Sporting Hackney slay Kensington Dragons to reach semi-finals

Simon Carrasco-Morley (right) of Sporting Hackney

Simon Carrasco-Morley (right) of Sporting Hackney - Credit: Archant

Sporting Hackney manager Pete Harrington has summoned his players to keep the momentum going after his side made it seven wins on the bounce with a 4-3 victory over Kensington Dragons.

The latest comeback came in the Middlesex County Premier League Cup, as strikes from Jon Green and Simon Carrasco Morley either side of an own goal swung the balance before Chris McNicholas struck a decisive fourth to send Sporting into the semi-finals of the competition.

“Confidence is very high and we’ve hit that patch in the season where everyone is getting into form,” Harrington told the Gazette.

“We haven’t got any injuries, so I always have between 16 and 17 players to pick from every weekend.

“It’s a healthy situation to be in, because everyone is fighting for their place.

“They appreciate that they need to keep performing on the pitch, otherwise they won’t be in the team the following week. We seem to be building momentum week by week.”

Harrington - who will discuss ways of taking the club to the next level at a committee meeting on Thursday night - admitted that the MCPL Cup, contested only by those in the top division, is not his priority this term, with the focus being on retaining the league title along with the MCFL Senior Open Cup they lifted last campaign.

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With Sporting facing Newham United (of the Essex Olympian League) in the London Senior Cup this weekend, Harrington is determined for all his side’s various cup commitments not to become a distraction when it comes to the bread and butter of the league.

“We’ll have had three cup games on the spin, and the problem with that is we’ll have to play catch up like we did last year in terms of the league. We may have as many as seven games in hand over our rivals, which can put a bit of strain on you as a manger.

“It’s a good job I find it a pleasure to work with these players! They’re a great group of lads, who deserve to play at a higher level. I’m sure if we keep our momentum going, we’ll collect some more silverware this year.”

On Saturday, Kensington had controlled the opening 15 minutes, racing into a 2-0 lead as Hackney struggled to shake off the journey across London to Ealing.

But Green started the turnaround by halving the deficit on the stroke of half time, before good work from Paul Barry down the left resulted in an out-stretched Dragons defender inadvertently turning the ball into his own net.

Substitute Kevin Monahan then made an instant impact, delivering from out wide for Carrasco Morley to head in at the back post. Monahan repeated the trick five minutes later with McNicholas this time the beneficiary, deftly flicking the ball beyond Kensington’s flat-footed stopper.

The home side found renewed hope when they reduced the arrears in the final minutes, but Hackney held on to book another semi-final date.