Hendon made Tonbridge Angels pay a crushing price for their second half time-wasting tactics, scoring three times in the last five minutes to snatch a barely believable win. Hendon's first goal came with 30 seconds of the regulation 90 minutes remaining, this after having a penalty saved six minutes earlier.
Lubo Guentchev made his first start for the club, replacing the injured Dean Green in an otherwise unchanged starting line-up.
A header wide from Tonbridge's Stephen Harper after 45 seconds suggested that Hendon would have to defend well to keep out the Angels, whose top striker Jon Main had already notched three goals this season.
Hendon gradually got a toe-hold in the game, but they had not created any clear cut chances when they fell behind after 28 minutes. It came, fro a free-kick floated into the penalty are by Storey. Main managed to lose his marker and buried a free header from four yards out.
The Greens still struggled to cope with the strong, powerful work coming from the Angels midfield, but they were able to fashion a couple of chances. From the first of these, Brian Haule put a free header wide of the target.
Then, late in the first-half Ben Hudell crashed a drive off the underside of the Angels crossbar. The rebound bounced down a foot in front of the goalline and James Donovan beat Brian Haule to the loose ball and hacked it away to safety.
Two minutes into the second half, Brian Haule really should have equalised when he beat Richard Harris to a free-kick, but placed his almost free header wide of the far post. Belal Aiteouakrim then forced Matt Reed into a full-length save, but his shot didn't have the power to beat the goalkeeper.
After 78 minutes, Wayne O'Sullivan fired in a shot, which Reed saved easily and he quickly released the ball. It was knocked downfield and substitute Hamid Barr, on for Main, scored from close range. The goal, which seemed certain to have settled the contest, was totally against the run of play as Hendon had been piling on the pressure for much of the period.
Five minutes later, Hendon won a penalty when Harris felled Hudson a yard inside the box. The responsibility fell on Brian Haule's shoulders. It certainly looked as if the onus of reducing the arrears weighed too heavily on the striker, because effort was kick-saved by Matt Reed, who almost dived too far.
This was the signal for a number of spectators to leave the ground, a decision they will probably regret for some time if they are home fans.
A minute from the end of normal time, Davis Haule was knocked off the ball by Robbie Kember. Marc Leach took the kick, which went past the two-man Tonbridge wall. One green-shirted attacker and one blue clad defender went for the ball and both missed it. Reed, unable to dive for the ball until no one else could divert it, was left rooted to the spot and could only watch the ball roll just inside the far post.
Three minutes later, Hendon forced a corner. O'Sullivan curled in the ball but it was not properly cleared, allowing Hudson to play it back out to the wing. Ryan Martin played O'Sullivan onside by being slow to move off the far post. O'Sullivan's second cross was better placed and it was met by Brian Haule who scored with a powerful header.
James Donovan was injured in the incident and he needed lengthy treatment before the game could continue. Hendon, the bit between their teeth, went for a victory, while Tonbridge, like rabbits frozen in headlights did not know what to do. That said, Barr did have a shot from 20 yards that went straight to Wilmot.
The ball was sent downfield by the goalkeeper. Busby controlled it and passed to Hudson, who found OÃ¯Â¿Â½Sullivan in a central position. He dummied a shot and Kember overcommitted himself in an attempt to block it. This allowed O'Sullivan a better chance to steady himself and he carefully picked his spot in the bottom corner beyond Reed's dive.
It was hard to know where the greatest celebrations were: on the Hendon bench, on the pitch where O'Sullivan disappeared under a mountain of nine green shirts or on the terraces behind the goal.
"From the moment we joined the club two and a half years ago," said manager Gary McCann, "we stressed to the players that they should never give up, always play on. Today showed what could be done, although I cannot really believe that we won the game. We certainly deserved at least a draw."