The magnitude of the task ahead was not lost on the Harmen boys as they went through their paces under the glare of the floodlights in what was described by Ben Adaki as “the most focussed and intense warm up of the season.” Everyone knew we were in for a challenge and were preparing their minds to face an experienced Hendon team.
MGBSFL Peter Morrison Cup Second Round
Southgate Harmen 1 Hendon United A 2
Sunday, 12 January, 2014
Harmens plans were dealt a major blow with trusty left back Adam Velleman picking up a serious injury within two minutes of the game starting and was later carted off in an ambulance to nearby Barnet General where he was diagnosed with torn ankle ligaments. We all wish Adam a speedy recovery during his lay off.
Sam Castle was his usual dominant self, winning every header but the Harmen wingers were not running on, perhaps in fear of Hendon hitting us on the break. At the half-time break, Hendon were one goal up with a well placed finish from the edge of the box.
A shift of formation and personnel in the second half and with the wind in our favour, we came out with a bit more freedom and the flick-ons from Castle were now being picked up. Oli Leslie and Ben Weinberg were starting to dominate the midfield and Ricky Rinder was making some penetrating runs from his new left-back position.
Hendon sensed that they would be able to capitalise on the attacking nature of Harmens play and they hit us on the counter to score their second goal of the game. At 2-0 down against a quality premier division side, the crowd on the sidelines (our biggest turn out of the season) must have been thinking that worse was to come.
However, the two-goal deficit lifted the boys on the pitch who were now clicking into gear, passes were finding their men and we looked increasingly dangerous. Ben Henry, who is starting to mature into a fine Harmen player, picked up the ball from Jordan Grant, made a run down the right, beat a couple of men and put the ball on a plate for Sam Castle who was never going to miss. The ball seemed to move in slow motion but over the line it went and we were back to one goal down with confidence, wind and possession all in our favour.
Hendon sensed this and started to sit deeper but Harmen could not quite make the break through, the keeper making a fine finger tip save from a Jon Morris header following a perfect free kick taken by the non stop Lee Greenfield and the resulting corner was headed over the bar.
All in all it was a performance that every single Harmen player could be proud of, a team of mostly new faces coming up against an experienced team from the top flight. It’s now time for us to focus on the league, after our performance on Sunday we need to push on in our promotion bid so that we can challenge ourselves against the likes of Hendon A week in week out next season.