Match Report

Hendon
2-0
Kingstonian
D Currie, J Mazzone
Match details
Competition: London Senior Cup
Venue: Metropolitan Police
Date: Wednesday 18 April 2012
Attendance: 344

Hendon used a mixture of youth and experience to brush aside Kingstonian and claim a second London Senior Cup in four years. This was a superb Greens performance, in very difficult conditions (on and off the field).

The off-field conditions were the result of a road accident which meant that James Parker, Ryan Wharton and Elliott Godfrey all arrived late. It resulted in Gary McCann having to make wholesale changes to what had been his planned line-up, formation and, to a lesser extent, style of play.

The difficulty on the field was the state of the pitch, because the surface - although perfectly flat - was very slick courtesy of the frequent rain showers that drenched the fans at the Esher end of the ground, and probably stopped many fans from making the journey to Thames Ditton at all. Players from both teams struggled to keep their feet and through balls from both teams often skidded away from everyone.

This latter situation actually helped Hendon because the Greens love nothing more than to keep the ball and pass it around. With good control and precise passing, Hendon had Kingstonian chasing shadows, expending energy in lost causes or making mistakes in timing challenges.

And it was a foul by Goode on Mazzone, just outside the Ks penalty area, in the third minute, that should have given Hendon the lead. Darren Currie's free-kick eluded everyone in the middle of the penalty area and Diedhiou, arriving late, stretched to reach the ball, planting against the foot of the far post.

Rob Tolfrey dived full-length to reach the ball, but couldn't get to it as it rebounded towards the middle of the six-yard box. Standing all alone was Maclaren, who didn't realise he had so much time. With almost the whole goal to aim at, he rushed his attempt and whilst a side-foot couldn't miss, his blast did, the ball sailing over the crossbar and out of the ground.

Hendon had another great chance five minutes later when Federico sped past Goode and had only Tolfrey to beat. To his credit the goalkeeper stood up as long as he could and when Federico struck a low shot to Tolfrey's right, he was able to stick out a large boot and defect the ball away from danger.

Kingstonian's first meaningful attack resulted in a powerful low drive which Laurencin saved. He gets extra credit for holding onto the ball which was more than necessary, given that the predatory Bobby Traynor was running in towards him, eager to snap up a chance on the rebound.

In the 18th minute, it was the Ks turn to strike the goalframe (the second of four times the ball clanged off the metalwork). A long throw from the left wing was flicked on at the near post and Traynor launched himself at the ball. His powerful header was brilliantly pushed aside by Laurencin and the top of the crossbar did the rest.

From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared by the Hendon defence. Four minutes later, Mazzone rose well to meet a cross and his header beat Tolfrey, but it dipped too late, kissing the top of the crossbar and going away for a goal-kick.

Although the Greens continued to enjoy the bulk of possession, Ks gained confidence from their two sights of the Hendon goal and the momentum of the first half changed. But Kingstonian continued to struggle to deal with Diedhiou down the right and Federico on the left, although Sam Clayton, Ryan Woods and Matt Pattison began to enjoy more fruitful possession in midfield.

With Allan Tait replacing the cuptied Saheed Sankoh - Ks' scorer on Saturday and, on the day, their most dangerous attacker - they had a different type of forward and Peacock and Fisher were able to keep Tait relatively quiet. Traynor couldn't get the time and space he needed to create his special brand of mayhem, so Kingstonian tried their luck from distance, where they found Laurencin determined to keep another clean sheet.

The half-time whistle gave everyone a chance to draw breath and the feeling was that Hendon, having missed those great early opportunities, had shaded the half but not done enough to win the game. For all their possession, the Greens needed to be more clinical in front of goal. But they certainly had the personnel to achieve that.

In the 54th minute, a run from Shulton took him past a couple of Ks players. He looked up and fired a shot which Tolfrey did well to not only save, but keep from bouncing away from him.

Two minutes later, Currie received a short pass from Cousins and ran at the Kingstonian defence, which backed off him. Maclaren came towards Currie, but the latter kept possession of the ball, at which point both McDonald and Hutchinson realised a hooped-shirted player had better try to make an intervention.

Currie took the ball wide of the two defenders and instantly created not only a better angle but also one that Tolfrey would struggle to see. Taking the ball to the edge of the penalty area, Currie struck a right foot shot that Tolfrey's dive was never going to reach and the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the goal. As it turned out, this was only the second best of two excellent goals on the night.

But first Hendon had to withstand a more urgent Kingstonian attack. The Ks won a free-kick some six yards outside the penalty area and Hendon built a five man wall to protect Laurencin. Pattison struck an excellent shot which went past the wall and Laurencin's outstretched hand couldn't quite reach the ball as it went inches over the crossbar.

