Hendon waltzed into the semi-finals of the London Senior Cup for the first time in at least 20 years with a 7-0 demolition of fellow Ryman League Premier Division strugglers Redbridge. Tooting & Mitcham United - 4-2 conquerors of Wingate & Finchley will visit Claremont Road to contest a Final berth.
The visitors made things hard for themselves because their three substitutes were all unable to play in the game because they had already appeared in the competition for other clubs. Three other players failed to arrive, so they were down to the bare 11.
Jermaine Hunter was unavailable, so John Frendo, his loan spell at Ware completed after scoring 11 goals in five matches, came straight into the starting line-up. Danny Julienne had a couple of slight knocks, so he was rested and Jeff Campbell returned.
Frendo's return was certainly spectacular as he completed a third four-timer in six matches. In truth, the striker could have scored six or seven on his own, starting in the third minute when Richard Wray made a fine save to deny him.
From the resulting corner, Hendon again went close, but James Parker picked a nasty injury that required stitches in his ankle and an x-ray to confirm that there was only serious bruising and not a fracture. Hendon didn't alter their formation, even though right-winger Byron Bubb came on to replace Parker; Iain Duncan moved into the middle of the defence and Bubb played as a wing-back.
Dave King had one of his quietest nights of the season in goal. He made one excellent stop from a right-wing driven cross by Mitch Hahn; that apart, he caught a few crosses and general marshalled the penalty area in front of him, where Ross Pickett and Steve Good were in complete control.
Andy Cook went close with a looping header after 32 minutes. He spotted Wray a little off his line and the goalkeeper was grateful to watch the ball drop just behind the crossbar.
After 37 minutes, however, the goalkeeper was left totally exposed as Blaise O'Brien delivered an inch-perfect ball into the path of Frendo, who sprinted past the last line of defence and shot past Wray.
The goal settled Hendon nerves and with James Burgess stifling everything Redbridge tried to launch from midfield, the Greens were in complete control. Turning domination into goals has been a failing of the club all season long, but on this night there was no problem.
In the 44th minute, Frendo was again set up by O'Brien and he made no mistake with a crisp drive. Parker's injury meant there was plenty of time added on by referee Dave Bushell and Frendo took full toll, completing his hat-trick in just under ten minutes.
Three minutes into the second half a corner from Danny Murphy was only half cleared and Good tried his luck from 20 yards. He was denied a spectacular goal by a save of equal brilliance by Wray.
Midway through the period, Dave Hunt came on for Bubb, who had picked up a knee injury and it didn't take him long to make his mark. A great piece of control from O'Brien created the half-chance and Hunt did the rest with a fall-away volley from near the penalty spot. Before play could resume, Bradley Bubb replaced the injured Duncan.
O'Brien got the goal his industrious approach play deserved. It came with around ten minutes to go and it was another excellent long-range drive that gave Wray no chance.
By now Redbridge were completely demoralised. Hunt was inches wide with a lob from 20 yards and Frendo flashed another effort close to the target. He was not to be denied a fourth goal for very long. Murphy fed O'Brien, who cut in from the left wing and side-footed the ball along the six-yard box. Although still a well-worked goal, Frendo's tap-in was the simplest finish of the night.
What would have been a scrappy goal should have come in the first minute of stoppage time. Bradley Bubb, Hunt and Cook all had efforts cleared off the line in a crazy scramble inside the six-yard box. As Hendon waited to take the resulting corner, Redbridge had four players who struggled to get back to their feet.
There was still time for Hunt to get his second goal, another fine shot, but one that Wray, on another day, would feel he should have saved. He rather summed up the team's feeling when he turned to spectators and asked if any of them knew someone who could treat his back, strained from bending down to pick out the ball from the net.
"This was a fine follow-up to Saturday's good victory," said happy manager Gary McCann. "I was especially happy that Blaise scored because his approach work was so good and he deserved something."