Hendon produced another excellent performance in overcoming the powerful challenge from FA Cup heroes Horsham at Claremont Road on Saturday afternoon, winning 2-0 to cement their second-place position in the Ryman League Premier Division table.
The Greens welcomed back Richard Wilmot in goal, and he was made captain in the absence of the suspended James Parker. He was replaced by Marc Leach, while Rakatahr Hudson came in for the injured Davis Haule.
Horsham set the early pace and came within inches of taking the lead after barely two minutes. Given space and time to shoot, Carl Rook drove an effort off the underside of the crossbar, but if he struck the ball slightly less well, he would assuredly have scored.
The Hornets continued to ask questions of the Hendon defence, but Casey Maclaren and James Burgess did well to limit danger from out wide augmented by Dean Green and Wayne O'Sullivan, both of whom had to rein in their more attacking instincts in the eye of the storm.
Down the middle, Leach and Sam Page denied Rook and Simon Austin too many clear attempts at goal. But the real holding work was done in midfield, where Hudson and Jamie Busby worked like Trojans in stifling Lee Carney and Lewis Taylor.
Although the chances were still mainly going Horsham's way, few found their way to Wilmot, mainly because of the inaccuracy of the Hornets attackers. That said, the goalkeeper did brilliantly to get a hand on Simon Austin's near-post flick diverting the ball onto the outside of the goal-frame.
Having spurned many half and full chances, Horsham were given a lesson in opportunism moments after Austin's effort. Hendon attacked and moved into a dangerous position before the ball was hurriedly bundled out for a corner.
O'Sullivan delivered the ball where Leach's attempted flick hit a Horsham defender, who attempted to clear the ball. He managed only to find Leach, who set up Busby for a shot. The ball was probably going wide, but it committed Paul Seuke into a move across his goalline. Maclaren, however, instinctively, stuck out a leg and he deflected the ball between the wrong-footed goalkeeper and a defender guarding the post.
Wilmot was soon back in action, knocking down a powerful drive from Carney. And the big goalkeeper used his height to claim a cross that looked like picking out a blue-shirted attacker beyond the far post.
Just before half-time, Hendon scored their second goal and it was a thing of great beauty. It started simply enough with O'Sullivan taking possession inside his own half.
He burst forward and went past three Horsham players and suddenly was midway inside the Hornets' half. The two central defenders both moved slightly forward, aware of the danger, allowing O'Sullivan the chance to lift the ball forward into the path of Belal Aiteouakrim.
Aiteouakrim had been denied a few minutes earlier by a very tight offside decision, but this time he timed his run perfectly. His first touch was excellent, bringing down the ball at thigh height, without really breaking stride. One touch more was followed by a drive with the outside of his right foot, sending the ball into the bottom corner, in just about the only place Seuke's dive wouldn't reach.
Two minutes into the second half, Hendon almost made it 3-0. O'Sullivan played in Busby, who controlled the ball and fired goalwards. Brian Haule intervened and his flick was brilliantly turned over the bar at point-blank range.
It was the signal for Hendon to take complete control of the game. Horsham lost the midfield battle and this led to the forwards becoming equally isolated and frustrated. They managed a single effort on target after the break and that lacked the power to trouble Wilmot. Indeed, such was the way the game was going that both Rook and Austin were withdrawn.
As the game moved towards stoppage time, Haule was replaced by Lubo Guentchev and he nearly set up Schulton for a debut goal. Guentchev's cross was perfectly weighted and found Schulton alone beyond the far post, but his header was palmed away at the near post.
Seconds later, Hudson almost capped his excellent performance with a goal but he, like Rook in the opening minutes, struck the ball too hard and the underside of the crossbar was still shaking when the final whistle blew.
"This was a very solid performance today," said manager Gary McCann. "We rode our luck a little bit in the first 20 or so minutes, but we more than matched them after that. In the second half we were in complete control."