MGBSFL DIVISION THREE
LONDON ROVERS 5 HENDON UTD SC B 2
Josh Bharier was the hat-trick hero as London Rovers started life under Jeremy Brown with a big win over Hendon B.
On a dreary Sunday morning, Rovers headed to their temporary home for the week - Northwick Park Playing Fields. They went into the game expecting a battle from Hendon - "a team Rovers saw the good and bad side of," just as Rovers chairman Viv Emanuel had "predicted'.
Hendon's pre-season form had lifted expectations coming into the game, but they were incredibly sloppy in the early stages and soon found themselves a goal down.
But it was Rovers who opened the scoring within three minutes - Bharier bundling the ball into the back of the net after falling twice, he just kept going and got the ball in.
A moment of brilliance from Saul Cohen brought them back into the game, curling a 25 yard free kick right into the postage stamp giving ex-Hendon keeper Yaacov Goldin no chance.
It took 10 minutes of battling, great defending and some great movement for Rovers to restore their advantage. It was in rather bizarre circumstances as the stand-in keeper flapped at a deftly hit shot from the half-way line by Silverman - sadly for Rovers, Yehoshua will for the land of milk and honey at the end of this week, so it "seemed apt he scored today. Thanks for a years great service," added Emanuel.
It didn't take long for Rovers to extend the league when again Bharier bulldozed his way through the Hendon B defence and bundled the ball into the back of the net. Number two for the newly named Josh 'the Bulldozer'.
Hendon made it 3-2 on the stroke of half-time as Cohen once again gave Hendon a lifeline, heading home a corner just before half time despite being probably the smallest man on the pitch.
Hendon improved in the second half and dominated possession for large parts, but showed a lack of cutting edge in the final third. And twice they were hit on the counter attack as they pushed forward to try and find a way back into the game. Bulldozer Bharier put daylight between the teams by completing a dream hat-trick on his debut.
Rovers made a series of subs to freshen things up in a bid to kill Hendon off. The completed the scoring following some great passing from the back, as many as 10, new signing from Hendon A, Yisroel Lewis was one on one with the keeper and sweetly finished it.
Rovers boss Jeremy Brown told JC Sport: "I thought we played really well at times - we played some nice football and looked well disciplined.
"I was a bit frustrated with the two goals we conceded - both from set-pieces - but apart from that they didn't have a sniff at goal.
"In the end we could have scored another five goals. It's only the first game and there's a long way to go but today was a great way to start. It was a happy return to the league for me."
Rovers chairman Vivian Emanuel told JC Sport: "I'm so proud of our result today. We battled hard and showed we are a team to reckoned with.
"It was a great performance all-round; great thanks to the manager Jeremy Brown for choosing a great side. This could be a great year from London Rovers but this is only game one. Shacharit Donetsk next!"
Hendon manager Adam Glekin said: "It's a hugely frustrating start to the season. No disrespect to London Rovers, who played well, but this is the sort of game we need to be winning if we're going to have a successful season.
"We didn't get out the blocks quickly enough, and as a result we had to chase the game which proved to be our downfall.
"Being extra critical, I felt our work rate was nowhere near what it needs to be and that's the biggest disappointment of all."