Match Report

Aldershot Town
D Hylton 2
D Cracknell
Match details
Competition: FA Cup
Date: Saturday 03 November 2012
Attendance: 1822

Hendon's interested in the FA Cup with Budweiser ended in heart-breaking fashion at the EBB Stadium (formerly the Recreation Ground) when npower League 2 strugglers Aldershot Town scored in the last four minutes of normal time to snatch a 2-1 victory. In truth, for all of the outstanding effort, commitment and composure shown by the valiant Greens, a draw would have been the most they would have deserved.

There were two changes to the Hendon team which last seen action 11 days earlier against the Metropolitan Police, fit-again George McCluskey coming in for Howard Hall and Greg Ngoyi and Belal Aite-Ouakrim taking over from the Jack Mazzone and Elliott Charles. On the bench was on-loan debutant from Barnet Luke Gambin.

Before the match, Hendon boss Gary McCann warned his team that they could not make the sort of slow start which had been seen at Eastbourne Borough and Corby Town and his charges made sure that the Shots were limited in what they could do near to Berkley Laurencin's goal.

In the 10th minute, Aldershot Town almost took the lead. A free-kick was flighted into the penalty area and Craig Reid saw his goalbound header brilliantly saved by Laurenin. The rebound fell Michael Rankine, who was denied by a goalline clearance from Ryan Wharton, then a post was struck by Peter Vicenti before the ball ended in Laurencin's arms.

After 18 minutes, Shots captain Ben Herd was cautioned for a rash challenge on Belal Aite-Ouakrim 25 yards from his own goal. It was in perfect range for Michael Murray and the nervous Aldershot wall contained five red shirts.

It was the right-most member of that defensive guard who blocked the free-kick and he turned with dismay as the ball spun towards the side of the goal that goalkeeper Glenn Morris had just vacated attempting to reach where the ball was going. Luckily for the home team Morris's wall-building had been accurate and the ball bounced a couple of feet wide of the post.

Four minutes later, a cross from Herd was met by Keiron Cadogan but the on-loan wide man (from Crystal Palace) was off-target with his shot. By the midway point of the first half, the hosts were showing clear signs of nerves, not helped by the home support, already getting frustrated by the rather punchless attack.

Out of almost nothing, in the 29th minute, Hendon took the lead with one of the goals of the first round. The ball was played into Dean Cracknell, 35 yards from goal. He controlled the ball, turned and looked up. Seeing no one coming to close him down, Cracknell struck a volley that arched through the darkening sky, over the head and desperate dive of Morris and the ball dipped just under the crossbar.

It was a magnificent goal, and Cracknell admitted after the match, it was the best of his career. Hendon could, quite rightly, have expected an immediate response. They didn't get it as Aldershot players seemed shell-shocked and their fans stunned.

There was a shot from Reid, following a Cadogan cross, but it was straight at the goalkeeper albeit from a very good position. Hendon's response, in 38th minute, was a 34-yard drive from Murray that didn't quite dip in time and the ball landed on the top of the net.

Four minutes before half-time, another free-kick from Herd found the head of Sonny Bradley, but the centre-back could not put his effort close to the target. When the whistle blew at the end of the half, the Aldershot team trooped off to a chorus of boos. Hendon were just 45 minutes from a glorious, headline-making and lucrative victory.

Before the second half started, Aldershot replaced the ineffective and anonymous Rankine with Josh Payne.

Seven minutes into the second half, a key turning point went against Hendon. A corner was curled into the penalty area and Elliott Brathwaite rose unchallenged barely six yards from the goal. As he said later, he feared that a power header would have gone over the crossbar, so he elected to glance the ball. Sadly for the Greens, as a second goal would almost certainly have destroyed the already fragile morale of the Shots, Brathwaite narrowly failed to hit the target.

Four minutes later, Cadogan, who had enjoyed acres of space down the right wing, cut inside and delivered a teasing cross into the middle of the penalty area. Danny Hylton peeled away from Brathwaite and was perfectly placed in front of James Fisher to head the ball into the bottom corner.

