Senior Challenge Cup match photo


Jim Taylor

The second semi-final of the Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup was contested on Tuesday last, 27th February at Silver Jubilee Park, between Hendon and Hayes & Yeading United. Hendon have won this trophy the most times (15), while Hayes & Yeading are the current holders, as a result of their emphatic 5-0 victory over Harrow Borough in last season’s final.

The winners’ opposition in the final was already known, as a fortnight previously, in the other semi-final, last season’s Middlesex Premier Cup winners, Rayners Lane, had won a penalty shoot- out against North Greenford United, following a 1-1 draw.

The Senior Challenge Cup is Middlesex FA’s oldest and most prestigious trophy. It was inaugurated in 1889, when it was won by Clapton FC.

Both of this evening’s contestants are members of the Southern League Premier South and currently hold mid table positions. At the time of writing, Hendon had 40 points from 29 matches and Hayes & Yeading United, 36 from 31.

Hendon, who have played at home in every round, had reached the semi-finals by beating Uxbridge 4-1 in round 1, Hanworth Villa 5-1 in round 2 and Northwood 3-2 in the quarter final.

Hayes & Yeading United had received a bye in round 1 and had then beaten Brentford B 2-0 and St Panteleimon 1-0 (both at home).

The teams produced a hard-fought cup tie, with two solid defences ensuring that scoring chances were at a premium. Hendon went ahead after 6 minutes and the visitors equalised in first half added time. There was no further scoring and penalties were required to obtain a result. Hendon went first and the United keeper saved.  The remaining kicks were all converted, sending United through to the final.  

Hendon went ahead after 6 minutes through Finlay Macnab, whose shot from around 20 yards took a deflection.

Finlay Macnab's deflected shot gives Hendon the lead

Then neither goalkeeper was seriously tested for some time. Ronan Silva’s long-range effort was easily held by Hendon’s Hafed Al Droubi.

Hafed Al Droubi saves from Ronan Silva

In the 30th minute, Hafed made a low save from Ronan Silva.

Hendon players received two yellow cards in quick succession. Blaise Riley-Snow was cautioned for a mistimed tackle in midfield and then Ethan Light protested too vehemently, after what he perceived to be a foul tackle on himself, went unpunished.

In the 35th minute, Finlay Macnab released Richard Pingling, whose low shot from the edge of the box brought a good diving save from Jacob Adams.

United had their best scoring chance so far, in the 44th minute. Omar Rowe crossed from the right to just beyond the far post, where Louis Dunne mishit his shot.

However, United equalised two minutes later, through Mo Bettamer, who curled a freekick from around 28 yards, around the wall, into the top corner of the goal.

Mo Bettamer's free-kick...

... equalises for United

Then Mo Bettamer almost scored again, shaving the Greens’ bar with a drive from the edge of the box.

Half-time score: Hendon 1 Hayes & Yeading United 1

Hendon made a double change for the start of the second half, introducing Hamza Semakula and Kurtis Cumberbatch to the action.

The respective defences dominated as the second half progressed and no clear-cut chances were created.   

A timely tackle by Hendon’s Ethan Light dispossessed Omar Rowe. United’s Jerry Wiltshire beat Ethan to Kurtis Cumberbatch’s ball into the box. Joe White’s cross was headed away. Kurtis fed Lucas Perry, whose progress into the United box was halted by weight of numbers.

Greens’ skipper Joe White was cautioned in the 64th minute for an aerial challenge.

United had a good scoring chance in the 75th minute but Billie Busari’s cross from the right was headed over by Marvel Ekpiteta.   

Marvel Ekpiteta's (5) header...

... goes over the bar

United went close again in the 86th minute, when Luke Gambin’s drive just cleared the Greens’ bar. Then Jerry Wiltshire headed over from a corner.

Luke Gambin (10) shoots...

... just over the Hendon crossbar

The 6 minutes of added time failed to produce a winning goal.

Jacob Adams beat Finlay Macnab to Romeo Akinola’s through ball before we progressed to the penalty shoot-out.

Score after 90 minutes: Hendon 1 Hayes & Yeading United 1   

Hendon’s Finlay Macnab hit the first kick of the shoot-out straight down the middle and Jacob Adams, who was diving to his right, saved with his foot.

Jacob Adams saves Finlay Macnab's penalty

All of the remaining penalty takers were successful. They were Cole Brown, Mo Bettamer, Luke Gambin, Ronan Silva and Ayo Faniyan for Hayes & Yeading United and Romeo Akinola, Joe White, Richard Pingling and Sam Adenola for Hendon.

Ayo Faniyan's penalty puts United into the final

Result of Penalty Shoot-out: Hendon 4 Hayes & Yeading United 5


Hendon: Hafed Al Droubi, Sam Adenola, Lucas Perry, Blaise Riley-Snow (Kurtis Cumberbatch 46 mins), Dan Matsuzaka (Hamza Semakula 46), Ethan Light, Finlay Macnab, Kyran Wiltshire (Romeo Akinola 66), Joe White (capt), Richard Pingling and Kai Brosnan (Luca Allinson 66).

Unused substitute: Alex Kovacevic.

Manager: Lee Allinson   

Assistant Manager: Marc Charles-Smith   

Coach: Caolan South   

Physio: Chad Smith.  

Hayes & Yeading United: Jacob Adams, Cole Brown (capt), Jack Williams (Ferdinand Okoh 88), Marvel Ekpiteta, Jerry Wiltshire, Omar Rowe (Steve Ngunga 75), Mo Bettamer, Billie Busari (Ayo Faniyan 75), Ronan Silva, Louis Dunne and Charlie Owens (Luke Gambin 66).

Unused substitute: Paul Field. 

Manager: Mark Molesley. 

Assistant Manager: Pete Stansford   

Physio: Craig White.

Referee: Conor Griffin   

Assistant Referees: Grisha Zeigermaher and Nicholas Churcher.

Attendance: 150

Our thanks are given to Hendon FC for their usual excellent hospitality. The match programme, edited by Nigel Kyte was impressive. It listed Hendon’s full match by match record in the Middlesex Senior Cup, since they first entered in season 1912-13. Chris Rogers, who supplied the statistics, informed us, amongst many other things, that this was Hendon’s 299th game in the competition and this is the 104th season in which they have taken part. They had won 173 of the 298 games, drawn 36 and lost 89. They had scored 681 goals and conceded 397.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn