December 8 2013 Latest news:
By Steve Rogers
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Hendon blogger Steve Rogers looks at the Greens’ history in the FA Cup and looks back on the weekend’s victory over Biggleswade United in the first qualifying round.
It’s amazing how quickly a disappointing run turns into a good run. Within a fortnight we’ve gone from a sequence of six games without a win to five games unbeaten.
Last Monday we beat our landlords Harrow Borough on their own patch, probably more comfortably than the 3-1 scoreline suggests - particularly as the third goal came shortly before the end of the game.
Two early goals from Jefferson Louis, who is proving to be an excellent summer signing, pretty much secured the points and Tony Taggart confirmed them with his first touch after coming on as a substitute late in the game.
Then on Sunday we began our FA Cup journey. The competition has been something of a happy hunting ground for the club over the years, with 21 appearances in the first round proper - the most recent of which was last season at Aldershot Town.
This time our campaign started with a home tie against Biggleswade United. We had met them once before, also in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup, back in 2005 when we won 6-0.
John Frendo scored a hat-trick and Ross Pickett, Youness Nabil and Mark Burgess netted the others - the latter two scoring their first and only goals for the club.
On Sunday we ran out 7-1 winners - the same margin of victory. Substitute Anthony Thomas scored a hat-trick - the first FA Cup hat-trick since Frendo’s - and Taggart scored twice in the first half. Jack Bennett also found the back of the net, as did Chris Seeby - his first but hopefully not only goal for the club.
Thomas’ hat-trick was even more notable as, timed at seven minutes, it is believed to be the quickest ever hat-trick scored by a Hendon player. The last quickest that we knew of was a nine-minute hat-trick by John Butterfield in the 1970s.
The victory also meant that it was the 28th season in a row that we have progressed through the first round of the FA Cup that we’ve entered. We have no idea whether this is a record nationally or not, but it must certainly be up there among the best. Even the top clubs get knocked out in the third round from time to time.
The performance was utterly professional by the squad - excellent for the full 90 minutes with every player, including the three subs, playing their part.
The star man for me, despite Thomas’ hat-trick, was Bennett, who is beginning to blossom into an excellent player on the left-hand side. He delivers a quality cross and as he demonstrated on Sunday that he is capable of scoring too - his goal was an absolute howitzer that simply flew into the net.
Our reward for winning is another home tie, this time against Conference South side Bishop’s Stortford, who we haven’t crossed swords since 2004. Stortford currently lie fourth in their league, so it is one of the toughest draws we could have got.
But as we proved last season with our wins over Corby Town and Eastbourne Borough, we know we can beat opposition from the level above. Who knows what will happen in a fortnight’s time?
The FA Cup is probably my favourite of the five cup competitions we enter - not just because we’ve had a decent amount of success in it, but also because it can be a money spinner for non-league clubs if you get a run in it.
There was £3,000 on offer in this round, and another £4,500 if we beat Bishop’s Stortford. While that will sound like peanuts to those of you who support top clubs, that is big money for clubs at our level.
It’s back to league action at the weekend, with a home game against Kingstonian, which I’ll miss due to other commitments, and then another home game next Monday against Billericay Town, which I will be at.
All are welcome at both games - and if you’re a season ticket holder at a Premier League or Football League club, you can get in for half price (£5) if you bring your season ticket along.