Hendon slipped out of the Westview (Isthmian League) Cup at the quarter-final stage as Fisher Athletic sneaked a narrow victory on a brutal night for soccer fans. The air temperature at Claremont Road may have been above zero, but the wind-chill took it well below that mark.
New signing Michael Barima - a joint-registration deal with Yeading - came into the starting line-up at the expense of Danny Julienne, while there was a new face on the bench in Chike Nnatuanyo, a youngster recommended by Chelsea coach Eddie Newton.
Fisher had the benefit of the bitter wind driving down Claremont Road but, in the first five minutes, it was Hendon who twice nearly scored. First Blaise O'Brien fired a shot into the side-netting, then Darren Watson, who was having his shirt pulled, did likewise. Maybe if he had gone down, rather than attempting to shoot, he might have won a penalty.
After that, Fisher stepped up the pace. Charlie Hearn and Anthony Riviere began to win balls in midfield and they pushed Hendon back. After 18 minutes, Lenny Piper went down in the penalty area following a challenge. It looked to be a valid penalty claim, but the referee wanted none of it.
Ten minutes later, he decided that Marc Leach had gone into the back of Charlie Taylor just outside the Hendon box and awarded a free-kick to Fisher. Hearn took it and his dipping, curling strike could not have been placed better if he had carried the ball in his hands. It went just inside the angle of post and crossbar have gone over and around the wall, giving Dave King no chance of making a save.
Within three minutes, Hendon almost drew level. Good work from Danny Murphy and Charlie Mapes set up Watson, whose flick found Jeff Campbell. The All White international beat a defender to improve his shooting angle, but he failed to keep the shot low enough to beat James Pullen and stay under the bar.
A poor clearance by Pullen then gave Campbell another chance. Campbell's first-time shot was slowed just enough by one defender to allow another one to clear the ball from six yards in front of goal. The second intervention probably saved a goal, the first definitely so.
Hendon dominated the half, passing the ball well and creating openings around the penalty area. Inside the box it was a different matter and the Fisher defence, while working very hard, was rarely completely outmanned.
Ross Pickett replaced Watson and Andy Cook came on for Murphy as Hendon tried to bludgeon their way to a goal. It nearly worked, but Leach was penalised for a push on the edge of the Fisher box moments before Mapes drove a shot into the bottom corner.
Campbell had yet another opportunity in the 78th minute and this time his effort was on target. Pullen, however, had been very quickly off his line and he worked his angles out perfectly to make a fine save.
Two minutes later, a free-kick to Hendon. a similar distance from goal that Hearn had scored from, was wasted by Leach who fired high over the crossbar.
Nnatuanya took over from Dave Hunt and showed flashes of touch. Pickett had a great chance to force an equaliser when he followed up a deflected cross but the ball bounced off his knee and looped over the crossbar with the target gaping in front of him.
"I can't criticise my team tonight," said manager Gary McCann. "They gave me everything they had and we were definitely worth extra time. It's a shame our best chances fell to players who aren't natural finishers."