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Under 15s News, 2008/2009

Sunday 21 December - Hendon 0 Harlington 6

Hendon Under-15s gave as good as they got for most of their match against Harlington at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning, but trailing 1-0 before half-time an unfortunate own goal led to two more in quick succession. There was little to choose between the two teams for most of the first half, but the visitors did get their noses in front early on. However, when the own goal was conceded, heads dropped and Harlington struck twice more in quick succession. The half-time team-talk had a good effect and most of the second half was again quite even. However, Hendon began to tire and, in the last few minutes, Harlington added another couple of goals. Assistant Liam Coogan-Jobes said, "I am really pleased with the peformance. The boys battled really well. My man of the match was Billy Williams, who worked really hard and never gave up."

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Sunday 07 December - Hendon 2 FC Kensington 9

Hendon Under-15s pushed the self-destruct button against FC Kensington in the Harrow Youth League at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning. On a difficult, near-frozen surface, they played reasonably in the first half and goals from Shaquille Roper and Billy Williams meant that they were all-square at half-time. In the second half it was a tale of woe as two own goals and a penalty contributed to the seven times Kensington scored. Manager Paul McGreal said, "I am very despondent with this performance. We simply weren't good enough."

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Sunday 16 November - Headstone Manor B 12 Hendon 1

Hendon Under-15s produced one of their most disappointing performances of the season as they went down 12-1 to Headstone Manor's B squad in the Harrow Youth League on Sunday morning. What made this defeat all the more galling was the performance in the opening 15 minutes, when Hendon were completely on top. They took the lead through Sharif Malik in the opening five minutes, and could have added to their lead on a few occasions. However, from their first attack, in the 15th minute, Headstone Manor forced a corner. It wasn't cleared and they bundled home the ball. Almost immediately they added to that goal and Hendon's confidence disappeared. Three more goals followed in the first half and, after a brightish start from Hendon in the second period, Manor soon got number six and ran away with the game thereafter. "This is the most disappointed I have felt after a full game," admitted manager Paul McGreal. "We dominated the first 15 minutes, but as soon as we conceded a goal we fell apart. We didn't pass well and players didn't make runs meaning the man with the ball was caught in possession. My man of the match was Max Dugan-Knight, who did what he could to shore up the defence around him."

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Sunday 09 November - Hendon 2 Pitshanger B 9

Hendon Under-15s couldn't recover from a disappointing first half performance against Pitshanger B and trailed by half a dozen goals. Too much timidity going into challenges in the first period, allied to a couple of freakish, wind=affected goals and two own goals, left Hendon in a bad position. Manager Paul McGreal and his assistant Nick McMullen were very unhappy with the display up to the interval and they made their feelings very clear to the team during oranges. It certainly seemed to have a positive effect as Sharif Malik pulled a goal back for Hendon after 43 minutes, going around the goalkeeper and tapping into the empty net. But a defensive slip allowed Pitshanger to restore their six goal lead a few minutes later. Shaquille Roper made it 7-2 when he deflected an Anthony Tang shot into the net after 63 minutes. However, Pitshanger replied quickly and added another one in the final ten minutes. "The second half performance was 100 percent better than in the first half," said Mr McGreal. "Some of the football we played in the second half was as good as we have played all season."

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Sunday 02 November - Kensington Dragons 4 Hendon 1

Hendon Under-15s have still to pick up a victory in their inaugural season in the Harrow Youth League Division Two, but on the evidence of this Sunday morning match at Willesden, that victory is not too far away. For the first time, the boys took the lead when Anthony Tang scored a good goal after 15 minutes. Five minutes before half-time FC Kensington drew level and Hendon went to oranges with the scores all square. Disappointingly, the youngsters started the second half very slowly and were made to pay by two quick goals, after 42 and 46 minutes. Left with a mountain to climb to get back into the match, they tried very hard, but to no avail. Then, in the last minute, FC Kensington added an undeserved fourth goal. "This was the first time I felt we had really been in a match," said manager Paul McGreal. "And I suppose that is why I am so disappointed that we didn't do better in the second half. Our man of the match today was goalkeeper Charlie Osborn, who made a number of brilliant saves to keep us in the game."

