Match Report

Wingate & Finchley
Thursday 05 August 2004
Middlesex Millenium Cup

Match Report

Hendon's preseason form continues to improve and the 5-2 victory over Wingate & Finchley in the hastily rearranged Middlesex Millennium Cup match at Abraham Stadium on Thursday had more pluses than minuses.

First was the hat-trick claimed by Mark Nicholls - albeit from an aggregate of about nine yards - and second was the goalscoring return of Ricardo Alves, who had enjoyed a brief run-out at Chertsey on Tuesday. Worrying issues include a lengthy injury list and goalkeeper's inconsistent start to the season.

The first chance of the game was created by Wingate & Finchley's Dean Williams. He sprinted through the Hendon defence before sliding the ball across the face of the goal. John Butterfield was not followed as he entered the penalty area, but there was just a little too much on Williams' pass for him turn the ball into the net from an acute angle beyond the far post.

A minute later, Wingate & Finchley mirrored Hendon's defensive failing. Nobody picked up James Burgess, who met Richard McDonagh's deep cross with a dipping volley that Michael Kalli did well to tip over the crossbar.

Hendon took the lead in the 16th minute. Good interplay between Dave Nolan and McDonagh resulted in a cross which Eugene Ofori met with a flying header. It beat Kalli all ends up, but the ball crashed off the underside of the crossbar and, from a couple of yards out, the luring NICHOLLS buried the rebound.

In the 32nd minute, Nicholls was on the spot again to convert a rebound. This time a fine piece of possession football created the chance for Dave Hunt, but his shot was well parried by Kalli, who was quickly off his line. NICHOLLS, although looking suspiciously offside pounced before any defender could complete a clearance.

Just before half-time, a speculative, 35-yard shot from Danny GRIMSDELL embarrassed King as he failed to keep out a low drive that he had plenty of time to get down to. It was just the fillip Wingate & Finchley needed, having been somewhat outplayed during the first half.

And the hosts' confidence grew early in the second half when the Greens' defence stood off the advancing Sam SLOMA. When he got to the edge of the "D" there was still no challenge forthcoming, so he fired in a low drive that flew into the bottom corner well beyond King's reach.

With the game reaching the hour-mark, Hendon made a triple change, introducing Alves, Scott Williams and Usif Bangura - Martin Vrhovski had replaced the injured Dave Hunt moments before Wingate & Finchley's first half goal - and it turned the game in the Greens' favour.

Eight minutes after coming on, Bangura raced through the Wingate defence and delivered a low cross that NICHOLLS turned in from close range. Kalli raged at his defence for allowing the goal to be scored, but credit should go to Bangura for his dangerous run and Nicholls for ghosting in behind three defenders.

The goal of the night came in the 79th minute and it was Alves who claimed it. Mark Burgess was the instigator with a nice piece of work down the right side, but his low cross didn't appear overly menacing, until ALVES smashed his 20-yard shot inches inside the angle of near-post and crossbar.

Kalli didn't even have time to move to intervene, barely able even to turn his head in time to watch the ball fly goalwards. Three minutes later, however, he was as much at fault as King had been in the first half, when he flapped vainly at 30-yard drive from VRHOVSKI, who scored against his former club.

"I'm very pleased with the result and the performance," enthused manager Tony Choules after the game. "But it's all about progression and we are progressing nicely at the moment. The biggest concern is the injuries we have picked up."

Report by David Ballheimer


Dave King
Dave Nolan
James Burgess
Mark Burgess
Warren Clarke
Jazz Rose
Richard McDonagh
Wayne Carter
Eugene Ofori
Mark Nicholls
Dave Hunt
Scott Williams
Ricardo Alves
Usif Bangura
Luke Thornton
Martin Vrhovski

Match Events

Mark Nicholls
Mark Nicholls
Martin Vrhovski replaced Dave Hunt
Ricardo Alves replaced Wayne Carter
Usif Bangura replaced Eugene Ofori
Scott Williams replaced Dave Nolan
Mark Nicholls
Ricardo Alves
Martin Vrhovski

Wingate & Finchley

Squad unknown