Date: Mon 15 Jan 2024

By Andy Poole


Skipper on a fantastic Isuzu FA Trophy win

It was a day to savour for Pitching In Southern League Premier South outfit, Hendon, on Saturday as they secured their place in the last 16 of the Isuzu FA Trophy for the first time in over two decades with a dramatic 2-1 victory at Vanarama National League outfit, Oldham Athletic.

The opening period was a cagey affair with defences on top and then the second period started with goalkeeper, Brad House, making a couple of key saves to keep the scores level before he was forced to leave the action through injury.

It only added to the drama of the occasion, and soon afterwards, Joe White put Hendon ahead with a neat finish which sent the travelling faithful wild with delight.

The home side were handed a lifeline with a penalty in the second minute of stoppage time that James Norwood fired home to level the scores, but Hendon refused to let their heads drop and moments later, Billy Leonard went close before White had an effort cleared off the line in the next attack.

From the resulting corner, in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Niko Muir was able to force the ball over the line. Sure, it wasn’t pretty but try telling that to the players and 221 travelling supporters as the celebrations began.

“The day was such a great experience for everyone involved,” skipper White told us. “Playing a club like Oldham is something that not many of the squad had experienced before so to go there and win was amazing.

“We knew that it was a daunting task in front of a big crowd, but at the same time, we knew that the longer we stayed in the game, our chance would come.

“It was important that when that chance did come, we took it. My goal came from a goal kick; I remember blocking their man from having a free header, which he missed all together, and I think it caught their full-back off guard as it bounced right over his head and straight into our left winger Kai Brosnan’s path.

“He then drove from the by line into the box and cut it back to me around the penalty spot where I hit it first time into the corner. It was nice to see it go in!

“After that we knew that they would have plenty of the ball so we had to be organised and work our socks off to hold on to our lead. With the players we have here, we also fancied our chances on the counter-attack and I think they were wary of that too.

“The penalty in stoppage time gave them a lifeline and it would have been easy for our heads to drop or settle for penalties, but instead we just went for it and got our reward right at the death.

“As players, we wanted to go out there and not only do ourselves proud, but also the management team, the club, our families and, of course, the fans who travelled up there to support us.

“I think as a group we have grown so much in confidence and belief as the season has gone on and had this game come earlier in the season, it might have been too much for us, but our performances have got better and better and so too has our belief.

“That belief means that we’re never out of games and we also have the ability to win ugly, which is a big thing.

“Beating a club like Oldham will give us even more confidence now to take into the second half of the season. We want to keep pushing ourselves and winning games of football, then see where it takes us.

“It’s been a good season so far, but we are determined to make it even better and continue our journey in both the League and FA Trophy.”

The draw for the fifth round of the Isuzu FA Trophy sees Hendon on the road again as they head to Wealdstone.

IMAGE: DBeech Photography

Hendon Web Site

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