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Sunday 26 October - Hendon 1 Wealdstone 10

Hendon Under-16s were left with it all to do when a sickness bug and unavailability stripped the team to less than the bare bones. Only ten players were able to start against a very strong Wealdstone team and another left injured during the Harrow Youth Football League game at Copthall Playing Fields. That said, Hendon gave a superb account of themselves, trailing 6-0 at half-time and playing some super football after Sharif Malik had finished off a move involving Shaquille Roper and Anthony Tang. In the end the men advantage and bigger, stronger physiques of the Wealdstone players told as they added four more goals, two in the last few minutes. "Our performance and work rate this afternoon was superb," said manager Paul McGreal. "A few weeks ago, this Wealdstone team gave us a 13-0 drubbing, but today we played some very good football in difficult circumstance. I am immensely proud of the team. All ten players deserve to share the man of the match accolade today."

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Sunday 19 October - Hendon 0 Whetstone Wanderers 9

Hendon Under-15s once again encountered opponents not only physically much bigger and stronger than them, but those who had been together for anything up to eight years - a far cry from Hendon's eight or so weeks. The writing was on the wall long before half-time at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning, and the Greens - missing a number of players injured or unavailable - turned around trailing by five goals. A few choice words at half-time did have some effect because Hendon were more competitive and gave a much better account of themselves, even though they did concede another four goals. Manager Paul McGreal said, "This was probably the most disappointing defeat of the season so far. Even if we had a full squad to choose from, we would probably not have won, but we were far too tentative in the first half. My man of the match was Sharif Malik, who had to play in an unfamiliar position and did very well."

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Sunday 12 October - Hendon 0 Headstone Manor B 5

Hendon Under-15s' steep learning curve continues, but they seem to be going in the right direction after this 5-0 defeat at Copthall Playing Fields on Sunday morning. The very young and physically quite small team has struggled to compete against more experienced opposition, but they are becoming more competitive. Trailing by three goals at the interval, they came out and gave a really good account of themselves in the second period, although they did concede two more goals. "We are definitely going in the right direction," said manager Paul McGreal. "It is hard to compete when there is such a difference in size, but the boys never gave up and battled to the very end. My men of the match were my two goalkeepers, Charlie Osborn in the first half and Alex Marginean after the break. They both did exceptionally well."

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Sunday 05 October - Hendon 0 Wealdstone 13

Hendon's Under 15s tough start to the season continued as they were knocked out of the Harrow Youth Football League Cup by Wealdstone, going down to a 13-0 defeat at a very wet and muddy Broadfields Sports Ground. Wealdstone's first goal came in the fifth minute and further goals followed on a regular basis through to half-time, by which time the score was 9-0. The Greens rallied in the second half and conceded only four goals. Manager Paul McGreal said, "Again it was a case that they were bigger and stronger than us. However, we battled really well in the second half and our attitude was superb. My men of the match were goalkeeper Alex Marginean and stand-in captain Max Dugan-Knight who was superb in central defence." The Greens were also commended by the Wealdstone manager for their attitude after the game.

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Sunday 28 September - Hendon 1 Parkfield 13

Hendon Under-15s, who are realistically an Under-14s squad with a couple of older players came up against a very experienced and physically much more mature Parkfield outfit at Copthall Playing Fields. The result of the lopsided encounter was hardly a surprise. A beautiful chip from Ignacio Ezquerro did reduce the deficit to 4-1 after 25 minutes, but Parkfield added three more goals before the interval. In the second half, Hendon plugged on game but still conceded another half-dozen goals. "This was a very tough learning experience," admitted manager Paul McGreal. "My team is in its first year together and they are not physically able to cope with much older boys such as Parkfield, who have been together for three years. But I can take positives out of the game because, although the heads did drop in the second half, we never stopped battling and we kept trying to play the right way."

Posted at 19:00

Sunday 14 September - Hendon 2 Ruislip Rangers 4

Hendon Under-15s' first game of the season ended in a narrow defeat at home to Ruislip Rangers. They took the lead after 20 minutes when Shaquille Roper ran onto a through ball from Daniel Agboola, and finished with a fine strike from 20 yards. The lead lasted only five minutes and the teams turned around all-square at 1-1. Ten minutes into the second half, an excellent pass from Ryan Erdwin resulted in excellent interplay between Roper and Anthony Tang, before the latter finished from the edge of the box. Ruislip gradually began to take control and they were level against after 60 minutes. Although Charlie Osborn made some very good saves the pressure told and Rangers took the lead with 15 minutes to go. The score remained that way until six minutes from time when they added a fourth to seal their victory. Manager Paul McGreal said, "An encouraging performance considering our preseason was a bit of a nightmare and it was the first time we have really played together. We did tire towards the end and losing Agboola before half-time meant our only substitute came on for more than 40 minutes and we had no other replacements. We'll learn from this. Man of the match was Shaquille Roper, who came up against a couple of much more experience defenders and did well against them."

Posted at 19:00