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MATCH PREVIEW – Hendon v Dartford – London Senior Cup

hendon Match preview

Dartford can concentrate on reaching a county cup final for the third time in five seasons when they take on Hendon in the London Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

Thirteen times winners of the Kent Senior Cup, Dartford won consecutive titles in 2021 and 2022 and now the Darts will be eyeing a place in the final of the London Senior Cup for the first time. Hendon are six times winners last lifting the trophy four years ago and are hoping to secure a top ten finish in the Southern League Premier South.

When Dartford and Hendon last played at the same level it was in the Isthmian Premier League. Princes Park was still in its infancy and Hendon’s Claremont Road era was coming to an end. After storming to the Isthmian Division One North title and winning promotion, Dartford’s opener the following season was on the road against the Greens. The Darts were humbled 3-0 with Brian Haule, James Bent and Chris Bangura scoring for the hosts. Dartford finished the game with ten men when defender Jon Guest was sent off. The reverse fixture in December 2008 went Dartford’s way when an unlikely source became the match winner. Tommy Osbourne scored a penalty, the defender ended up with 258 appearances and all three of his goals were from the spot.

In the only other campaign together, Dartford won the Isthmian Premier League title. That season the Darts were early pacesetters and won 5-0 at Princes Park, a sixth victory in the opening seven games opened up a five point cushion at the top. It could have been worse for Hendon, but James Reading saved an early penalty. It took until just before the break for the Darts to get the goals flowing when Rob Haworth scored the opener. In the second-half, Lee Burns doubled the lead before Jay May grabbed a brace. In the final minute Lee Noble completed the rout. The penultimate game of the season almost fourteen years to the day was a closer affair. Danny Harris scored both goals in a 2-1 victory.

Dartford have gone full circle since those days climbing up to the top of non-league before their return to the Isthmian Premier next season. Hendon are just about to complete a 45th consecutive year at the same level, but at least they have had a change of scenery switching from the Isthmian League to the Southern League in 2018.

YouTube player
Match highlights courtesy of Dartford FC TV

In the final game of the National South season at home to Truro City on the weekend, Adrian Pennock made eight changes to the side that won the quarter final tie a week ago. Sam Odaudu made his first start since mid-February and Oliver Bray who last featured against Truro City a month ago made a substitute appearance against his former side. Odaudu was one of two alterations from the side that lost at Yeovil Town with Taylor Maloney in for Harrison Sodje.

The Darts signed off with a 2-1 victory, their first win in the league since November, a run of eleven games. Joash Nembhard powered home a header midway through the first half from a Luke Coulson corner. Rhys Byrne kept Truro City at bay in an excellent performance, which included a triple save in the second half. The hosts went two ahead after Oliver Bray put in a low cross that was deflected and wrong footed goalkeeper, James Halman for an own goal. Byrne’s performance deserved a clean sheet, but in the final minute Tyler Harvey’s long range drive nestled into his bottom corner. Dartford finished the season fourth from bottom.

Hendon have yet to win this month or even lose. The Greens have drawn all five in April. On Saturday they recorded their sixteenth draw, more than anyone else in the Southern League Premier South and now they occupy eleventh spot with a game to go.

Their latest stalemate was goalless at home to Gosport Borough. A week ago Hendon let a two goal lead slip against Sholing with all four goals coming in a nine minute spell either side of the break. Billy Leonard and Shaun Lucien scored two in a minute on the stroke of half-time, but Sholing pulled one back before the whistle went for the interval. The Hampshire side equalised in the second-half to leave the score at 2-2. A pair of 1-1 draws against Merthyr Town and Walton and Hersham followed the 0-0 at Hayes and Yeading.

London Senior Cup – story so far

Round One
Dartford 1 – 0 Harrow Borough
An own goal sent the Darts on their way in the London Senior Cup, but the narrow scoreline didn’t tell the whole story. The hosts could have been more clinical in front of goal during a dominant display. Henry Lukombo failed to clear Baris Altintop’s cross and the ball ended up in his own net.