Hendon made their first change just past the hour mark, Gambin taking over from Ngoyi. This move allowed Aite-Ouakrim to move a little further forward, while the substitute went to the left side, where he quickly gave Herd a number of problems.

In the 68th minute, Hendon put together their most flowing move of the match. Kevin and Casey Maclaren moved the ball to Murray, then Cracknell sent Gambin into space. He danced past Troy Brown and, crucially needed a second touch to regain his balance.

Looking up, Gambin felt the angle was too tight for him to shoot at goal, so he elected to pass the ball back towards the penalty spot. Sadly, it was the boot of Bradley which despatched the ball out for a corner before a Hendon player could finish off what would have been a golden chance.

By now, Aldershot were in the ascendancy, but their finishing was poor. Cadogan and Reid both fired well wide of the goal from good positions, while Laurencin, Fisher and Brathwaite all dealt with balls into the penalty area with calmness and assurance.

In the 78th minute, Aldershot had a great chance to take the lead when Hylton had a free header from 10 yards out. The cross from Cadogan was perfect, the attempt from the striker far from it as the ball went a good yard high and wide of the target.

But Hylton would get the last word, with five minutes of normal time remaining. A hopeful ball into open space down the left wing - Wharton had moved upfield to support Mazzone, who was dispossessed by Anthony Tonkin - was cleared for a throw-in by Fisher.

Unfortunately for the excellent Hendon captain, he didn't get the downfield distance he was hoping for and Payne was able to cross the ball near the touchline 25 yards from the corner flag. The ball landed at the feet of Reid, who tried a first-time shot, only for it to bobble against the legs of Wharton.

Given a second chance, Reid sized up the situation quickly and rolled a short pass into the path of Hylton. Ten yards from goal, the striker drilled the ball into the net, just past the brave dive of Kevin Maclaren.

Aldershot's response was to take off goal creator Reid and replace him with the more defensive Scott Donnelly. Hendon sent on Isaiah Rankin for Kevin Maclaren and also pushed Brathwaite into a centre-forward's role in an attempt to force a replay. The Shots countered with the removal of Cadogan and adding another defender in Aaron Morris.

Despite effectively playing a 3-3-4 formation, Hendon couldn't find the opening that would have got them a second bite of the cherry and, despite more than seven minutes of added time, the Shots were not unduly troubled.

"I was so proud of the boys," said McCann after the game. "We gave everything we had and a bit more too.

"I am devastated to lose the game so late, and the players were sitting in the dressing room absolutely heartbroken.

"It is good that we don't have a game on Tuesday night because we have some very tired bodies. It is going to be tough for us to raise everyone for next Saturday, but it is a good thing that we are playing a team such as Lowestoft because they will give us a really good test."

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

Aldershot Town

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
2 Ben Heard  
3 Anthony Tonkin  
5 Troy Brown  
9 Michael Rankine  
10 Danny Hylton  
11 Peter Vincenti  
20 Craig Reid  
23 Sonny Bradley  
28 Kieron Cadogan  
29 Glenn Morris (GK)  
31 Danny Rose  
4 Aaron Morris for 28 , 87
8 Josh Payne for 9 , 46
15 Guy Branston  
21 Jamie Young  
24 Myles Anderson  
26 Scott Donnelly for 20 , 84
36 Jack Munns  


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Berkley Laurencin  
2 Ryan Wharton  
3 George McCluskey  
4 James Fisher  
5 Elliott Brathwaite  
6 Kevin Maclaren  
7 Dean Cracknell  
8 Michael Murray  
9 Greg Ngoyi  
10 Belal Aite-Ouakrim  
11 Casey Maclaren  
12 George Smith  
13 Howard Hall  
14 Luke Gambin for 9 , 63
15 Jack Mazzone for 10 , 74
16 Sean Thomas  
17 Dave Diedhiou  
18 Isaiah Rankin for 6 , 85