Match Report

Harefield United
L Guentchev 2, B Haule 3, D Dyer
Match details
Competition: Middlesex Senior Cup
Date: Tuesday 11 December 2007
Attendance: 58

Hendon had little trouble in disposing of Molten Spartan South Midlands League Harefield United at Preston Field on Tuesday night, winning this Middlesex Senior Cup second round tie 6-0. The gulf in class between levels three and five of the Non-League was cruelly exposed by a Hendon team determined that this was not going to be a banana skin to bring them down.

James Burgess, Lubomir Guentchev, Ivalio Dimitrov and Laban Scott-Libby came into the team for Marc Leach, Rakatahr Hudson, Scott Shulton and Richard Wilmot, respectively, giving Hendon an average age of just 21, Burgess (30) being the only player aged over 25. The captain's armband went to Wayne O'Sullivan, a day before his 23rd birthday. Manager Gary McCann named himself on the bench alongside Leach and Hudson, plus Danny Dyer and Iavor Guentchev.

An early Harefield attack came to nothing as Sam Page easily dealt with a cross from Ben Hammond. It led to a Hendon counter-attack that ended with a drive from O'Sullivan that flashed wide of the target. It was a hint of things to come.

The Hares had plenty of possession, but they were distinctly unprepared for the speed and diversity of the Greens' counter-attacks. Almost invariably when a counter-attack was launched, at least one Hendon player would be unmarked and this was how Lubo Guentchev opened the scoring, arriving at the far post in the ninth minute, and drilling home a low shot from 12 yards.

A couple of promising Harefield raids foundered on the rocks of the Hendon defence where Sam Page, Sam Collins, James Burgess and James Parker were far less accommodating than the rearguards the Hares are used to facing. Danny Buckle and Sean Sonner worked very hard, but they were both guilty of taking the wrong option when faced with the choices of shooting or passing.

After 23 minutes, Hendon doubled their lead again in simple style. A quick break, using short passes not a hopeful punt downfield, dragged the home defence out to the wing so when the ball was knocked into the penalty area, Haule was on hand to tap home from close range.

Harefield continued to press and started to create some half-chances. A drive from Sam Willis flew just wide of Scott-Libby's right post, though the goalkeeper may well have had he shot covered, while the goalkeeper did exceptionally well to dive in front of Buckle and Sonner to snatch a low cross from Paul Haynes before either striker had the chance of a tap-in.

And, yet again, as Harefield over-committed to retrieving the game, so they fell further behind. Haule was again the goalscorer, once more from less than a dozen yards out, but this time he did well to turn past Gary Williams before firing beyond Nathan Cobb's reach.

The game continued to flow and O'Sullivan missed a great chance to make it 4-0 before Haule completed a 17-minute hat-trick five minutes before the break. Dimitrov knocked the ball into the penalty area and a flick from Haule at the near post somehow found its way through Cobb.

Harefield's frustration at their plight - they hadn't played at all badly but were already facing a big beating - came to a head moment before half-time when Gilbert Nuako - a Hendon reserve in 2004-05 and Hayes' man of the match in a Middlesex Cup semi-final against the Greens last March - squared up to Guentchev. Referee John McGann calmed things down excellently without resorting to cards.

Before the second half kicked-off Harefield made two changes, introducing Danny Gallen and Luke Eldridge for Joe Cowan and Haynes. They helped to stem the tide, albeit slightly.

Midway through the half, Hendon made a double switch, taking off the front two, Haule and O'Sullivan and bringing on Dyer and Hudson, pushing Guentchev and Dimitrov forward. Three minutes later, Hendon scored their most spectacular goal of the evening, Dyer running into space and drilling a shot across Cobb into the far corner.

Five minutes later, the scoring was complete as Lubo Guentchev, who had just been joined on the pitch by younger brother Iavor, was left alone at the far post and when a cross from Dyer reached him, he wasted no time in slamming the ball home.

For the final ten or so minutes, Hendon were reduced to ten men when Casey Maclaren went off after picking up a slight knock - with the game out of sight, there was no point in risking a minor injury becoming altogether more serious.

It meant that Harefield suddenly had a lot more room in which to work and they created some useful openings. First a powerful shot from Hammond was well stopped by Scott-Libby, then Luke Willis watched a drive fly inches wide of the left post. Then, in the final minute, Buckle won a good header, but Scott-Libby did better to tip the ball over the crossbar.

"We were very clinical tonight," said Mr McCann, "and it gave some of the squad players a good runout."

Report by Steve Rogers : Not to be reproduced without prior permission

Harefield United

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Nathan Cobb  
2 Joe Cowan  
3 Gilbert Nuako  
4 Gary Williams  
5 Alex Brown  
6 Lee Clarke  
7 Ben Hammond  
8 Luke Willis  
9 Danny Buckle  
10 Sean Sonner  
11 Paul Haynes  
12 Tom Lewis  
14 Danny Gallen for 2 , 46
15 Luke Nuako for 11 , 46
16 Adam Willis  


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Laban Scott-Libby  
2 Sam Page  
3 Sam Collins  
4 Casey Maclaren  
5 James Parker  
6 Jamie Busby  
7 Lubomir Guentchev  
8 James Burgess  
9 Brian Haule  
10 Ivailo Dimitrov  
11 Wayne O'Sullivan  
12 Danny Dyer for 11 , 64
14 Iavor Guentchev for 6 , 71
15 Marc Leach  
16 Gary McCann  
17 Rakatahr Hudson for 9 , 64