Hendon 6 – 1 Glebe
A near post Ethan Light header from a corner opened the scoring against Glebe. Adam Laaref added a second to double the lead before half-time. In the second-half a swift counter attack was finished of by Florian Envoudou-Ada, Kai Brosnan calmly stroked home a fourth and an own goal added another. The Southern Counties Premier East opponents pulled one back prior Laaref’s second of the night.

Round Two
Dartford 1 – 1 Queens Park Rangers Development Team (5-4 on penalties)
Oliver Box was player of the match scoring the winning penalty as this tie went all the way. The young Hoops took the lead with half hour played, Henry Hawkins bundled the ball over the line. The hosts fought back and levelled through a clean Luke Coulson strike. After normal time the match went into penalties and the Darts won 5-4.

Hendon 1 – 0 Wingate and Finchley
The Greens were given a tough second round tie against Isthmian Premier playoff chasers Wingate and Finchley. Hendon came through thanks to a Shaun Lucien winner to send them into the last eight.

Quarter-Final
Cray Wanderers 1 – 2 Dartford
A last minute own goal sent Dartford into the final four after coming from behind. Nyren Clunis put Cray Wanderers ahead after just two minutes. Just before the half hour mark Jordan Greenidge restored parity with a confident finish. With the quarter-final heading for spot kicks, the visitors won it right at the end.

Hendon 2 – 1 Sporting Bengal United
Two goals in injury time turned this quarter-final on its head. An upset was on the cards when Sporting Bengal United took the lead with twenty minutes to play. A high bounce was hit first time by Joe Gregory to give the Essex Senior League side the lead. Hendon fought back and equalised in the 91st minute through Brosnan. Three minutes later Billy Leonard followed up a rebound to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Current Form (all competitions)

Dartford (LWLLWW) Hendon (LDDDDD)
Truro City H 2-1 Gosport Borough H 0-0
Cray Wanderers (LSC) A 2-1 Sholing A 2-2
Yeovil Town A 1-3 Merthyr Town A 1-1
Worthing H 1-2 Walton and Hersham H 1-1
Havant & Waterlooville A 2-1 Hayes and Yeading A 0-0
Eastbourne Borough H 0-2 Beaconsfield Town H 4-5

LSC = London Senior Cup

Head to Head

Dartford wins: 3 / Hendon wins: 2 / Draws: 0

Previous Meetings

Hendon 1 – 2 Dartford (22/04/2010 – Isthmian Premier)
Dartford 5 – 0 Hendon (05/09/2009 – Isthmian Premier)
Dartford 1 – 0 Hendon (06/12/2008 – Isthmian Premier)
Hendon 3 – 0 Dartford (16/08/2008 – Isthmian Premier)
Dartford 0 – 3 Hendon (08/11/1952 – F.A Cup)

Statistics

  • Dartford have won their last two matches, last achieved back in November. Their best run all season is three consecutive wins in September.
  • The Darts have won their last three against Hendon scoring eight and conceding one.
  • Own goals are the top scorer in the London Senior Cup for the Darts. There have been two own goals, whilst Luke Coulson and Jordan Greenidge have netted the other two in the competition.

On This Day

Dartford have lost just two of their last ten on St George’s Day and last time out they beat St Albans City. Keiran Murtagh scored twice and set up Marcus Dinanga in a 3-1 victory at Princes Park. Elliot Bradbrook helped the Darts come from behind twice at home to Oxford City in 2016. The captain equalised twice including a late minute penalty to rescue a point.

Between defeats against Fisher Athletic in 2005 and Margate in 1997, the Darts beat Langley Sports (now Eastbourne Borough) 2-1 in 2001. Dartford also won four in a row on this day with a 3-0 win versus Dagenham in the National League back in 1985 and a 1-0 triumph at home to Leicester United in the 1988 Southern Premier League. A year later, the Darts went to Bromsgrove Rovers and won 2-0 and in 1994 they recorded the same score versus Beckenham Town in the Kent League.