Two second half strikes from Chris Shephard saved Boroughs FA Cup blushes this weekend as the side salvaged a 2-2 draw to earn a replay at Hendon.
By Bradley Sharp
Borough went into the game on the back of two league loses to Tonbridge in midweek and heartbreak at Weston-Super-Mare the week prior. Hendon however where in high spirits having beaten Lewes 3-0 in the second FA Cup qualifying match weeks prior.
Boroughs recent FA Cup exploits have not been successful to say the least losing their previous six games, three of which to lower league opposition much like our visitors today Hendon FC, who currently reside 21st in the Ryman Premier Division.
However the Sports had been here before and were looking for a win and step towards the first round proper which they have reached before the most famous being the 2005/2006 tie with League 2 Oxford City.
The sun shone on the lane as the game kicked off, both teams looking especially focused about progression to the next round, ‘a step closer to Wembley’. It didn't take long for the game to spring into life and both keepers tested, Nick Jordan took far too much time to clear a regulation pass back which allowed Hendon Striker Casey MacLaren a sniff at goal, but the keeper managed to save his side diving on the ball just before the lunging number 11.
The home side had most of the possession early on but managed to create limited chances, Ellis Remy headed wide from a Ben Adams in swinging corner before David Knight should have opened the score with a low drive, but Berkley Laurencin in the Hendon goal was equal to it.
The visitors came closest to opening the scoring in the 40th minute when the cautioned Kevin MacLaren’s long distance drive flashed over the Borough woodwork.
The Sports continued to press and where unlucky not to score in the 45th minute, when a superb long distance strike from Chris Shephard needed an acrobatic save from the Hendon keeper to tip the ball inches wide.
The second half started poorly for the hosts and with only three minutes on the clock Hendon took the lead. Elliot Charles ran unchallenged through the heart of the Borough defence before sliding a neat pass to his left assisting Greg Ngoyi, whose low finish across the goal beat keeper Jordan with ease.
The visitors could have doubled their lead on 56th minutes when Charles’ pace down the right hand side left the Borough defence in his wake. The Grenadian international unable to provide the finish however, shooting high and wide from a narrow angle.
But this didn’t discourage the hosts and on the hour mark Shepard saw a good shot tipped round the post, after cutting in onto his right from the left hand flank. With this came the changes, Charlie Gorman and Darren Lok coming on to replace Knight and Johnson respectively.
As the game progressed so did the voices of the travelling supporters and Borough’s frustration, shown by Remy’s unnecessary challenge Hendon midfielder Scott Shulton earning himself a booking.
Hendon were forced into a change in the 68th minute when the influential Charles, by far the best player on the pitch, was replaced by Isiah Rankin following a knee injury.
With the visitors penned in their own half Borough began to turn up the heat and levelled the scores in the 71st minute, a powerful low blast 6 yards from goal scored by Shephard.
No sooner had Borough levelled the crowd were silenced again. A sensation right footed lob from Hendon striker Ngoyi beat a helpless Jordan all ends up and he claimed his second of the day, the score now 2-1.
But it wasn’t to be a fairy-tale hat-trick for the striker as he was replaced by Jack Mazzone with ten minutes left on the clock, the visitors looking to hold on to claim their place in the next round, one step closer to the first round proper.
Borough made their third and final change in the 85th minute when David Obaze came on to replace midfielder Adams, Boro looking to add a further attacking threat in the hope of a last ditch equaliser.
What do they say about the magic of the FA Cup again? Almost instantly after coming on Obaze headed the ball down in the Hendon box for Shephard who finished with a superb right footed volley into the roof of the Hendon goal.
The last few minutes where end to end with both teams looking to score what would surely be the winner, but it never came. Instead the match ended on a sour note when Hendon midfielder Shulton was handed a straight red card following an awful two footed tackle on Borough left back Sam Cole.
A spirited comeback by Borough who trailed twice, but an equally impressive draw for the visitors who will entertain The Sports in the replay on Tuesday night at Wembley Park.
Replay: Wembley Park Tuesday 9th October 2012
Borough: Jordan, Hamilton, Cole (Captain), Adelsbury, Rowe, Uddin, Adams (Obaze 84), Johnson (Gorman 60), Knight (Lok 60), Remy, Shephard
Unused Subs: Noone, Ademeno, Morgan, Hart
Goals: Shephard (71, 86)
HendonI: Laurencin, Wharton, Cousins (Captain), Fisher, McCluskey, MacLaren, Cracknell, Shulton, Ngoyi, Charles (Rankin 68), MacLaren (Hall 90)
Unused Subs:Murray, Smith, Thomas, Mazzone, McCluskey
Cards: MacLaren, Red: Shulton
Goals: Ngoyi (48, 72)
Ref: Mr I Cooper
MOM, sponsored by Winning Look For Trophies: Chris Shephard