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Under 15s News, 2007/2008

Sunday 27 April - Pinner Albion 1 Hendon 3

Hendon Under-15s bounced back from their midweek disappointment and the shock of trailing at half-time to secure runners-up spot in the Harrow Youth League. Pinner Albion took the lead after 13 minutes and held their advantage until the interval. At half-time Hendon manager John Creith made some changes and they were soon proved to be inspired. In the 55th minute, Damilola Thomas equalised and, after that, there was likely to be only one winner. Nestor Bokuli put Hendon in front five minutes later and, in the 70th minute, Ryan McKenna wrapped up the scoring. "Damilola Thomas was my man of the match today," said happy manager John Creith. "He absolutely terrorised them in the second half. We were very quiet in the first half, but I spoke to the boys at half-time and made some changes, and they responded brilliantly."

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Tuesday 22 April - Hendon 1 Acton Ealing Whistlers A 2

Hendon Under-15s hopes of winning the league title came to an end as they lost 2-1 to Acton Ealing Whistlers at Claremont Road this evening. Acton as a consequence have won the title. The Greens took the lead in the 15th minute through Nestor Bokuli, a lead they held through to half-time. Acton equalised in the 51st minute and the winner came seven minutes later. Manager John Creith was full of praise for his team after the game as he said "I'm very pleased and proud of our boys to have pushed until the penultimate game of the season for the title in our 1st season in the Premier Division, particularly given the injuries we had. We now have to ensure we get a point at Pinner Albion on Sunday to secure 2nd place. My man of the match tonight was centre-back Gavin Austin."

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Sunday 02 March - Hendon 4 Pinner Albion 2

Hendon Under-15s took over at the top of the Harrow Youth League Premier Division after seeing off Pinner Albion at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning. They raced into a two-goal half-time lead, were pegged back, and then ran out comfortable winners. Nasser Elmi scored after 11 minutes, his first goal for the club since returning to action for the first time this season last week, and the advantage was doubled eight minutes later, courtesy of Abdi Osman, a scorer of many vital goals in recent weeks. Pinner Albion showed their mettle early in the second half, scoring after 43 and 60 minutes to draw level, but Hendon wouldn't give up and they regained the lead through that man Osman with ten minutes to go. In the final minutes, Hendon wrapped up the points when Elmi scored his second of the afternoon. "This was a great result for us," said a delighted manager John Creith. "We have got a lot of players unavailable for one reason or another so others have had to play in unfamiliar positions, but they have adapted really well. My man of the match was Abdi Osman. He posed a real threat in attack all game long."

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Sunday 24 February - Hendon 2 Greenford Celtic 1

Hendon Under-15s took a huge stride towards ensuring a second place finish in the Premier Division after beating one of the big rivals for the position, Greenford Celtic. The breakthrough in a tense encounter came after 21 minutes when Abdi Osman gave Hendon the lead. Half-time came and went with the score unchanged. Six minutes into the second half, Osman bagged his second to give Hendon some vital breathing room and it proved to be vital as Greenford Celtic pulled a goal back 12 minutes later. There were still 22 minutes remaining for Hendon to hang on and it got pretty desperate at times. But the defensive held firm. If Hendon can win their final four games, they won't be caught for second place and just might overtake leaders Acton Ealing Whistlers, who still have to visit Hendon. "I am delighted with the victory," said manager John Creith. "It means we have opened up a little gap on the chasing pack, which includes Greenford Celtic. My man of the match was Jahrel Best, who had a magnificent game at full-back."

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Sunday 10 February - Actual Soccer 0 Hendon 1

Hendon Under-15s passed one of the sternest examinations they will face all season as they overcame County Cup semi=finalists Actual Soccer in the reverse of last weekend's fixture to complete a quickfire Harrow Youth League Premier Division double. The Greens are now clear in second place, five points behind the leaders and four clear of the chasing pack. Only one of the chasers, if they win all four games in hand can catch Hendon, whose midseason blip appears to be well in the rear-view mirror. This was always going to be a very tight affair and the Hendon defence did well as a unit while goalkeeper Silvio Roman was in especially fine form. After 65 minutes, Hendon thought they had taken the lead, but the referee ruled out the goal for an apparent push in the penalty area. However, they were not deterred and, seven minutes from time, they were awarded a penalty. With the pressure on Damilola Thomas, he kept his nerve and duly converted the spot-kick. It proved to be enough for a very important victory. "We played really well today," said manager John Creith, "against very good opponents. We kept our shape and our discipline and our reward came late on. My man of the match was goalkeeper Silvio Roman, who made four or five exceptional saves."

