London Senior Cup Quarter Final
Thursday 26th March 2015
Silver Jubilee Park
Match report and pics: Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals crashed out of the London Senior Cup at the Quarter Final stage to a rampant Hendon who showed their Ryman Premier class and why they’re pushing for promotion this season.
Ironically, Hendon were the lowest ranked opposition that Casuals had played in the competition this season, but the wins over Bromley and AFC Wimbledon were against squads littered with academy players. Hendon offered no such relief and fielded a line up packed with first teamers.
The evening was also an historic one; this was Hendon’s first competitive match on what will be their own home ground in the near future… Silver Jubilee Park. The occasion was graced with a bumper crowd and Hendon’s young stars of the future acted as mascots for both teams on the night.
With one division and thirty-five places separating the teams, Boss Matt Howard would need to call on a full strength side but the recent gruelling schedule meant he was missing the defensively capable Danny Green, the midfield strength of Lee Hall and the attacking prowess of Dave Hodges. A reshuffled line up consisting of a first start of the season for ex-captain Jason Turley was the next best thing.
Honours were even for the first half hour; Hendon had half chances with Max McCann heading over from a penetrating cross and at the other end, Maz Bettache and Max Austin had chances to put Corinth infront. The artificial surface allowed both teams to get the ball down and play some attractive football.
On the half hour mark, the deceptively pacey Aaron Morgan beat Jake Gill down the left before cutting inside and drilling low past Danny Bracken. If the dubious goals panel were in attendance (I doubt they were), the goal was given as an OG to Maz Bettache, but looked like a perfectly good strike by the Hendon forward and deserved the credit.
Reece Placid had a great chance to immediately make it level; using his pace, his drive into the box and resulting shot was well kept out by Ben McManara in goal. Maz Bettache also smashed the crossbar direct from a corner.
But soon it was two-nil; From a dangerous position, a free kick was perfectly glided to the far side and Aaron Morgan was able to tuck the ball away past Bracken. If two-nil was tough to come back from, three-nil was an almost impossibility. James Fisher linked up with Morgan and his precise pass split the Casuals’ back four and found Leon Smith who left Bracken fighting with thin air and tucking into an unguarded net.
After the break, Corinth kept their shape better and looked to cause problems on the counter-attack. They got their reward. From defending a corner, Juevan Spencer broke up the pitch and interlinked with Jamie Byatt who found the net from close range. Casuals now looked more dangerous with this change in tactics and were unfortunate not to get back to 3-2. Jake Gill’s thumping effort crashed down off the bar and somehow not over the line. It would’ve been the perfect way to open his Corinth account.
However, Hendon once again turned on the taps and made it four and five in quick succession. Kezie Ibe finishing off a wonderful move which left Bracken, who’d again been excellent all night, stranded. A penalty was converted by Aaron Morgan in the dying minutes and he duly placed it past to give Hendon the deserved win.
Thank you to our hosts who were incredibly warm and welcoming, from their officials, players and supporters. The match was played in the best spirit and we were humbled at how ‘privileged’ they felt that their opening competitive fixture was against our historic club. We wish them all the very best in the cup and league.
After the match, Matt Howard commented, “I don’t think it was a 5-1 game but fair play to them, going forward they were very good.
“We’ve had a couple of half decent half chances and on another day, we could’ve gone in at half time one-all.
“The game was over at half time really. We looked to try and get something out of the match and when we got it back to 3-1 and Jake Gill hit the bar, we could’ve been right back in it.
“But Hendon were the better side and deserved to win but 5-1 seems a little harsh.
“Quarter final of a cup, you want to do well, especially when you get to this stage. But realistically, we could’ve done without it as we’ve still got eight games left in the league. We’re five points off hitting the all time club record for the league points, which obviously we want to beat.”
Photos from the match can be seen here.
'The Luxury Fan's' blog post about the occasion can also be read here.