Hendon 3 Hanwell Town 3: Greens triumph on penalties in London Senior Cup
PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:31 14 December 2017
London Senior Cup: Hendon 3 Hanwell Town 3 (Hendon win 6-5 on penalties)
Hendon squeezed into the quarter-finals of the London Senior Cup in rather heart-stopping circumstances after they blew a 2–0 half-time lead, then equalising with an own goal in the final ten minutes before being perfect in a 12-kick penalty shoot-out. Hanwell Town will have left Silver Jubilee Park delighted with their team’s fightback but ultimately frustrated that they came up just short in the lottery that decides drawn cup-ties.
The Greens rested eight players from those on duty at Margate, with Jake Eggleton moving across the back four while Arthur Lee and Michael Corcoran were those on double duty. Seven of the 11 starters were aged 24 or younger of which three were teenagers.
Great work had been done to get the pitch playable on a night when snow and ice were still issues and Hendon had to work hard to create openings. Hanwell Town may have been in a rough patch of form, having picked up just one win and two draws in their previous 12 matches, but they played with a purpose and confidence that belied it.
Too many Hendon passes didn’t find their targets, but when the men were found, there was instantly signs of danger for Hanwell. Both teams had wasted promising openings, more half-chances than clear-cut ones, before the Greens opened the scoring after 17 minutes.
A mishit clearance from goalkeeper Sam Bunting travelled barely 35 yards from goal. The ball was fed out to the right wing, where Mason Turner-Welch was beaten far too easily and when the ball came into the penalty area, Zak Joseph lost his marker and slipped the ball into the net.
Four minutes later, the lead was doubled. A needless foul was conceded on the edge of the penalty area and JOSEPH lifted the ball over what seemed a badly-placed wall and curled it into the net with Bunting never having a chance of reaching the shot.
And Hanwell suffered another blow when Eddie Corchoran limped off with a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Charlie Mitchell. One Hendon player who took a particular interest in the change was Michael Corcoran, whose pre-game conversation included an admission that despite different spellings of their family name, they were brothers.
Both teams continued to create and waste openings as the game ebbed and flowed. The quality of football may not have been of the highest order, but the level of entertainment was high because of all the chances.
Hendon really should have stretched their lead early in the second half but Kezie Ibe and Joseph were on different pages of the playbook and the chance went begging. It proved to be very costly.
In the 50th minute, Hendon misplaced a pass on the edge of their penalty area and the ball came to Mergin Qarri in acres of space. Taking a couple of steps forward to steady himself, Qarri then let fire from 25 yards and his dipping effort caught out Dan Purdue and dipped just below the crossbar on its way into the net.
If that was careless defending, then Hendon were even more egregiously at fault three minutes later. They conceded a corner needlessly, allowed the kick to sail beyond the back post and then had no one marking Nick Turner, son for former Hendon defender and reserve team manager Mark Turner, whose header looped in just inside the opposite post, which had been left unmanned.
Hendon’s confidence was ebbing away fast and simple passes did not find green shirts. Hanwell had all the confidence and it was no surprise when, in the 63rd minute, the ever-dangerous Sam Pekun burst down the middle and beat Purdue to make it 3–2.
The Greens have suffered many more embarrassing defeats than this one would have been, but the manner of the collapse had been hugely disappointing. The reaction from the Hendon bench was to send on Dave Diedhiou and Niko Muir, sacrificing Corcoran and Matt Ball.
The two substitutes certainly invigorated Hendon, but the Greens still needed a goal. They had a couple of chances, Ibe being denied by an excellent save from Bunting and a cross from Joseph just about being cleared.
With nine minutes of normal time, Hendon got their equaliser. Pressure down the right side paid off and after a shot from Muir had been half-blocked, Ibe seemed to have a tap-in. He didn’t get it because Calum Duffy got to the ball first and was unfortunate to divert it into his own net.
Ashley Nathaniel-George took over from Joseph while Hanwell had to replace the injured Pekun with Joe Chandiram for the final five minutes. Nathaniel-George might have been the hero, but having worked a half-opening, he tried to set up Keagan Cole.
Cole rather snatched at the shot and the ball flew harmlessly wide. Ibe then needed to take a touch before shooting as another pass in a dangerous position was not quite good enough.
Although Hendon were on top in the final quarter, such was their defensive frailty that every Hanwell attack – and there were a few of them – brought a strong sense of danger. Three times they tried their luck from distance, but the ball flew over the crossbar, the last time by a matter of inches with Purdue well beaten.
The final whistle meant that for the second consecutive London Senior Cup tie this season, a penalty shoot-out would decide it. Hendon went first and Harly Wise smashed the ball off the stanchion in the bottom corner of the net.
The response from former Hendon favourite Peter Dean was equally emphatic and it was 1–1. Up stepped Ibe and, once again, Bunting was nowhere near the attempt as the ball flew into the net. It was the same with Chandiram’s equalising spot-kick.
Hendon continued to be perfect as Nathaniel-George confidently beat Bunting. Purdue managed to get a hand on Calum Duffy’s attempt but could not keep it out.
Six penalties and six successes suggested this shoot-out might need more than 10 goes to settle it and so it proved. Both Dan Uchechi and Muir scored their kicks with ease, as did Qarri, but Purdue almost saved Mitchell’s effort, only for the ball squeeze under him and into the net.
Diedhiou lashed home his attempt to give Hendon a 6–5 advantage as the shoot-out entered sudden death and that was the last success because Alfie Cain could not beat Purdue, who got good hands on the attempt and pushed the away from the goal.
In two senior games, the 17-year-old goalkeeper has twice been a penalty shoot-out hero and club officials are now checking to see if this has happened anywhere before in football.
The reward for Hendon is a quarter-final tie against Balham, who are currently sitting in mid-table in the Combined Counties League Premier Division. The match will be played at Silver Jubilee Park sometime in the new year.