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Sunday 03 February - Hendon 4 Actual Soccer 1

Hendon Under-15s game against Actual Soccer was in grave danger of not being played because of waterlogging. But the sterling efforts of manager John Creith and his family made the pitch playable and their efforts were duly rewarded. Abdi Osman opened the scoring after ten minutes, but an unfortunate own goal saw the scores level shortly before half-time. After the interval, Hendon stepped up a gear or two and turned their domination into goals in the final quarter. Jurell Thomas restored the lead after an hour and Jason Garland all but assured the points with his goal after 73 minutes. Two minutes later man of the match Osman grabbed his second and that was that. "This was a well-organised performance," said Mr Creith. "Today we put away some of the chances that we missed last week. It will be interesting to see how the return game goes with Actual Soccer as we play again next week. Abdi Osman was my man of the match, not only for his goal, but for his all-round performance."

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Sunday 27 January - Hendon 2 Kodak 2

Hendon Under-15s had their first match since early December and their inactivity, combined with a desperately boggy pitch, contrived to frustrate them. Although they didn't lose this Harrow Youth League game at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning, they had to settle for a point following a 2-2 draw. Abdi Osman gave Hendon the lead after 16 minutes, but eight minutes later Kodak drew level. That's the way it stayed until half-time, despite plenty of Hendon pressure. Seven minutes after the restart, Kodak took the lead, but it, too, was short-lived. Just five minutes later Damilola Thomas scored Hendon's equaliser and although Hendon pressed hard, that was the end of the scoring. "We were rusty this morning," admitted manager John Creith, "but we haven't played since before Christmas. It also didn’t help that the pitch was so difficult. Even so we had enough possession and created the chances to win the game. My man of the match was Ryan McKenna, who was superb in midfield. He and Ryan Brennan were outstanding."

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Sunday 16 December - Pinner United 1 Hendon 4

Hendon Under-15s recorded their first victory on the pitch for more than a month (their opponents forfeited last week) as they overcame Pinner United 4-1. Still missing five first-choice players, the under-strength Hendon team took a while to get going, but took the lead through Jurell Thomas after 26 minutes. Four minutes later Tyrone Smith doubled Hendon's lead, but it didn't last long, because Pinner halved the deficit only two minutes later. However, David Omotosh gave Hendon some vital breathing space with a third goal nine minutes before half-time. There was only one more goal after the break and it came from Jurell Thomas, his second, 15 minutes from time. It was enough for to celebrate an early Christmas present. "It was good to get back to winning ways," said manager John Creith. We had a great pitch to play on this morning and it made all the difference - we love the better surfaces. My man of the match was captain Ryan Brennan, who did great job in the centre of midfield."

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Sunday 02 December - Acton Ealing Whistlers A 2 Hendon 1

Hendon Under-15s losing run continues and the run of bad luck that has dogged the team for the past few weeks also shows no sign of disappearing. On Sunday morning, with the wind and rain lashing down, Hendon elected to have the conditions in their favour in the second half - except that the rain stopped and the wind died down as the first half progressed. It meant that despite played extremely well in the awful conditions, Hendon were a goal down at half-time, Tyrone Smith having scored just before the break, this after Acton EW had scored after 23 and 30 minutes. The second half saw Hendon, whose players returning from illness struggled for fitness as the game went on, do everything they could to force an equaliser. But it was all in vain and goalkeeper Silviu Roman made some excellent saves to keep the scoreline unchanged. "We're not having much luck at the moment" bemoaned manager John Creith. "We had a number of players who missed the last few weeks coming back today, but they struggled for fitness. Also, when we get it right at the back, our forwards can't score and when our forwards are on form, it is the defence that has problems. My man of the match was Silviu Roman, who had an excellent game in goal."

