FA Trophy: Hendon 3 Burgess Hill 0
PUBLISHED: 07:55 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:55 13 November 2017
Hendon were far too strong for Burgess Hill Town in the second round qualifying of the Buildbase FA Trophy at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday.
The Greens were near to their best in every facet of their game and the Hillians had no answer to the attacking variation of Zak Joseph, Ashley Nathaniel-George and goal machine Niko Muir.
After giving a few players the night off on Tuesday in the 2–1 Middlesex Senior Cup victory over Harrow Borough, Hendon were back to pretty much to full strength.
And it took only five minutes for Hendon to create their first chance as a free-kick was curled into the penalty area and Michael Corcoran rose above everyone else, but directed his header over the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, Hendon had the lead when Sam Murphy, Dan Uchechi and Joseph combined down the left side and Joseph then went around Lee Harding as he cut into penalty area, near to the goal-line. Joseph looked up to find a green shirt inside the penalty area but his run was terminated by a clumsy challenge from Ibrahim Diallo.
It was an obvious foul and a penalty but Hillians skipper Javier Faveral still complained to the referee. Muir stepped up and sent the ball into the net as James Shaw dived in the opposite direction.
In the 18th minute, Shaw produced a brilliant save to deny Dave Diedhiou after a Murphy corner was headed back towards the six-yard box by Rian Bray. The Greens had two more corners, but Burgess Hill just about hung on.
However, in the 25th minute, the Hillians were authors of their own misfortune as careless passing just outside their own box. Joseph took possession and curled a sumptuous 20-yard strike into the top corner.
Hendon’s control was absolute, but they could not find a third goal, one that would have ended the match as a contest.
With Uchechi, Joseph, Nathaniel-George and Muir all creating problems, the Greens really should have added to their advantage, but there were not many clear-cut openings.
All that Burgess Hill could show from the first 45 minutes was a 25-yard drive from Aaron Smith-Joseph that trundled a similar distance wide and a low driven cross by Pat Harding which flew across the penalty area before Jake Eggleton helped the ball clear.
Tom Lovelock did not have a save to make and his most difficult moments were racing to the edge of his penalty area to reach overhit through balls.
Whatever was said in the Burgess Hill dressing room at half-time, it worked up to a point because they attacked with much greater vigour than they had shown in the opening 45 minutes. Hendon’s defence was resolute and most of the pressure and possession got no further than 25 yards from the home goal.
That said, eight minutes after the resumption, the Hillians really should have pulled a goal back when a misplaced defensive clearance saw the ball sliced back towards the Hendon goal and the bounce favoured Pat Harding, but his free header from three yards out was mistimed and weak, bouncing quietly into Lovelock’s arms.
The goal of the game came in the 59th minute and it was a superb move, which started with Arthur Lee finding Diedhiou with a good pass and the midfielder played an equally good ball to the feet of Muir.
Muir turned, played a short pass to Joseph and immediately went on an arcing run. Joseph completed the one-two to Muir, who slotted the ball past the advancing Shaw for his 19th goal of the season and make it 3–0.
Both teams made their three changes in fairly quick succession with Hendon, sensing that the contest was effectively over, making a double substitution with Corcoran and Joseph making way for Casey Maclaren and Matt Ball, while Keagan Cole replaced Nathaniel-George.
Charlie Bennett, Curtis Gayler and TJ McKibben came on for Chin McKenzie, Pat Harding and Diallo, but Burgess Hill, apart from a drive by Brandon O’Neill which flashed narrowly wide and a mazy run from Bennett – which came to nothing – offered little in the final quarter of the game.
The greater danger continued to come from the Greens, but possibly the best chance was lost as Uchechi and Muir rather got in each other’s way.
A curled strike from just outside the box narrowly missed the angle of post and crossbar with Shaw, knowing he had no chance of making a save, watching and hoping the ball didn’t drop into the net.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Murphy, Diedhiou, Bray, Lee, Uchechi, Corcoran (Maclaren 69), Joseph (Ball 69), Muir, Nathaniel-George (Cole 83). Unused subs: Wise, Ibe.