Hendon 2 Wingate & Finchley 2: Greens triumph on 4-3 on penalties in London Senior Cup clash with Blues
PUBLISHED: 08:30 24 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 24 October 2017
London Senior Cup first round: Hendon 2 Wingate & Finchley 2 AET (Hendon win 4-3 on penalties)
Hendon squeezed into the quarter-finals of the London Senior Cup by doing something they have failed almost imperfectly to do in preseason friendlies and the Bostik League Premier Division – converting penalties.
Both teams were some way from full strength as the Greens gave a debut to Harly Wise and a first Hendon career start for Channing Campbell-Young, who rejoined the club last week – he made two substitute appearances last season. There were also two newcomers on the bench, in Hassan Al Murtada, who wasn’t used, and Rian McClean, who replaced another Rian – Bray – midway through the second half.
Hendon may have made a few changes, but Wingate & Finchley put out a team of almost all teenagers, but none of whom started their Bostik League game at Kingstonian two days earlier – and only three had been on the bench. Twenty-year-old Ben Pattie, a Hendon loanee from QPR two seasons ago, was the captain and he had an interesting evening.
The Blues made the perfect start, taking the lead in the fourth minute. Keen and eager, Pattie and Elijah Seymour raided down the left flank and when Pattie crossed into the penalty area, beyond the far post, Ricardo PRICE drilled the ball into the net.
Hendon just couldn’t get started. Josh Walker showed flashes, but the Wingate & Finchley defence was very solid and the Greens all too often tried to walk the ball into the net rather than trying their luck from distance.
Wingate & Finchley doubled their advantage after 14 minutes and the source of the goal was the same, a raid down the left from Seymour. He, once again, got the better of Sam Murphy and his cross was rifled past Tom Lovelock by PATTIE.
Matt Ball had two attempts at free-kicks, but both were way off target and Keagan Cole fired narrowly wide when Hendon did take shots from outside the penalty area. Although skipper Kezie Ibe did well holding the ball up, there was a distinct lack of cutting edge when the Greens went forward.
Another left wing raid almost brought a third Wingate & Finchley goal, but this time a green shirt got in the way of a shot at goal. Unfortunately for the Blues, Pattie picked up an injury and he was unable to continue and he was replaced by Louie Leong.
Hendon finally put a shot on target after 41 minutes, but Reuben Rabstein had only to stand tall to catch the rising drive from Campbell-Young. An earlier effort was either blocked or saved when the ball broke free in the Blues’ box, but these were rare successes for the misfiring Greens.
The Hendon management team clearly read the riot act to the players in the dressing room at half time, though they too had to make a change before the second-half kicked-off, Walker being replaced by Dan Uchechi. The young winger made an immediate impact, forcing the Wingate & Finchley defence to double- and sometimes triple-team him.
In the 54th minute, Rabstein made another save, this time keeping out a drive from Ball. Two minutes later, Wingate & Finchley should have made the game safe when a counter-attack from a Hendon corner left Isaac Ebelebe with a one-on-on one against Lovelock, but the goalkeeper came out of top.
In the 58th minute, another through ball almost released Ned Clarke, but Olly Sprague stuck out his foot and did just enough to intercept the pass. In truth, they were pretty much the only clear openings the Blues created in the second half.
Hendon meanwhile continued to set the pace without putting Reuben Rabstein under too much pressure. Carl Pearce and Vassili Mandeville were outstanding in the middle of the Blues’ defence, while Jake Eales and Mavila – often with help from Price and Mavila – made sure not too many balls reached the danger zone.
The Greens made a double change after 63 minutes, Niko Muir and McClean replacing Ball and Bray. Although the pressure on the Blues goal was ramped up, too many chances were being missed, Cole and Muir both going close.
With 17 minutes to go, Hendon finally got back into the game. A raid down the left was followed by a cross which was not cleared and when the ball fell to UCHECHI, he drilled it into the roof of the net.
Apart from a couple of inconsequential half-breaks, Wingate & Finchley were forced to defend deeper and deeper, but it looked like they were going to hold on for what would have been an heroic victory. Sadly for them they could not do it.
With the game moving into its final minute, Hendon attacked in numbers, but this time, the Blues could not cover everyone. When the ball came out to SPRAGUE, he had a clear line of sight and his shot was hard and true, giving Rabstein no chance.
In the added four minutes of stoppage time, Hendon forced a couple of half-chances, but there were no more goals and the game went to a penalty shoot-out.
Mavila went first and he made no mistake, an effort matched by Muir. Next to go was Pearce and he, too, found the back of the net. Murphy responded with an equally confident kick so it was 2–2 after four attempts.
Number five came from Luka Alfano, but although he struck the ball well, Lovelock was equal to it, guessing right and making a good save. Sprague then put Hendon ahead before Joe Patrick – who had replaced Ebelebe with 15 minutes to go – beat Lovelock to level the scores at 3–3.
Uchechi, who had been so responsible for Hendon’s second-half revival, blotted his copybook by smashing the ball against the underside of the roof of the stand behind the goal.
Clarke could have restored the Blues’ advantage but, once more, Lovelock was equal to the attempt. That left Ibe with the chance to win the game for Hendon and the skipper made no mistake, rolling the ball into the net.
Hendon’s reward is a place in the quarter-finals against Hanwell Town at Silver Jubilee Park on a date to be advised.
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