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Sunday 25 November - Hendon 2 Actual Soccer 5

Hendon Under-15s - the Harrow Youth League Cup-holders, took the field against Actual Soccer with seven players absent injured and another one too unwell to play. In those circumstances, there is no disgrace in losing 5-2 at home to a strong Actual Soccer team. A goal down after five minutes, Hendon drew level through Nestor Bokuli after a quarter of an hour. Actual regained the lead 15 minutes later and grabbed a third after 58 minutes. Bokuli brought Hendon back into the game with his second of the match after 61 minutes, but Actual Soccer replied with further strikes after 65 and 72 minutes to seal their place in the next round. "It was very difficult for us today," said manager John Creith. "I am very frustrated that we have gone out of the League Cup, especially as we were the holders, but our injury situation is desperate and I had only one substitute to call on and the players who were in the starting line-up struggled a little. Nestor Bokuli was my man of the match for his tireless efforts up front."

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Sunday 18 November - Greenford Celtic 4 Hendon 3

Hendon Under-15s lost this game in four mad first-half minutes but still nearly earned a point. Goals after 17, 19 and 21 minutes gave Greenford Celtic a comfortable lead and although Nestor Bokuli did score after 25 minutes, a fourth Greenford Celtic goal, after half an hour, meant that Hendon turned around facing a huge deficit. They made a concerted effort to get back into the game and succeed through Bokuli after 55 minutes. The panic signs were clear on the Greenford side, especially when Bokuli completed his hat-trick with five minutes to play. And the Greens should have had a free-kick inside the Greenford box when the home goalkeeper - under pressure from the predatory Bokuli, picked up the ball having rolled it along the ground. The referee waved aside Hendon appeals for a free-kick and Greenford escaped. "We lost the game in the space of four minutes and nearly came back," said manager John Creith. "We got so close, but it wasn't to be. Nestor Bokuli was my man of the match, not only for his three stunning goals, but also for his work-rate."

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Sunday 11 November - Hendon 0 Ruislip Rangers 1

Hendon Under-15s went into this Harrow Youth League fixture at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning without seven first-choice players, but that was no excuse for the shock 1-0 defeat they suffered. They created chance after chance throughout the 80 minutes and didn't take a single one. Nestor Bokuli's radar was particularly off-beam as he missed a hatful of chance and Jurrel Thomas also missed a penalty. Then, with just two minutes to go, Ruislip Rangers scored from a rare attack and went home with the points. "I am absolutely gutted," said manager John Creith. "We had 13 really good chances - including nine one-on-ones - and didn't take any of them, then conceded a goal with two minutes remaining. My man of the match was Jahrell Best, who was very sound in defence."

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Sunday 04 November - Forest United 2 Hendon 2

Hendon Under-15s produced a very disappointing performance as they failed to complete a Harrow Youth League double over Forest. Hendon swept into the lead after 24 minutes when Tyrone Smith scored, but Forest were level within two minutes. That was the way the game stayed until five minutes into the second half, when Damilola Thomas restored Hendon's advantage. However, in the 62nd minute, some sloppy dending allowed Forest to equalise again. Both teams went looking for the winner, but they failed and had to settle for a share of the points. "I am very disappointed," said manager John Creith. "We didn't play particularly well and I thought we conceded two sloppy goals. This is two points dropped. My man of the match was Damilola Thomas, who dropped back into midfield after starting the game up front. He played his socks off."

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Sunday 28 October - Hendon 18 St Josephs B 0

Hendon Under-15s learned nothing and gained little satisfaction in trouncing St Joseph's "B" squad in the Harrow Youth League Cup at Copthall on Sunday morning, winning 18-0. The mismatched St Joe's team went behind after four minutes, when Damilola Thomas scored. It was the start of a four-timer for him. The scored stayed at 1-0 for 11 minutes before skipper Ryan Brennan added number two and he was one of three other players to net hat-tricks, Abdi Osman and Jahrrel Best being the other two. Gavin Austin and Ben Gibson both scored twice and the other goal came from Nestor Bokuli. "This wasn't a good game for the boys," admitted manager John Creith, "but it was a cup-tie and we had to win in it. We could have scored about 30 if we had wanted to, but that's not what we are about. Instead, we tried to put into practice the things we have worked on in training. Ryan Brennan was man of the match as much for his leadership as anything else. He kept the team focused on what we wanted to do."

