Tooting & Mitcham United progressed to the London Senior Cup Final, set to take place on Monday against AFC Wimbledon, as they beat Hanwell Town after extra-time in a 9-goal thriller.
The game was delayed for around 50-minutes, but Both sides battled hard until the end, and the game could have gone either way right up until the end of extra-time, but it was the Terrors who come out on top in the end.
It was a fast start from the hosts and Hanwell dominated the early possession, but Tooting found themselves ahead in the opening minutes. The keeper slipped as he want to collected the ball in his box, allowing Daniel Williams to fire the ball into the corner. The early goal gave the Terror’s confidence as they looked to come forward once again, but Dontai Stewart’s free-kick from distance was fired over.
Stewart doubled Tooting’s lead in the 15th-minute as he rolled the ball beyond the on-rushing keeper, giving Hanwell a mountain to climb. The game was a fiery affair from early on as tackle flew in all over the pitch, with the referee allowing play to continue as he looked to keep the game going.
Hanwell looked to get back into the game as they got back on the ball. They tried to send the ball over to the forwards, but Tooting defended well to prevent any way forward for the hosts. It didn’t take long for the Geordies to pull one back as Harry Rush floated a free-kick towards goal. Garry Ross initially made a save to deny Hanwell, but the ball was bundled over the line by Romario Jonas, who had found himself at the back-post. The game was breifly paused as the referee looked to break up a scuffle between the sides, before Hanwell got straight back on the front foot as Olo Obi looked to latch onto a free-kick, but the ball bounced out of play before he could tap home.
Mark Waters looked to extend the visitors lead at the end of the first half, but his shot was fired high and wide, before the hosts had another good chance to bring the game level, but the shot was deflected wide. The resulting corner was directly onto the crossbar, with Tooting scrambling the ball clear. Hanwell continued on the attack in added time, but couldn’t bring themselves level; A cross was delivered into the box, but the header was comfortably held by Ross, before the keeper held onto another shot a minute later.
Hanwell began the second half as they had ended the first, looking to bring themselves level. The ball was flashed across goal in the opening minute of the half, but no one was close enough to tap-home. Tooting had a brief attack as Daryl Coleman saw his shot deflected, but it was the hosts who continued to come forward. The Geordies almost found the equaliser as a cross was headed back towards the penalty spot, but the following shot was cleared off the line.
The Terrors came forward once more as they looked to extend their lead, with Hanwell knocking on the door, but Noah Kelo’s shot from the edge of the box was fired over. Hanwell looked to counter down the other end, but they had a player brought down outside the box by Ross, with the keeper given marching orders with a red card. Tooting were forced to bring on Morgan Campbell, who faced a free-kick as his first involvement in the game. Hanwell made the most of the change of keeper as Joel Jacobs fired the ball beyond him with the set-piece.
Hanwell didn’t sit back after bring themselves level, and 5-minutes later, found themselves ahead as Obi fired the ball beyond the keeper from the spot to put the Geordies in control. Having taken the lead, the tactics changed for the hosts as they sat behind the ball, allowing Tooting to come forward in waves of attacks. Despite this, Hanwell defended well. With 10-minutes to play, a Hanwell shot was flashed inches wide of the top-corner.
Waters tried an acrobatic shot from inside the box, as he looked to test Hugo Sobte, but his effort trickles wide of the post. With time running out, Hanwell looked to extend their lead to see them through. They thought they had scored with 6-minutes to play, but it was ruled out as the keeper had spilled the ball and the referee deemed it to be a foul before a corner was whipped it, but was fired over everyone. Tooting didn’t waste any time getting the ball up the pitch as they sought a late equaliser.
The leveller came in the 93rd-minute as Tooting somehow scrambled the ball over the line. A corner ball was whipped in and took a touch off the keeper Campbell, but too many bodies meant it was hard to tell who got the final touch. The visitors didn’t care though as they were still in the tie. That was almost short lived as Hanwell saw the ball rattled the upright in the 95th-minute, with the ball cleared before they could finish the game off in normal time.
Hanwell were hit by a sense of Deja Vu as in the opening minutes of extra-time, a header came off the foot of the post and was cleared. Both sides had upped their pressure, but they matched that with their defending, giving each side limited chances.
Hanwell were next to score as they re-took the lead in the 103rd-minute. Harry Rush fired beyond the keeper. The lead lasted less than a minute as Tooting went straight down the other end and made it 4-4 in the 104th-minute.
It was Hanwell, who again came out the blocks quickly, who had the first chance of the second period of extra-time. The ball was headed across goal, but the second header was onto the roof of the net. Tooting took the ball down the other end and a cross was delivered to Billy Brown, by the forward’s shot was deflected over the bar. Nothing came from the resulting corner, but Tooting had a penalty shout a minute later as Nathan Daly went down, but the referee told him to get to his feet.
Tooting took the lead with 7-minutes left to play as Stewart fired the ball beyond the keeper to make it 5-4. Hanwell looked to bring the ball forward with time running out, but the visitors did their best to hold onto the ball and ran it into the corner. The Geordies did get the ball forward, but good defending was enough to keep them out and the referee ended proceedings after 124-minutes of football.