Hendon 2 Harrow Borough 1: Greens beat Boro in Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup
PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:49 08 November 2017
Gary McCann oversee's his 700th game in charge of Hendon FC
Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup second round: Hendon 2 (Nathaniel-George 51, Muir 80) Harrow Borough 1 (Cumberbatch 73)
Hendon advanced to the quarter-finals of the Middlesex Senior Cup, and a home game against Spelthorne Sports – who play in the Premier Division of the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League – by beating Harrow Borough on a difficult night at Silver Jubilee Park. All the goals in the pouring rain came in the second half as Niko Muir came off the bench to score the decisive goal.
Both teams were some way off full strength, but still contained a significant number of first-choice players, but it meant that Harly Wise, Channing Campbell-Young and Kezie Ibe were given starts. The good news for Hendon was that Michael Corcoran was back in the starting line-up and Casey Maclaren was on the bench after both had been out with injuries.
Harrow started the game better, but neither Ryan Moss nor former Hendon favourite Reis Stanislaus were able to get the better of Wise and Arthur Lee. Moss did, however, get a shooting chance after 10 minutes, an effort which was well saved by Tom Lovelock.
Going up the slope in the first half, Hendon had the advantage of the wind and heavy rain at their backs, but the Greens’ passing was not its normal slick, accurate self. However, after about 20 minutes, things improved and for the rest of the half, it was Hendon who were on top.
The closest they came to a goal was a 20-yard diagonal strike which struck the frame of the goal, but that was nothing compared to the scramble in the Hendon penalty area after 37 minutes. Lovelock made two outstanding saves and Sam Murphy cleared another effort off the line, all in one passage of play.
Harrow fans behind the goal were convinced that one of the saves by Lovelock was completed only after the ball had crossed the line. The assistant referee, however, did not signal a goal and the referee, unsurprisingly was not in a position to make a decision. Lovelock ended the half by making another excellent save, this time denying Michael Bryan – another former Hendon player.
Hendon made the breakthrough seven minutes into the second half. A ball was played into the feet of Keagan Cole, a stride inside the penalty area. He controlled the ball but was immediately knocked to the ground by a defender.
The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and although it was a very soft penalty, the defender was behind Cole and did not touch the ball as he bundled over the midfielder. Murphy took responsibility for the spot-kick but another former Green, Melvin Minter, made a save.
The second strike by Murphy was a horrible scuff and Kezie Ibe saw his effort blocked. This time the rebound fell to Ashley NATHANIEL-GEORGE, who did not mess about, and Hendon led 1–0.
At this time Hendon, who had replaced Lee with Maclaren at the interval, were down to 10 men as Campbell-Young was off the pitch for a “comfort break”. Soon after he returned, Hendon made their second change, Muir taking over from Corcoran, which resulted in further positional reshuffling.
The conditions certainly didn’t improve in the second half and Harrow were rewarded for their perseverance and persistence with an equaliser after 73 minutes. The Greens failed to clear the ball and Kurtis Cumberbatch fired it into the net, courtesy of a deflection which gave Lovelock no chance.
Ibe, Nathaniel-George and Dan Uchechi were all caught offside by the Harrow defence which was playing a dangerous game keeping their line so high up the pitch. One well-timed pass and run would surely open the defence and create a great scoring opportunity for the Greens.
In the 77th minute, Ibe was brought down in the penalty area. It looked a more solid penalty appeal than the one awarded by the referee earlier in the half, but this time, play was allowed to continue.
With 10 minutes remaining, Harrow’s defence was caught out and they left the Bostik League Premier Division’s leading goalscorer with the chance to net his 17th of the season in all competitions. Minter came off his line and outside his penalty area, but was never going to reach the ball before Muir and was thus in no position to make a save as the ball rolled into the net.
The goalkeeper did much better in the final few minutes when, staying inside his penalty area, he made an excellent save to keep the score at 2–1 and Muir frustrated not to have completed a quick-fire double. Muir was also wide with an audacious attempt to beat an out-of-position Minter with a shot from near the touchline, but he was narrowly off-target.
The Greens completed their trio of substitutions with Matt Ball coming on for Ibe. Harrow – who had named only four substitutes – made two changes in the final seven minutes, first Kyle Beggs replacing Bajram Pashaj, then Charles Banya taking over from Mark McLeod.
Borough did create a couple of chances, the better of which fell Stanislaus, who had an empty goal to aim at after he controlled a short clearance from Lovelock. The striker was a good 35 yards from goal, and by the left touchline, so it was hardly an easy chance, but the effort was wide by a good dozen yards. And proof of Borough’s frustration was a wild shot from 25 yards out – with two team-mates better placed for an attempt on goal – that crashed into the roof of the stand behind the goal.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Murphy, Corcoran (Muir 64), Wise, Lee (Maclaren 46), Uchechi, Campbell-Young, Ibe (Ball 82), Cole, Nathaniel-George.
Subs: Bray, Diedhiou.
Harrow: Minter, Moore, Uade, Richards, Davis-Coker, Cumberbatch, Bryan, McLeod (Banya 86), Moss, Stanislaus, Pashaj (Beggs 83).
Subs: Cain, Stehart.