Hendon 5 Grays Athletic 1: Zak Joseph hat-trick inspires Greens to success over Blues

PUBLISHED: 09:09 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:31 15 November 2017

Zak Joseph of Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)

Zak Joseph of Hendon (pic DBeechPhotography)


Velocity Trophy second round: Hendon 5 (Cole 27, Joseph 56, 69, 72, Ball 87) Grays Athletic 1 (Slabber 22)

Hendon advanced to the last 16 of the Velocity Trophy with an eventually comfortable 5–1 victory over Grays Athletic at Silver Jubilee Park on Tuesday night. However, for the best part of an hour, there was very little choose between the two teams.

Six members of the team which beat Burgess Hill Town on Saturday were not in the starting 11. Into the team came Channing Campbell-Young, Harly Wise, Casey Maclaren, Matt Ball, Keagan Cole and Kezie Ibe, while Sam Murphy, Arthur Lee, Jake Eggleton, Michael Corcoran, Ashley Nathaniel-George and Niko Muir – the last four of whom were substitutes – were rested.

Grays’ biggest problem was the goalkeeper. First-choice Lamar Johnson was suspended, Ben McNamara – the former Hendon keeper on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge and previously with Harlow Town – was cup-tied and new signing Joe Simmons was unwell, so goalkeeping coach Dan Howett had to go between the posts.

And things got worse after six minutes, when he took his first goal kick. A short kick and a yelp suggested something was wrong and he fell in a heap, requiring lengthy treatment. Although he was able to continue, Howett could not kick the ball and his mobility was somewhat limited.

Joao Carlos has been a thorn in Hendon’s side on a number of occasions in past seasons, and it was the same again. He gave Campbell-Young a torrid time and was responsible for setting up the game’s first goal midway through the half.

Twisting and turning one way and then the other, he worked himself an opening and drilled the ball across the penalty area. No defender took note of veteran striker Jamie Slabber – a star when Grays were in the Conference some years ago – coming in at the far post and he slid the ball into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

Going behind seemed to rouse the Greens and Kezie Ibe was denied an equaliser after 25 minutes by a superb save from Howett. From the corner, Rian Bray was off-target with a header.

Dan Uchechi started to ask questions down one wing while Zak Joseph was a will ’o the wisp flitting around the pitch. Both teams were better going forward and Hendon were level in the 27th minute when Uchechi crossed at a perfect height for Cole to head almost unchallenged into the net.

Carlos then set up Slabber, who fired into the side-netting, and Kieran Bishop, who was tackled by Bray before he could get off a shot. But half chances came at both ends, none of which were taken and the teams went into half-time all square.

Grays started the second half very brightly and had three chances to regain the lead. The best was an opening for Bishop, but Tom Lovelock was equal to the effort, and he made a second save from a long-range, dipping effort. Slabber then fired into the side-netting after being gifted the chance by sloppy Hendon defending.

These missed chances proved very costly because, in the 55th minute, Hendon raided in numbers and when the ball came to the feet of Joseph, he drilled it into the net.

After 62 minutes, Corcoran replaced Maclaren and soon played his part in another Hendon goal. Tiring Grays defenders were guilty of conceding free kicks around the penalty area and they had already escaped when Ball was just wide with a curled effort.

In the 68th minute, Ball and Corcoran stood over another set piece faced by a six-man wall. Instead of a shot, Corcoran rolled the ball to the side of the wall and Joseph, completely unmarked, had the simple task of knocking the ball past Howett to make it 3–1.

Five minutes later, Joseph had his hat-trick, finishing from close range after the out manned defence had again failed to deal the with the danger. This was the signal for Hendon to make their last two changes, Joseph and Uchechi being reptook laced by Muir and Hassan Al Murtada, the latter, two weeks past his 17th birthday, making his debut.

The youngster was not overawed and one neat run and one-two seemed to release him for a clear run at goal, though it was ended by the assistant referee’s flag being raised for offside. Grays were not without chances but they rather ran out of ideas the closer they got to goal and they often made the wrong option of passing or shooting.

With four minutes to go, Hendon completed the scoring when the Green had numbers in the penalty area and their weren’t enough grey Grays shirts to stop or block the ball as it fell to Ball and he found the bottom corner with a resounding strike.

Hendon have been drawn away in the next round and they will visit South Division Hythe Town, at a date to be advised. It will be the first-ever meeting between the clubs.

Hendon: Lovelock, Campebell-Young, Wise, Diedhiou, Maclaren, Bray (Corcoran 61), Cole, Ball, Joseph (Muir 73), Ibe, Uchehi (Al Murtada 74).

Subs: Nathaniel-George, Eggleton.

Grays: Howitt, Mahal, Cross, Dunn (Perkins 60), Fowler, Muguo, Brown (Zialor 73), Cole, Bishop, Slabber (Ibe 70), Carlos.

Subs: Thomson, Gogo-Ibiama.

Attendance: 65.

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