Hendon boss Gary McCann targets FA Cup run

Hendon's Kezie Ibe (right). Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

Hendon's Kezie Ibe (right). Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk - Credit: Archant

Hendon came back from a goal down to beat Peacehaven & Telscombe in an entertaining game at Earlsmead on Monday evening.

The Greens started well and took the lead through Kezie Ibe’s fifth goal of the campaign in the ninth minute, but the visitors fought back well and equalised shortly afterwards through Mark Knee.

Peacehaven took the lead in the 23rd minute courtesy of Lloyd Cotton, and had several chances to increase their lead before the break.

But, inspired by the words of manager Gary McCann, Hendon were in determined mood in the second half and were back on level terms just after the hour-mark when Chris Seeby fired a superb shot across the keeper.

The winning goal came four minutes from time when Dave Diedhiou pounced on a loose ball after a shot from Ibe had been parried by the keeper.

The win moved Hendon up to third in the table and, on the back of a 2-2 draw against Kingstonian on Saturday, the Greens go into their FA Cup clash with AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday in confident mood.

A good run in the cup is vital for the Greens – a win over Rushden would guarantee the club £3,000.

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Progression to the first round proper would earn the club £18,000 and McCann is determined to go as far as they can in the competition.

He said: “The FA Cup has played a big part in keeping the club sustainable for the last few seasons and has enabled us to stay competitive in this league.

“Three seasons ago we lost at Luton in the fourth qualifying round, and a year later we lost to Aldershot in the first round proper.

“Last season was disappointing – we were beaten 5-0 by Bishop’s Stortford. The draw has to be kind to you and we have a game against Rushden which could be a banana skin – it is not an easy game.

“They are a club who have reformed quickly and have a good fanbase who will be eager to move up through the leagues quickly.”

McCann is pleased that the competition gives his players the opportunity to be in the limelight on a national level, and enjoyed a recent trip to Wembley Stadium.

He said: “We were down at Wembley with Ian Wright and that was nice for the players.

“It is a time when non-league players can enjoy some time in the spotlight and we will be looking to remain in it for as long as we can.”

One problem that McCann hopes he has solved is taking penalties, with Sam Murphy finding the back of the net from 12 yards against Kingstonian.

McCann said: “We had actually missed our last six penalties before Sam scored on Saturday. Sam has been shouting that he has never missed one.

“Kezie Ibe, Leon Smith and Lee O’Leary could well be trusted to take a penalty again but Sam has a very methodical way of taking them, which he has explained to me. It was nice to score one.”

McCann has signed goalkeeper George Legg for another month on loan from Reading

The youngster has performed well during his first month at the club, but McCann has brought in quality back-up, knowing that he will not be able to keep Legg much longer.

He said: “We can only take him on loan for three months and it has to be done on a month by month basis.

“It’s the one time when the transfer window affects non-league teams. Outside the window we can’t take a player on a season-long loan from a Football League side.

“I’ve got a couple of keepers in the background with Brendan Hazlett, who was playing for Loughborough University, and also Ben McNamara, an Australian keeper who played for Northampton Town last season.”

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