Late Penalty Sends Hawks Out of FA Cup
The Hawks were unable to capitalise on a man advantage, losing 2-1 to a stubborn Hendon side who nicked it late on.
By Callum Hibberd
ROMARIO Jonas opened the scoring for Hendon in the 76th minute. With Harlow staring down the barrel of a 4th consecutive home defeat, JJ Da Cruz equalised with a powerful header, sending the tie into extra time.
It wasn’t to be for Harlow though, who despite being a man up since the 61st minute, threw away the £6,000 prize money up for grabs by conceding an 118th minute penalty.
Harlow were playing brightly in the first ten minutes, knocking the ball around at speed and with accuracy. However, there only real chance of this period came when Paul Rodgers unleashed an ambitious effort from 35 yards out in the first 60 seconds, his sliced shot dipped well but didn’t really trouble the keeper.
Despite being shirt-pulled for about 15 yards by Prince Mbengui, Jason Raad, with his quick feet, ventured to outside the box, winning a free kick in the process. The set piece was poor but the warning signs were clear for Hendon, particularly Mbengui who was carded for the eventual foul.
Hendon got a first shot off in the 18th minute. The pacey Stephane Ngamvoulou chased a ball down the byline and set up Mbengui, who curled wide despite the space and time he had.
There was a heart-in-mouth moment in the 26th minute when a long clearance from Hendon keeper Danny Boness had to be cleared by his opposite number Josh Bexon. This aside, both teams were wise on and off the ball, but failed to create anything of significance.
Ngamvoulou broke this trend with eight minutes of the half left. After cutting into the left edge of the box from a lofted pass, he found his team-mate and goal machine Ricardo German. The number nine surged towards goal but was on the receiving end of a monstrous tackle from Rodgers. They had another half-chance with one minute left, captain Lee Chappell crossing to Matty Newman, who’s hooked volley went over and wide. The former put in another ball moments later, and although it looked destined for the car park, it actually fell to German, who looked just as surprised to see it, completely mistiming his shot from close range.
HALF-TIME: Harlow 0 – 0 Hendon
Starting again in the first team after scoring three days ago, Christian Adu Gyamfi shot from range instantly into the half after winning the ball in the middle, and was only inches wide.
Four minutes later, it was Chappell again with an accurate cross from left back, but Bexon was equal to Hunte’s powerful goalward header.
53 minutes in, after good work from Robbie Martin, the ball was given to Raad on the right. His cross was accurate, but Gyamfi tried to turn and chest it down rather than heading it, perhaps a sign of his tender age. He continued to work hard though, winning multiple free kicks from his strong hold up play. It was from one of these he had his next chance, the young forward overhead kicking Louis Yuill’s long delivery over.
Raad and Gyamfi linked up again in the 56th minute, the South African’s powerful ball from the byline testing but not entirely connected with by his teammate. The game had certainly opened up, Newman shooting just wide four minutes after, following some impressive interplay between Ngamvoulou and Hunte.
Hendon should have gone ahead in the 61st minute, Tyriq Hunte worked hard down the right, and put in a standard cross. However, Da Cruz and Rodgers both left it, and Ngamvoulou somehow couldn’t head it in from close range. The chance should’ve given them the incentive to really kick on, but any effort to would’ve been halted by the second yellow shown to Mbengui, who executed a very mistimed challenge on Simms near the centre circle.
Harlow’s first chance since the red took six minutes to be mustered. Kissi, still looking for his first assist of the season, delivered to Gyamfi. His touch was good, but his shot was well blocked by Luke Tingey. From the block, the ball was just in the air for too long, with Boness easily smothering Gyamfi’s second bite of the cherry.
Despite being a man down, the visitors went a goal up through centre half Romario Jonas. A simple goal to concede, an ordinary set piece ball met first and accurately by the centre-back. With fourteen minutes to go, Harlow were behind.
Danny Chapman responded by bringing on Alex Clark for Jason Raad and the sub was involved immediately, winning a freekick just outside the left edge of the box. Martin’s delivery curled into the path of Gyamfi, but the header was narrowly over.
Hendon nearly doubled their lead with 80 on the clock, yet another ball from Chappell the catalyst. His lobbed cross sailed over Da Cruz, but Bexon was on hand to smother German to keep Harlow in the game. Harlow then went down the other end and almost equalised, a Simms header at a corner well caught by an outstretching Boness.
Perhaps a sign of how heated the game was becoming, Gianni Crichlow, bought on about ten minutes earlier, was then taken off by his manager, with no sign of an injury. Taishan Griffin replaced him.
With tension rising in the crowd, someone needed to produce a moment of magic. And it was 18-year-old Kissi who stepped up.
The left-back has been deserving of a first assist all season, and finally got it, his superb whipped cross being met by a diving JJ Da Cruz. The centre-half wheeled away in celebration for his second goal of the season, and a late equaliser for the Hawks.
A brilliant save by Bexon in response to a cracking long shot from German forced a 91st minute corner. The corner was short to Newman, and his deflected long shot bounced off the crossbar.
END OF 90 MINUTES: Harlow 1 – 1 Hendon
Harlow went on an onslaught as early as two minutes in. First, Da Cruz’ powerful shot was well saved by Boness, then Clark had a shot blocked from close range, forcing a corner. This corner forced another, from which Da Cruz should’ve scored from, somehow completely failing to connect with Charlie Edwards’ delivery.
German next came close in the 101st minute, the striker latching onto a lofted ball from, you guessed it, Lee Chappell. Like Kissi, he was very deserving of an assist, and would’ve been frustrated at how close German came with his glancing header.
EXTRA TIME FIRST HALF: Harlow 1 – 1 Hendon
Last Dombaxe had the first chance of this period, shooting just over after receiving a short corner. Substitute Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway was next, a weak shot from about 20 yards out trickling wide.
113 minutes in, Edwards was unfairly carded for what looked like a well-executed slide tackle from behind. From this, Ngamvoulou won a corner with his low cross. The ball was played short, and a few dangerous crosses later, the ball was eventually cleared.
Despite being a man up, Hendon were ramping up the pressure and Harlow were holding on. In the 117th minute, the ball was played long. German tried to chase it down, but Rodgers got there first and nodded it down to his partner Da Cruz. Da Cruz tried to smash it for a clearance, but it ricocheted off German, who chased the ball down and was clipped by Bexon in the box. Fans held their breath, but the referee awarded a fair penalty. The man who won it then scored it, getting his ninth of the season with a calm shot down the middle.
Harlow looked to equalise again and came close when Edwards met a precise Clark cross. Unfortunately, the midfielder missed, his bundled effort just going wide.
As two minutes of added time were indicated, Vaughan then came close, receiving a through ball on the left edge of the box before drilling wide. But there was still more to come, a corner shortly after was headed around the box, and although Gyamfi eventually pounced, Tingey performed a heroic block on the goal line.
Not much time was left after that, with referee Hugh Gilroy blowing the full-time whistle and consigning Harlow to a disappointing First Qualifying Round exit.
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