Maybe if the ball had been a little bit lower, the goalkeeper might have been able to pull off a save. Hendon fans and players were glad the question didn'€™t need to be asked.

The game was very open and after Hendon's narrow escape, it was soon the Ks' turn to breathe a sigh of relief in their penalty area. And it was Currie - who grew in dominance as the evening progressed - who again tried his luck from long range after 63 minutes.

Another of Currie's talents is to get the ball to bounce in a place guaranteed to give goalkeepers fits. This shot landed a couple of yards in front of Tolfrey, who was a little fortunate that the rebound off his chest didn't go too far, but the important thing was that the ball was in front of him in the 18-yard-box and not behind him in the net.

The match was effectively decided in the 70th minute. Hendon were putting Kingstonian's defenders, reduced in numbers by their midfielders pushing forward in the hunt for an equaliser, under greater pressure. Rapidly closed down, the back four tried to get the ball clear, but they had increasing problems in achieving this.

And the pressure told when Page and McDonald couldn't deal with a bouncing ball. Tolfrey came off his line, hoping that McDonald would be able to get the ball back to him, but the captain's touch was not close to being strong enough.

Mazzone was the one to profit as he nipped in front of McDonald, saw Tolfrey approaching him and lifted the ball neatly over the goalkeeper's outstretched hands. He turned away in celebration as the goalkeeper barely dared to look behind him at the ball bouncing into the net, far ahead of Hutchinson’s vain attempt to reach it.

In the 78th minute, Hendon had another escape. A foul right on the edge of the Greens' penalty area gave Kingstonian another great opportunity to score. The wall was lined up, but the taker this time was the newly introduced Bird. He struck an absolute screamer which flew over the wall and Laurencin, but not the crossbar.

The thud of ball on metal was audible more than 100 metres away. The rebound, unfortunately for those in red and white, bounced too far away from the goal for a Kingstonian player to be able to capitalise.

For most of the last dozen or so minutes, Kingstonian threw everything into attack. Wave after wave or balls were played into the penalty area, but Wharton and Peacock repelled everything, aided it must be said, by some poor finishing. Two or three good chances were spurned, but the Hendon defence stayed disciplined.

At the other end of the ground, Hendon's small band of supporters cheered themselves hoarse. McCluskey and Federico both had half-chances to further extend the Hendon advantage, but the Greens took the pragmatic decision to reduce the number of players making forward runs and concentrate on stifling the opportunities at the other end.

At the final whistle, Hendon players went over to the fans to thank them for their support and Cousins was a proud man as he raised the London Senior Cup. And there was further reward for Federico as he received a special memento as the man of the match.

"I don't think the scoreline did the game justice," said a delighted McCann, who celebrated his 400th game in charge of Hendon. "I'm pleased to bring a big cup to the club. Our performance tonight was superb and we could have had many more goals.

"It was such an assured performance by all of the players. Our energy levels were fantastic and on a good surface we showed just how good our passing can be. Every one of the team did their bit tonight, but I thought Darren Currie was absolutely outstanding.

"We thought they would play three central defenders in their back four and we wanted to attack them wide and Dave Diedhiou and Jerome Federico did just that. Scott Shulton and Currie backed up Mazzone brilliantly.

"Defensively, Michael Peacock and James Fisher were immense, James Parker and Scott Cousins so solid out wide and Casey Maclaren did his usual job in front of them. Berkley Laurencin made three or four top saves and dealt with high balls really well. And the three substitutes all did their jobs exactly as I wanted them to.

"This will give us great confidence going into the final two matches of the season. If we can get into the playoffs, it might be an even better end to the season."

Report by David Ballheimer : Not to be reproduced without prior permission

Hendon

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Berkley Laurencin  
2 James Parker  
3 Scott Cousins  
4 James Fisher  
5 Michael Peacock  
6 Casey Maclaren  
7 Jerome Federico  
8 Dave Diedhiou  
9 Jack Mazzone  
10 Darren Currie  
11 Scott Shulton  
12 Carl McCluskey for 9 , 80
13 Isaiah Rankin  
14 Greg Ngoyi  
15 Ryan Wharton for 4 , 75
17 Elliott Godfrey for 2 , 82

Kingstonian

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Rob Tolfrey  
2 Aaron Goode  
3 Chris Page  
4 Gary MacDonald  
5 Tom Hutchinson  
6 Ian Gayle  
7 Sam Clayton  
8 Matt Pattison  
9 Bobby Traynor  
10 Allan Tait  
11 Ryan Woods  
12 Matthew Warren  
14 Malaki Lumsden  
15 Tom Bird for 3 , 74
16 Louis-Rae Beadle for 11 , 68
17 Jake Whincup