Wingate & Finchley continued their recent good form with a 2-0 win over Concord Rangers on Saturday. Tuesday night sees the Blues take the short trip west to local rivals Hendon FC in the 2nd round of the London Senior Cup, with a place in the quarter finals up for grabs.
Despite their proximity to the Blues in North London, Hendon FC have played their games in the Southern League Premier South Division since 2019, also at step 3 (7th tier) of the football pyramid. The Greens have made a solid start to this season, currently sitting in 8th position, just 3 points off the playoff places after 21 games. This is a welcome change from last season where Hendon finished just 4 points above the relegation zone. In fact their points tally so far this season (31) is only 6 shy of their full season total last season (37), showing a strong improvement this campaign.
Head To Head
Until 2018, Hendon had played for many decades in the Isthmian league structure, meaning that historically there have been numerous meetings between the two sides. The most recent league meeting was in 2017/18, where a Niko Muir brace for Hendon cancelled out goals from Irnti Rapai and Marc Charles-Smith to ensure a 2-2 draw at the Maurice Rebak Stadium in April 2018. Meanwhile a Quentin Monville goal was enough to give the Blues all three points at Silver Jubilee Park, Luke Ifil and Ola Williams among the starting XI that day. We have faced off as recently as last season, when we were drawn together in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round, a Dylan Kearney goal proving just a consolation in a 3-1 defeat.
Last Time Out
In the first round of the London Senior Cup back in September, the Blues defeated Premier League side Brentford's 'B' team 2-0 thanks to goals from Elliot Long and Luke Ifil. Meanwhile Hendon's first round win came via a convincing 6-1 victory over step 5 high-flyers Glebe FC in October. In the league, Hendon's most recent matches saw a 2-1 away defeat at Salisbury on Saturday after a 3-1 victory over Didcot Town last Tuesday. In last season's London Senior Cup, the Blues bowed out at the semi final stage to Haringey Borough, while Hendon also lost at the same stage, 4-2 to eventual winners Charlton Athletic U23.
Players To Watch
For the Blues, new signing Luke Deslandes took less than 20 minutes to introduce himself to the Wingate & Finchley fans, with his close-range finish on Saturday afternoon which sealed the victory over Concord Rangers. The 19 year old forward is an exciting prospect and will be looking to get more minutes under his belt for the Blues on Tuesday night.
For the visitors, Niko Muir is back at Hendon for his fourth spell and has 12 goals in 27 appearances this season so far. Muir can count Wingate & Finchley as one of his former clubs, including once scoring against Hendon back in 2014. Meanwhile defensive midfielder Blaise Riley-Snow has been a regular in the Hendon side this year after having played north of the border with Alloa Athletic and Raith Rovers in recent years.
Kick off is 7.45pm at Silver Jubilee Park (NW9 7NE) - come along and support the Blues as they look to make their way into the quarter finals!