped out of a cup competition by a lower-league side, losing their London Senior Cup quarter final tie to an impressive Balham team.

While the home side were once again undone by some self-destructive tendencies at the back, this should not detract from an accomplished performance by Balham, who played some sleek attacking football while remaining resolute in defence.

As with the earlier defeat by Corinthian Casuals in the League Cup, there was no discernible gulf in quality between the two teams despite their different statures in the non-league pyramid. Balham, two steps lower than Hendon after a mercurial succession of promotions, more than matched Hendon across the pitch and arguably should have won by a more flattering margin.

Balham were on the front foot straight away at a chilly and sparsely populated Silver Jubilee Park, kicking up the slope in the first half. They were nearly a goal up within the first few minutes, the excellent Arsen Ujkaj unleashing a magnificent long-range strike that eluded Nick Hamman in the Hendon goal before smashing against the crossbar.

Oliver Sprague then went close for Hendon, although his shot was comfortably saved by Mike Neish. Balham once again were very close to opening the scoring, a superb cross by Khalid Savage being backheeled just wide of the goal by the irrepressible Ujkaj. James Adebayo was next to threaten for the visitors, a mazy run creating a shooting opportunity that was comfortably dealt with by Hamman.

Hendon started to settle into the game and created a couple of chances of their own, with Luke Tingey playing in Josh Walker who arguably should have done better with his effort amid a goalmouth scramble. The resultant corner was headed wide by Tingey. Keagan Cole also went close for the Greens after being played in by Niko Muir.

Adebayo, a constant thorn in the side of the Hendon defence, was close to threatening again before was close to threatening again before being brought down by a Hendon defender. The referee deemed it an accidental coming together of legs, but most in the ground would not have been surprised to see a Balham free kick being awarded. To add insult to injury, or vice versa, Adebayo picked up a heavy knock requiring prolonged treatment.

Savage should have put the visitors ahead, poking a shot just wide after being set up by a great dummy from Ujkaj, before Ujkaj himself opened the scoring, latching onto a woeful clearance from Hamman, beating a defender and stroking the ball home. Zak Joseph nearly grabbed a quick equaliser for Hendon after a great cross from Sam Murphy, but his shot went wide of the right-hand post.

Balham nearly doubled their lead before half time, a well-worked corner routine reaching Marco Erriu, whose superb curling shot was well saved by Hamman.

The visitors did increase their advantage early in the second half, yet another mix-up between the goalkeeper and the Hendon defence allowing Ibz Olutade to knock the ball home from a tight angle. This sparked Hendon into some semblance of action, the renewed sense of endeavour resulting in Oliver Sprague netting for the home side, some excellent interplay between him and Josh Walker seeing Sprague smash the ball home from close range.

As Hendon sought the equaliser, they largely dominated the rest of the match, although Balham were always a threat with their rapid and well-executed counterattacks. The Balham defence remained steadfast for the rest of the second half meaning that Hendon look ahead to the rest of the season in one cup competition and with an eye on the play-offs. As for Balham, they should be incredibly proud of a superlative team effort as well as some great individual performances.

Report by Bryan Roberts : Not to be reproduced without prior permission


Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Nick Hamann  
2 Sam Murphy  
3 Oliver Sprague  
4 Luke Tingey  
5 Harold Joseph  
6 Harly Wise  
7 Josh Walker  
8 Channing Campbell-Young  
9 Zak Joseph  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Keagan Cole  
12 Anderson Pinto Nogueria for 9 , 81
13 Liam Gordon for 3 , 62
14 Dave Diedhiou  
15 Casey Maclaren  
17 Ashley Nathaniel-George for 8 , 62


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Mike Neish  
2 Luke Fenlon  
3 Jake Henry  
4 Julian Fuller  
5 Marco Erriu  
6 Hamish Frew  
7 James Adebayo  
8 Dan David  
9 Ibz Olutade  
10 Arsen Ujkaj  
11 Khalid Savage  
12 Thomas Fosse  
14 James Gallagher  
15 Josh Benson  
16 Michael McConnell  
17 Jakub Tertel