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Sunday 21 October - Headstone Manor A 1 Hendon 5

Hendon Under-15s recovered from the shock of conceding a goal inside two minutes to eventually see off Headstone Manor "A" in the Harrow Youth League on Sunday afternoon. Daniel Matheus started the recovery by equalising in the 13th minute and, midway through the half, Nestor Bokuli put Hendon in front. In the second half, Hendon turned on the style and Jason Garland extended the lead six minutes after the restart. When Bokuli grabbed his second of the game to make it 4-1 after 51 minutes the result was no longer in doubt. Bokuli completed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute and he was denied a fourth goal in the final ten minutes when a defender failed in an attempt to muscle him out of the way as a cross arrived. Although Bokuli did no more than stand his ground, the defender fell over and was awarded a free-kick. Manager John Creith said, "I am really happy with the performance of the whole team. Apart from the early goal we conceded we never looked in any trouble and our football was pleasing to the eye. My man of the match was captain and central midfielder Ryan Brennan, who had a commanding game."

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Sunday 14 October - Hendon 3 Forest United 2

Hendon Under-15s went off at half-time staring at shock defeat, having conceded two goals in the final ten minutes of the opening period of Sunday morning’s Harrow Youth League game against Forest United at Copthall. Hendon had led through a Jason Garland goal after ten minutes, his first for the club, but the Greens were pegged by a 32nd minute equaliser and fell behind five minutes later. The half-time talk had the desired effect because Hendon hit back with a two-goal burst in three minutes to win the match. After 62 minutes Nestor Bokuli made it 2–2 and, three minutes later, Damilola Thomas converted a penalty to clinch the points. "I was worried at half-time," admitted manager John Creith, "but always felt we could pull it around. In the second half, we played with a lot of discipline and kept our nerves. My man of the match was Abdi Osman, who ran the show playing up front in the first half and then in midfield."

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Sunday 07 October - Kodak 0 Hendon 4

Hendon Under-15s continued their unbeaten start to the Harrow Youth League season with a fine victory over Kodak at Harrow View on Sunday morning. Given a stern test in the opening half, Hendon probed for an opening with great care and received their reward with a strike from Gavin Austin after 38 minutes. Eight minutes into the second half, the Greens got some breathing space when Nestor Bokuli made it 2-0, but there was still a lot of work to do. Abdi Osman got his name on the scoresheet with ten minutes to go and the points wrapped up when Bokuli snatched his second goal of the game in the final three minutes. Happy manager John Creith said, "We defended really well as a unit and I am delighted that we kept a clean sheet. It was a clinical display and my man of the match was Nestor Bokuli, who had an excellent game at centre-forward."

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Sunday 23 September - Ruislip Rangers 1 Hendon 4

Hendon Under-15s opened their Harrow Youth League campaign with a fine 4-1 victory at Ruislip Rangers. The home team took the lead after 12 minutes and held onto their advantage until just before half-time. However Hendon finished the half in fine style, equalising through Nestor Bokuli after 37 minutes and, moments before the whistle, Bokuli grabbed his second. Seven minutes into the second half Bokuli completed his hat-trick to give Hendon some breathing room. Then, with three minutes of time remaining Bokuli completed his four-timer. "It was very pleasing today," said manager John Creith. "It was a very good all-round team performance and everybody worked hard. My man of the match was Nestor Bokuli whose goals won the game for us."

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Sunday 16 September - Hendon 3 Enfield Town 3 (5-6 on pens)

Hendon's interest in the Under-15s edition of the Middlesex County Youth Cup ended at the first hurdle with a disappointing penalty shoot-out defeat against Enfield Town Youth at Copthall Playing Fields. Hendon took the lead in the first half through Damilola Thomas, but Enfield Town, who play in the Premier Division of Cheshunt Youth Football League, hit back after half-time. They equalised and then took the lead, only for Thomas to force extra-time with his second goal of the day. Enfield Town regained the lead in the extra 20 minutes, but Daniel Mateus grabbed a late equaliser, which forced a penalty shoot-out. Even this took a long while to find a winner. Both teams missed two out of their five regulation kicks to force sudden death. Hendon, going first, successfully converted their next two but, crucially, missed their eighth attempt. Enfield Town converted their last three and advanced to the next round. Manager John Creith said, "The boys gave a great account of themselves against a very good team. It is a great shame that we could not have played a couple of league matches before having this game; we have a number of new players and this was their first competitive outing together. My man of the match was goalkeeper, Silviu Roman, one of the debutants. He was excellent."

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