HENDON FC   Monday 16th November 2015   NORTHWOOD FC

Middlesex Senior Cup Second Round

  Hendon 1  Northwood 2    

Vassell 78

Kennedy 68, Murray 82

Team line-up  
  Team line-up
1 Melvin Minter     1 Berkley Laurencin
2 Omar Vassell     2 Alex Nolan
3 Luke Tingey     3 Andy Lomas
4 Sam Flegg     4 Mark Burgess
5 Mark Kirby ©     5 Charlie Kennedy
6 Russell Short     6 Bayley Brown
7 Sam Murphy     7  Joakim Ehui
8 Dean Cracknell (69m)     8 James Burgess © (46m)
9 Aaron Morgan (88m)     9 Myles Stephenson(54m)
10 Finbarr Robins (82m)     10  George Nicholas (73m)
11 Andre Da Costa     11 Rob Hastings
Substitutes     Substitutes
12 Kezie Ibe (69m)     12 Michael Murray (46m)
14 Leon Smith (88m)     14 Max Holland
15 Goldy Capela (82m)     15 Louis Stead (73m)
16 Scott Cousins     16 Ethan Sennett
17 Joe Wright     17 Niko Muir (54m)
      Referee: Dan Richardson; Assistants: Thomas Healy & Conor Griffin      
  REPORT by Alan Evans  



It’s been nine years since the Woods won the Middlesex Senior Cup for the first and only time but they started this season’s campaign with this well-deserved victory, claiming the scalp of Ryman Premier side Hendon. The Greens have won the competition no less than fifteen times, though not since 2004. Hendon, who unluckily missed out on promotion to National League South last season in the play-offs, have been struggling for both goals and winning form in recent weeks and long-term Manager Gary McCann paid the Woods plenty of respect by naming a strong team as he hoped to kick-start his side’s faltering performances.

Mark Burgess opted to leave four regular starters on the bench, allowing Myles Stephenson, Bayley Brown and Rob Hastings to get minutes from the start having been substitutes in recent games. With Steve Brown and Jon Munday both still ruled out with injuries, the back-four remained the same.

On the rain-soaked surface, both sides started with plenty of confidence, knocking the ball around with neat precision but there was little early goalmouth action. In fact it was the Woods who notched the first shot of the game after 11 minutes as Stephenson battled for some space and hit a cracking low shot that was only just wide of the post. But Hendon were soon looking a threat and after Dean Cracknell had struck a long-range volley straight at goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin, Russell Short went close when he stole in between Mark Burgess and the Woods ‘keeper but steered his shot wide.

Again, it developed into a battle in midfield with George Nicholas impressing for the Woods and on the half-hour his shot looped up from a deflection but dropped comfortably into the arms of goalkeeper Melvin Minter. Short picked up the first yellow card of the evening for a trip on the advancing Nicholas who then had a shot straight at Minter and then another effort which was blocked on the edge of the box as the Woods began to press.

As half-time approached, Hendon won a corner which was headed back across goal and when the ball wasn’t cleared, it was Short who got a shot on goal but Laurencin was there to gather comfortably. Michael Murray replaced James Burgess for the second half as the Woods went for a more attacking formation and after Stephenson picked up a yellow card for a tired-looking challenge, he was swapped for Niko Muir.

The home side then went close to taking the lead inside a few minutes. Firstly Sam Murphy got in a rasping strike that Laurencin had to tip over the top acrobatically and from the corner, Aaron Morgan turned well in the box but his shot was always rising and flew over. Back came the Woods though and they grabbed the all-important first goal on 68 minutes. Murray’s corner came back out to him in a wide position and he knocked in a pinpoint cross that picked out the unmarked Charlie Kennedy. The Barnet loan player steered his header into the top corner to give Northwood the advantage.

Hendon made a change, bringing on the striker Kezie Ibe for midfielder Dean Cracknell as they looked to get back into the game. That should have been harder inside the next few minutes with Muir seeing two successive shots saved by Minter, the second, after a great ball from Murray, where the goalkeeper was out to smother his effort as he tried to chip it over him one-on-one. And the Greens took advantage of the miss. Firstly Morgan’s quick break saw him set up Murphy for a shot which was thankfully direct at Laurencin but then on 78 minutes, Omar Vassell, a Northwood player only two weeks earlier, stretched to get on the end of a dangerous cross and knocked in the equaliser.

Heads could have gone down but the Woods stormed back and, four minutes later, Murray was given too much space down the middle and with Andy Lomas pulling the defence and ‘keeper one way with an overlapping run, Murray went the other and stroked the ball past a the despairing dive of Minter to restore the lead. Hendon threw more attacking options onto the field with Goldy Capela and Leon Smith both entering the fray but the Woods defence held out strongly with Laurencin claiming a few crosses slung into the box, enjoying himself against his former club.

The Woods should gain more confidence from this victory and consistent recent performances as they go back into league action against high-flying Chalfont St. Peter on Saturday while Hendon will have to go back to the drawing-board away at Tonbridge Angels who have the best defensive record in their division.