Match Report

Harrow Borough
J Walker 2, D Diedhiou, N Muir
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Tuesday 26 December 2017
Attendance: 280

Hendon completed a double over Harrow Borough with a 4-0 victory at Earlsmead on Boxing Day that was almost as dominant as the 6-0 August Bank Holiday success at Silver Jubilee. As well as the quartet of goals, the Greens hit the Harrow goal-frame twice and had a perfectly good goal disallowed.

There were three changes to Hendon's starting line-up as they welcomed back Luke Tingey, his first game since he broke his wrist in mid-August, Michael Corcoran and Josh Walker, they came in for the unwell Casey Maclaren and rested Ashley Nathaniel-George, who dropped to the subs bench.

Borough, whose perfect start to the season had ended with the SJP defeat, have struggled for consistent form and now find themselves just eight points above the drop zone. The heavy pitch deadened the bounce of the ball and both teams struggled to come to terms with the conditions in the opening half hour.

Harrow also suffered a blow midway through the half when playmaker Michael Bryan, a former Hendon player, limped off to be replaced by another ex-Don, Howard Hall. The substitute did not go into his usual full-back position, but was given a wide right midfield role, which didn't work and he and George Moore switched at half-time.

By this time, Hendon were already one goal to the good and it could have been more. In the 32nd minute Niko Muir jinked his way around Shaun Preddie and from an acute angle struck a rasping, rising drive which beat Melvin Minter - a third ex-Green - but not the crossbar, which was left shaking for some seconds.

If that had been misfortune for Hendon, then there was a stroke of luck in the opening goal, in the 37th minute. Tingey and Walker combined down the left side and when Walker cut inside, he met no resistance from Moore.

Taking a step to steady himself, Walker let fly with a diagonal drive. The ball may have been missing the far post, but Minter's attempted save certainly diverted the ball goalwards and it was helped over the line by Chinua Cole as the defender vainly attempted to make a clearance a yard out.

Just before the break, Hendon were within inches of making it 2-0. A shot from Muir was going just wide of the far post as Shaun Preddie and Keagan Cole chased in. Neither player could reach the ball, but Cole hit the post with his shin and needed significant treatment before he was able to continue.

Memories of the last two seasons' ten- and nine-goal Christmas crackers seemed a distance removed at half-time, with the solitary goal to show for a lot of effort, but little in the way of great quality. The second half was a rather different story, at least from the Green (or royal blue) perspective.

It took barely two minutes for Hendon's lead to be extended. A corner from Zak Joseph was flicked on by Rian Bray and, as Harrow defenders stood dumfounded, Dave Diedhiou inserted his powerful frame into the action and slammed the ball into the net. It was the midfielder's sixth goal in a little more than five weeks.

Tom Lovelock finally had to make a save of any note in the 52nd minute - and it would be his only one. He was at full stretch to keep an effort from going over the goal-line, but he was trying to avoid a corner because a deflection had sent the ball wide of the target.

If Harrow's bad day wasn't enough, they lost another player to injury, this time centre-back and skipper Preddie, who made way for Tayo Davies-Coker, himself left out of the starting line-up after a poor performance three days earlier.

Joseph was twice unlucky to get on the scoresheet. In the 56th minute, he was denied by a good save from Minter, then, eight minutes, his right foot drive beat Minter and struck the far post before being hacked clear by Hall before Walker could reach the rebound.

With Jake Eggleton regularly complementing the Hendon attack down the right side, Cole was having an afternoon to forget. Eggleton and Joseph were far too much for him to handle, and he got little support from Adam Pepera, who after needlessly conceding a corner laughed about his error.

The two goal Hendon lead was extended 17 minutes into the second half. Walker started out on the left touchline and he sprinted infield, beating three red shirts before reaching the "D" of the penalty area.

From there, Walker sent the ball out to Joseph, who found Cole nowhere near him, so he ran into the danger area and delivered a low cross. Davies-Coker just about beat Muir to the ball, but succeeded only in back-heeling it straight to Walker, who finished with aplomb.

Desperate now to get back into the game, Harrow made their last change before the three-quarter mark, taking off Moore and sending on Anthony O'Connor. Having named only three substitutes, the attacking O'Connor was the last option, but further defensive replacements were the real need.

Hendon then made their first change, Nathaniel-George taking over from Joseph, with Walker given the joyful task of tormenting Cole. It was a role he would take on with relish, exemplified in the 83rd minute.

Matt Ball had replaced Keagan Cole for the final 15 minutes (and Malachy McGovern would come on for Diedhiou with five minutes of normal time remaining) as Hendon had their way with a disheartened Harrow team. Every Dons attack brought with it the imminent danger to Borough of another goal.

In the 83rd minute, Walker picked up the ball on half-way and ran down the right wing, riding three foul challenges from Chinua Cole. When he got into the penalty area, Cole got his legs in a tangle and brought down Walker to conceded a penalty.

Up stepped Muir and he made no mistake with a powerful strike that went into the opposite corner to which Minter was diving.

With the game in stoppage time, Muir had the ball in the back of the Harrow net again. A corner from Ball was met by Muir, who had been in front of Minter before the ball had been struck and he merely stepped forward and nodded the ball over the goal-line.

To the bemusement of everyone, the referee ruled that Muir had impeded the goalkeeper, who simply had not been positioned well enough to get to the ball before the striker. It was the last meaningful action of what had been thoroughly measured Hendon performance, especially in the second half.

The result lifted the Greens to third in the Bostik League Premier Division, and made it a seven-day return of three wins in three games with a goal difference of 11 to two. Other results also meant that Hendon's third place will stand up irrespective of games in hand for all of the chasing pack.

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

Harrow Borough

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Melvin Minter  
2 George Moore  
3 Chinua Cole  
4 Shaun Preddie  
5 Adam Pepera  
6 Kurtis Cumberbatch  
7 Charles Banya  
8 Greig Stewart  
9 Ryan Moss  
10 Michael Bryan  
11 Sahr Kabba  
12 Tayo Davis-Coker for 4 , 52
14 Howard Hall for 10 , 29
15 Anthony O'Connor for 2 , 67


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Tom Lovelock  
2 Jake Eggleton  
3 Luke Tingey  
4 Dave Diedhiou  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Arthur Lee  
7 Keagan Cole  
8 Michael Corcoran  
9 Zak Joseph  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Josh Walker  
12 Ashley Nathaniel-George for 9 , 66
14 Matt Ball for 7 , 76
15 Malachy McGovern for 4 , 84
16 Daniel Purdue  
17 Cameron Currie