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Dons eager, but Beavers win the cup

PUBLISHED: 14:42 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010

115TH SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP FINAL
HENDON V HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGH
PHOTO'S BY GERARD FARRELL /DZ PICTURES
DATE: 24/03/2008.
TEL: 07831-396-923.

HENDON'S BELAL AITEOUAKRIM ON THE BALL

115TH SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP FINAL HENDON V HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGH PHOTO'S BY GERARD FARRELL /DZ PICTURES DATE: 24/03/2008. TEL: 07831-396-923. HENDON'S BELAL AITEOUAKRIM ON THE BALL

GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS

By Ben Pearce HENDON lost the first of their two cup finals on Monday night, with their Blue Square Premier League opponents winning the Middlesex Senior Cup by a flattering three-goal margin. Hampton and Richmond Borough, third in their division, sat 27

By Ben Pearce

HENDON lost the first of their two cup finals on Monday night, with their Blue Square Premier League opponents winning the Middlesex Senior Cup by a flattering three-goal margin.

Hampton and Richmond Borough, third in their division, sat 27 places above the Dons before kick-off.

And the divisional difference was certainly the focus of the pre-match banter, with chants of 'You're staying in the Ryman' being met at the other end of the ground by 'Conference South, you're having a laugh'.

In the end it was Borough who had the last laugh, but even the most blinkered Beavers fan would struggle to assert that their side played the better football.

If anything it was Hendon who looked like the team from the higher division and they outpaced, outmanoeuvred, out-muscled and generally outplayed the Beavers in every area of the park.

However, the Dons will have learnt an important lesson because the supposed difference in class eventually told where it matters - in front of goal.

The Greens started at a frenetic pace - and somehow maintained it throughout the match - and they created the best of the opening exchanges.

Lubo Guentchev crossed for Brian Haule after Belal Aiteouakrim's break, and the big number nine wrong-footed the keeper with a low cross but saw the ball cleared from under the crossbar.

Jamie Busby sent a low drive wide from the edge of the area and Aiteouakrim should have at least hit the target when he fired wide of the near post from six yards.

Most of Hendon's good work came down the right, with full back Casey Maclaren spending more time in his opponents' half than his own.

Davis Haule held the ball up well further up the field, and Busby and Lee O'Leary played quick, effective two touch football in the middle.

But the Dons' enterprise was ruined in the 25th minute when Borough took the lead against the run of play.

There seemed to be little danger as Shaun McAuley collected the ball with his back to goal from a throw-in.

But he was allowed to turn and run infield all the way to the D, where he dispatched a devastatingly accurate drive inside the right hand post past the unsighted Luke Blackmore.

It could have been two but Blackmore was out quickly to smother Ian Hodges' one on one, recovering instantly to stop Lawrence Yaku's snapshot whistling into the bottom left corner.

McAuley's deflected shot then wrong-footed Blackmore, leaving the keeper stranded as the ball rolled across the penalty area. Fortunately Yaku was unable to finish as the angle narrowed against him.

Five minutes later the Dons were nearly level, Guentchev beating Matt Lovett to a through ball but finding the keeper instantly at his feet with a brave save.

But the Beavers should have doubled their lead in first half injury time, Yaku inexplicably squaring the ball to no-one in particular when put through one-on-one.

The Greens' best chance came within two minutes of the restart but Guentchev, having finally been given the ball in space, failed to control it at the crucial moment.

And from then on the Beavers created the best chances of the half. Skipper Stuart Lake went close on two occasions before Hodges forced a magnificent point-blank save from Blackmore in the 78th minute as he attacked a low front post cross from Barrie Matthews.

Six minutes later McAuley effectively wrapped up the Beavers' victory with his second goal of the night.

Seemingly going nowhere as he ran at two Dons defenders, the midfielder suddenly jinked right and fired a low drive inside the near post.

Borough boss Alan Devonshire brought on Graham Harper with one minute left and the forward had time to miss two sitters before making it 3-0 in injury time with a shot that crept under the unfortunate Blackmore.

Hendon: Blackmore, Parker, Maclaren, Leach, Page, Busby, L Guentchev, O'Leary, B Haule, Aiteouakrim, D Haule (Dyer 88).

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