PETER MORRISON TROPHY ROUND ONE
HENDON UNITED SPORTS CLUB C 6 SHIRLEY PARK 4
ALEX ELF was the hat-trick hero as heroic Hendon C knocked out Division One opposition for the second consecutive week after dumping free-scoring Shirley out after a 10-goal thriller.
Contrary to suggestion of damage-limitation, and buoyed by the recent giant-killing win over UJIA, Hendon C turned out on this wet morning to play a game of football - and what a game it was.
The game was only 15 minutes old when Benni Sluckis turned a defender and slotted the opener past the Shirley keeper.
Not more than five minutes later a low cross by Sluckis was turned home by a combination of Alex Elf and a Shirley defender. This soon turned to 3-0 when Elf grabbed his second from close-range, and when Shirley couldn't get a corner out of their box David Elf was their to smash it high to make it four.
Shirley pulled one back through a stonewall penalty and but went into the break trailing 4-1.
The half-time analysis was that Hendon pressed Shirley all over the park and took them to cleaners.
Shirley turned the screw in the second half and eventually grabbed two goals back by the 75th minute, both straight through the middle and some powerful finishing past Schapira in the Hustlers goal. They showed some heart and got it back to 4-3, with that man Jamie Kent, the league top-scorer, on target again!
However, parity was restored after a counter-attak led to Alex Elf being freed through the middle and he hit a low shot past the keeper one-on-one.
A tactical switch led to Haki Elias being moved to the right and he cut in on the edge of the area and curled a lovely shot for Hendon's sixth.
With three minutes remaining, Saul Conway hit a consolation of sorts, his second of the game, which escaped the Hendon keeper's grasp.
Hendon boss Craig Miller told JC Sport: "Kent was horrible to attempt to mark and the only way to stop him from scoring was by stopping his service, which we started to do again at 4-3. We moved to five in the middle of the park and that did the trick.
"Hopefully we can actually take this into the league."
Shirley's other goal came through Stefan Benfredj.
Shirley Park boss Dave Lusman told JC Sport; "What a mess - we were expecting a walk in the park today, but we came out with the wrong attitudes by under-estimating Hendon who were well up for this one - storming into a four-goal lead in the first 25 minutes of the game.
"By the 70-minute mark we were only a goal behind and looked well on the way to completing our comeback and winning the game. We had no choice but to gamble and press forward, leaving us vulnerable at the back, Hendon broke on the counter and put away their fifth and it was game over.
"Fair play and good luck to Hendon as they progress in the cup."
Hendon: David Schapira, Chaim Strom, Gideon Caller, Craig Miller, Craig Phillips, Adam Jacobs [(sub: Saul Stern, Ben David)], Haki Elias, Adam Glekin, Alex Elf, Benni Sluckis