Hendon produced one of their best performances for years to beat Nationwide Conference Hayes in the Middlesex Senior Cup quarter-final at Church Road on Tuesday night. The Missioners may not have been at full strength, but the starting 11 players were all in the 16-man squad which lost to Stalybridge Celtic last weekend.
In the semi-final, on a date to be arranged, Hendon will be at home to first-year club Enfield Town, who currently lie second in the Essex Senior League. Hendon, who had been drawn away in the 3 previous rounds, have now scored 5 goals in each tie.
There were two changes to the Hendon line-up from the weekend, Eugene Ofori replacing the injured Leon Woodruffe and Paul Yates returning to side at the expense of Ricci Crace, who dropped to the bench.
With a strong wind and driving rain at their backs, Hendon needed to take the initiative before the interval. This they did as early as the 12th minute, although there was more than a hint of good fortune about the goal.
Simon Clarke curled in a corner and Ian HODGES, under extreme pressure from Martin Randall, sliced the ball past Steve Sladen for an own goal. Hodges looked to referee Mr M Robinson for a free-kick, and he had a case, but the referee was satisfied that nothing untoward had happened and allowed the goal to stand.
For all their possession, Hendon could not add to their lead and Hayes will have been reasonably happy to go into the break with just a one-goal deficit. What they could not envisage was the way Hendon started the second half.
Just 6 minutes after the break, the magnificent Steve Forbes strode through the midfield and bent a pass into the path of Ofori. The young striker held of Anthony Charles and as Sladen came off his line, OFORI curled a 20-yard shot over him for Hendon's second goal.
Hayes responded by changing their formation in an all-out bid to get back into the game, but it was not to be. Clarke blocked a shot on the line amid loud shouts for a penalty, two other efforts bounced off Hendon posts and went to safety and David Hook produced a number of excellent saves.
In the 69th minute, Dale Binns, who had a storming match, sprinted down the left wing and drilled a low cross into the penalty area. Former Hayes favourite RANDALL timed his run perfectly and slammed the ball into the net for No. 3.
The Missioners finally got due reward for their attacking in the 76th minute, when substitute Dave EVERETT got on the end of a cross and tapped the ball home from close range. The next 5 minutes saw incessant Hayes pressure, Hendon's back-four of Clarke, Paul Towler, Steve Butler, Mark Cooper, denied the Missioners a second goal which would have set up a nerve-jangling finish.
Instead, in the 82nd minute, Jon-Barrie Bates found Forbes in midfield. Forbes took the ball into the heart of the Hayes defence and passed to substitute Crace. Paul Holsgrove tried to force CRACE wide, but the young striker fired a shot that flew past Sladen, smacked the post and bounced into the net.
It was the hammer blow that finally subdued Hayes. But their agony was not complete because, in the 88th minute, FORBES burst through a tired defence and drove a shot under Sladen into the net for No. 5.
"I am absolutely delighted with the result and the performance," said manager Dave Anderson. "I thought we rode our luck at good times this evening. I am particularly pleased for Ricci Crace and Martin Randall. Ricci has desperately needed a goal for a while and Martin spent a long time here (at Hayes)."