Match Report

Harlow Town
J Da Cruz
R Jonas, R German
Match details
Competition: FA Cup
Date: Tuesday 11 September 2018
Attendance: 173

Hendon, reduced to 10 men before the midpoint of the second half, produced a performance of enormous commitment and bravery to see off Harlow Town on Tuesday night. Ricardo German's penalty two minutes from the end of extra-time, after he had been fouled, booked their place in the second round qualifying of the Emirates FA Cup.

Nothing was easy, even in the build-up to the game, because Junior Osborne was unwell and missed the game and none of those absent on Saturday could come back. James Gray reshuffled the formation, bringing in Tyriq Hunte, Matty Newman and Prince Mbengui, while Gianni Crichlow and Taishan Griffith went to the bench alongside William Murphy and Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway.

The first half is easily passed over because neither goalkeeper had to make a save and the shooting was uniformly wayward. It turned out the only incident of note was a yellow card shown to Mbengui.

In the first game, Hendon really struggled to deal with Hawks striker Christian Adu Gyamfi, but he was almost a non-factor, comprehensively shut out by Luke Tingey and Romario Jonas. Also snuffed out were the Harlow midfield trio of Fabion Simms, Robbie Martin and Syrus Gordon and it meant that, for almost all of the 120 minutes, Hendon were the better team.

Josh Bexon made the first two saves of the game after 47 and 51 minutes, both times leaping into the air to catch shots from a Lee Chappell free-kick and German, his from a Chappell cross. Neither were particularly difficult saves, but they were efforts on target.

In the 57th minute, German was inches wide with a header from a great cross by Howard Hall. Four minutes later, a good right wing cross from Hunt deceived both Paul Rodgers and JJ Da Cruz and arrived at Stephane Ngamvoulou. The midfielder really should have scored, but maybe because he was surprised the ball even reached him, he was off target.

The game flared up in the 64th minute when a stretching Mbengui was fractionally late stretching for a ball. It was an honest challenge but it was a foul and the theatrical rolling about by Simms led to a gathering of the masses.

The upshot was Mbengui receiving a second yellow card and thus a red. A straight red would have been very harsh given the nature of the challenge, but the midfielder could have no complaints about the caution.

Before play resumed, Crichlow replaced Hunte, the need to bolster the midfield taking precedence over attacking intentions. It should also be said that German would continue giving the Hawks defence enough problems on his own.

Tingey made a fine block to deny Adu Gyamfi, in the 71st minute, and he then weakly pushed the ball into the arms of Danny Boness. Technically, it was a save, but the goalkeeper was perfectly placed to make it look so easy.

With 14 minutes to go, Hendon took the lead. A Chappell free-kick was met by Jonas, who looped a header just inside the post. Although the header was well-placed, Bexon was neither involved in challenging for the ball when it came across not making much of an attempt to make a save.

Jason Raad, whose crossing from the left side had not been dangerous, was immediately replaced by Alex Clark in the hope that his more central position would cause Hendon problems. It didn't really work, but the Dons were finally asked some serious questions defensively.

That said, Harlow's insistence on ignoring a short corner to the edge of the box nearly proved costly as a pair of shots narrowly missed the target. Simms saw a header smartly caught by Boness but, at the other end, Bexon kept out an effort from German.

Crichlow's contribution to the evening was short because after he was shown a yellow card, Griffith took over from him. It might have been a time-wasting move, but his energy may have seemed a useful option for the Dons.

In the last two minutes, Harlow finally made Boness work hard. The goalkeeper did well push an angled shot wide of the far post.

He then made another good save with a firm hand pushing the ball out towards the corner flag. Yannick Kissi kept the ball in play and his cross was met by Da Cruz, who scored with a powerful header.

That was the signal for Harlow to make another change, Laurence Vaughan taking over from Martin, who had picked up a knock. The four minutes of stoppage increased to more than five, playing on the nerves of both teams.

In fact, late in stoppage time, Bexon ensured the game would go into extra-time. He made a brilliant save to keep out a drive from German, but, from the uncontested short corner, the goalkeeper was grateful to see Newman's deflected shot bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Harlow started the extra 30 minutes strongly with Da Cruz, doing more in attack than defence, brought out a save from Boness and saw his rebound blocked. From the corner the Portuguese defender, much as Ngamvoulou had done at the other end, failed to do anything with a cross when almost any contact would have brought a goal.

Hendon made their last change after 95 minutes, Newman making way for Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway. Six minutes later, German met another dangerous cross from Chappell, but his glancing header flew wide of the target.

Dombaxe and Alexander-Greenaway were off-target with shots in the early moments of the second period, but it was Hendon who were clearly the stronger. Ngamvoulou saw his shot blocked for a corner, which Harlow eventually cleared after some harum-scarum moments.

With a little more than two minutes of the 120 remaining, Harlow enjoyed possession and pressure at the Hendon end, but they failed to take advantage of it. When the Dons got the ball back, it was knocked downfield where German just about got it first, under pressure from both Rodgers and Da Cruz.

The two men in red won the tussle and Rodgers fed da Cruz to clear the danger. Unfortunately for him and Harlow, the clearance hit German, who reacted quickest and burst towards the box, with the two defenders in close pursuit.

German held off Rodgers attempted challenge, took the ball around Bexon and tried to steady himself before taking a shot. That he couldn't was down to the goalkeeper who clipped his heels and German went down.

For a half-second or so, there was silence as everyone looked towards the referee, Hendon fans hoping and Harlow ones dreading. The whistle came, followed by the point towards the penalty spot and the caution for the goalkeeper, neither of which were protested.

German picked himself up, put the ball on the spot and waited for the whistle for the chance to score what would most likely prove to be the winner. There was no subtlety in the strike, Bexon dived and ball blasted into the net.

There was still time for Harlow, who had almost completely failed to take advantage of having an extra man for an hour (including additional minutes). Charlie Edwards mishit a Clark cross and Vaughan also fired wide.

Two minutes of additional time had been signalled and were almost up when Boness produced an excellent save from a goalbound effort. The ball fell Adu Gyamfi, who thought he had scored another equaliser, but Tingey threw himself into the path of the ball and blocked.

Ngamvoulou then took possession and ran straight at the corner flag to waste time. He did enough because, barely seconds after the resulting goal-kick, the final whistle blew.

Hendon will now play Bostik League Division One South side Phoenix Sports, who had far less difficulty in winning their replay against Lancing, going though 3–0. The tie is set for Saturday 22 September.

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

Harlow Town

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Josh Bexon  
2 Louis Yuill  
3 Yanick Kissi  
4 J,J, Da Cruz  
5 Paul Rodgers  
6 Fabion Simms  
7 Robbie Martin  
8 Syrus Gordon  
9 Christian Adu Gyamfi  
10 Charles Edwards  
11 Jason Raad  
12 Gradi Milenge  
14 Charlie Weatherhead for 8 , 115
15 Alex Clark for 11 , 78
16 Laurence Vaughan for 7 , 90
20 Kaya Ali  


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Danny Boness  
2 Howard Hall  
3 Lee Chappell  
4 Luke Tingey  
5 Romario Jonas  
6 Prince Mbengui s/o, 64
7 Stephane Ngamvoulou  
8 Laste Dombaxe  
9 Ricardo German  
10 Tyriq Hunte  
11 Matty Newman  
12 Gianni Crichlow for 10 , 66
13 Taishan Griffith for 12 , 88
14 William Murphy  
15 Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway for 12 , 96