Hendon's dreams of FA Cup glory came to an end on Tuesday night as AFC Hornchurch deservedlyh won this second qualifying round replay 2-1 at Bridge Avenue.
There had been very few clear goalscoring opportunities in the opening half hour. Then, in the space of seven minutes, the goalframe was struck three times.
After 30 minutes, good work down the right win ended with a low ball from the appropriately named Garry Cross being met by Simon Parker, six yards out. The Urchins have had problems scoring from that range against Hendon already this season and, on this occasion, Parker's effort beat Richard Wilmot before striking the underside of the crossbar before bouncing back into the field of play and being hurriedly cleared downfield.
Two minutes later, Davis Haule got his foot to a loose ball in the Hornchurch penalty area and he curled an effort off the Urchins bar. A grateful Hornchurch defender cleared the danger.
In the 36th minute, a snapshot from Rakatahr Hudson bounced off the inside of the right post and was hacked away to safety by a home defender before a Hendon attacker could reach the loose ball.
A goalless half-time scoreline seemed certain until Hendon were awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal a dozen yard from the touchline. Wayne O'Sullivan curled the ball in and although Craig Vargas was clearly in an offside position when he knocked the ball past Dale Brightly and into the net, he was equally clearly onside when the ball was played by O'Sullivan.
Although the second was dominated territorially by Hornchurch, Hendon had an early chance to stretch their lead. Brian Haule's run clear of the defence was followed by a weak effort that missed the target. And it soon became clear that Hendon would need a second goal if they were to advance.
Chances remained at a premium at both ends, but the pressure on Hendon continued. The inevitable equaliser arrived after 72 minutes. A quick break down the left flank resluted in a cross for Elmes and the big striker was all alone as he planted a header past Wilmot.
Ten minutes later, Elmes should have completed a double when he worked himself into space, but he rushed his shot and sent the ball high over the crossbar. O'Sullivan then made a rare break into the Hornchurch half, but he fired wide.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, Hornchurch snatched their winning goal. It came from another cross, but this time it was Simon Parker who lost his marker as Adam Parker delivered from the right wing. Wilmot produced a magnificent save to deny the striker a goal, but the ball bounced kindly for Simon Parker who acrobatically hooked it past Wilmot.
Deep into stoppage time, Hendon laid siege on the Hornchurch goal. They forced a succession of corners as the Urchins desperately tried to clear the ball. Referee Mr Feerick blew the final whistle with the ball bobbling around inside the penalty area, moments before Rakatahr Hudson struck it past Brightly. As the whistle had already blown, the goal didn't stand and Hornchurch celebrated their progression into the next round.