Bostik Premier: Hendon 6 Harrow Borough 0
PUBLISHED: 07:32 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:32 29 August 2017
Hendon ended league leaders Harrow’s perfect start to the season in spectacular fashion at a baking hot Silver Jubilee Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Greens made a couple of changes to the starting line-up, with Matt Ball and Reis Stanislaus coming into the team at the expense of Ollie Sprague and Kezie Ibe, as Cameron Currie was the one to drop out of the 16.
And it took Hendon less than 30 seconds to open the scoring as the ball was played down the right side, to the feet of Stanislaus, who had the chance to shoot, but instead rolled the ball sideways to Keegan Cole, who also had a shooting opportunity but passed it up in favour of a pass to Ball.
Taking a touch to control the ball and steady himself, Ball lashed the ball past the flailing dive of Melvin Minter at the near post.
Curtis Ujah, who was on trial at Hendon in pre-season before joining Borough, was caught out in the fifth minute when he failed to step up quickly enough.
A slide-rule pass from Zak Joseph found Niko Muir, who timed his run perfectly, leaving Howard Hall trailing in his wake. Minter was quick to come off his line, but Muir slipped the ball between the former Hendon keeper’s legs and was wheeling away in celebration even before the ball had entered the net.
Harrow were shell-shocked, but it did not take long for their afternoon to get much worse.
Hall was, again, found out defensively as he meandered away from his left back position in the 15th minute and when the ball was passed to Muir no one was close to the striker, who ran towards goal, beat the only covering defender and beat Minter.
Ujah’s reaction to his team-mates’ lackadaisical defending was, loud, crude and to the point.
Hendon’s first-half dominance was almost absolute and Harrow were left chasing shadows.
Jake Eggleton, Rian Bray, Arthur Lee and Sam Murphy were more than comfortable in dealing with what little Borough offered in attack and Tom Lovelock, behind them was almost a spectator.
And it was little better for the visitors in midfield, where Dave Diedhiou, Matt Ball and Keagan Cole did pretty much as they pleased.
It was actually a bit of surprise that it took more than 20 minutes for a fourth goal to arrive.
Eggleton was the creator this time, first nipping in front of Michael Bryan to reach the ball, then playing another inch-perfect forward pass.
The offside trap was, once again, found wanting – Hall being too deep defensively and not quick enough to keep up with Muir, who completed his second hat-trick in five games.
From the restart, Harrow tried a shot at goal – their first real one of the match – which was probably going wide, but Lovelock made the comfortable save. At the other end, Minter made an excellent sprawling save to keep out an effort from Cole.
In the second half, Harrow were distinctly better and at least created a few openings as Bryan was twice denied by Lovelock, before Hendon added goal number five.
This was a superb team goal, involving a number of players and slick passes before Joseph, set up by Stanislaus, scored his first Hendon goal.
The Greens had already made their first change, with Sprague replacing Eggleton, before a quartet of changes came with 18 minutes remaining.
Harrow made all three of their substitutions in one go, while Ashley Nathaniel-George took over from Joseph for the Greens.
And within a minute, Hendon had made it 6–0 with another excellent goal.
Murphy, who had moved the right-back position when Sprague came on, slipped a pass to Muir, who got around Hall with ease, then beat Adam Richards. He drilled a low ball across the six-yard box where, arriving at the back post, Cole slid the ball into the net.
Cole was replaced by Casey Maclaren for the final 13 minutes, as Harrow went into damage limitation, although that was not quite the extent of their ambitions and Lovelock was forced to make two reasonable saves in the final ten minutes.
However, Hendon were still dangerous every time they attacked and there was air of disappointment when the final whistle blew – at least for the home fans – because they had been royally entertained for all of the 90 minutes and they wanted it to last much, much longer.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton (Sprague 64), Murphy, Diedhiou, Bray, Lee, Cole (Maclaren 77), Ball, Stanislaus, Muir, Joseph (Nathaniel-George 72). Unused subs: Corcoran, Ibe.
Harrow: Minter, Preddie, Hall, Richards, Ujah, Cumberbatch, Banya, McLeod (Cain 72), Turl (Pacquette 72), Bryan, O’Connor (Testolin 72). Unused sub: Davies-Coker.