Hendon’s interest in the Middlesex Senior Cup ended at the first attempt as Hanwell Town scored twice in the last half-hour to turn around a one-goal deficit. The Greens spent much of the game under pressure but only caved in once the more experienced players were given a planned rest.
With a busy run of fixtures in the next few weeks, a number of players were given the night off, so the starting eleven was much changed from the team which had overcome Salisbury three days earlier.
Only four remained, Fred Burbidge, Christian Smith, Liam Brooks and and Leone Gravata. That said, although Sam Corcoran made his first start of the season and Anis Nuur his first start for the Greens, only Cain Keller made his debut.
It took barely five minutes for Hendon to open the scoring. An attack down the right wing saw the ball fall to Leone GRAVATA, and he finished at the second attempt after Wilson Carvalho had also had a shot blocked by Damian Pawlak.
The early indications were that the Greens would have too much going forward and that the Geordies’ defence would struggle to keep out the raids from Gravata and Carvalho and deal with Brooks down the middle.
It didn’t turn out that way as Hanwell began to get a grip on the game, and although Sam Dreyer and Christian Smith coped well in the middle, the evening was much harder for full-backs Keller and Simeon Olarerin. Balls were frequently delivered into the danger area but none resulted in any efforts on target and Fred Burbidge had little to do in the first half.
Going down the hill in the second half, Hanwell continued to set the pace, but remained unable to create any clear-cut chances. Unsurprisingly given the team’s unfamiliarity with each other, Hendon didn’t offer much but, with an hour gone, they still had the lead.
With an hour gone, Hendon made their first change, Smith being replaced by Jayden Clarke. A couple of minutes later, Nuur had a good chance to give the Greens a two-goal lead, but it wasn’t taken.
Instead, within a matter of seconds, the lead was lost. A ball down the middle released Obi, whose run was illegally stopped and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
There was no complaints from the Hendon defence, which had just been reshuffled by the substitution. OBI picked himself up and made no mistake from the spot.
Corcoran’s evening ended midway through the second half, almost certainly as planned, and Hamza Semakula replaced him.
Two minutes later, Hendon’s best move since the opening minutes opened up the Hanwell defence and it created a shooting chance for Carvalho. The shot was true but Pawlak beat away the ball and a defender was able to clear the danger.
The last Greens substitution came with 10 minutes remaining, Shaun Lucien taking over from Carvalho. At this point, it was increasingly likely that the next goal, if any, would decide the game, or a penalty shoot-out would do so.
With four minutes of normal time remaining, we got the answer. Dan Carr did well down the right wing, cut inside and laid the ball into the path of Harry RUSH, who slipped the ball into the net.
There was enough time for Hendon to hit back, and they did have one chance, but it went begging and it was the Geordies advanced to the next round.