Just two days before Christmas, Hendon made the trip to Canvey Island to open their Bryco Cup campaign for the season. The two clubs met in the semi-finals last season, Canvey winning 6-4 on aggregate over two legs. The current league leaders went on to lose to Yeading in the final.
This time however, it was Hendon who ran out winners 3-0, meaning that they will now travel to Bracknell Town in the third round in a game due to be played on Saturday, 3rd January. The result means that Canvey, who are often freescoring, have failed to score against Hendon in three consecutive games, all games that Hendon have won.
Canvey fielded a reserve line up that included several players who would get into many Ryman League first teams while Hendon fielded their strongest available line up, given that five first teamers were unavailable through injury. The only changes to the Greens starting line up were Pat Gavin replacing Mark Burgess and Dale Binns replacing Dean Brennan.
Hendon started the brighter and almost took the lead in the 3rd minute when Martin Randall played a one-two with Eugene Ofori, and the former shot just wide with the Canvey keeper Ashley Harrison beaten.
A few minutes later the Greens had a penalty shout turned down when Randall was tripped just inside the eighteen yard box, but the referee deemed the challenge was fair and allowed play to continue.
The home side began to come into the game, with Steve Parmenter proving very influential in midfield. In the 19th minute Parmenter fired just over the bar after an excellent passing move involving a number of Canvey players.
The first goal came in the 24th minute, slightly against the run of play, when Randall delivered a crossfield ball to Scott Cousins, who in turn popped the ball over the defence for OFORI to run on to and fire the ball low into the net.
Hendon had the better chances in the remainder of the first period as both Gavin and skipper Jon-Barrie Bates fired wide.
The travelling supporters were given a dream start to the second half as within 28 seconds the lead had been doubled. Ofori received the ball on the turn and sent BINNS clear of the defence to score. There was a suspicion that Binns was offside but there was no signal from the assistant referee, and no real complaint from the Canvey defenders.
Within five minutes Harrison was in action again when he first parried a shot from Randall, and then saved the follow-up from Cousins.
In the 67th minute Binns broke clear from midfield and fired off a fierce shot which deflected off Gavin Cowan and rebounded off the post. The rebound fell to Iain DUNCAN who slammed the ball into the net much to the dismay of the home side. Without a doubt the third goal made Hendon feel reasonably comfortable about progressing into the next round.
A minute later Ofori was the victim of a nasty looking foul by Kevin Dobinson, and he was forced to leave the game injured, being replaced by Fabian Forde. The substitute scored with his first touch, heading home a cross from Martin Randall, but the goal was correctly disallowed for offside.
Shortly afterwards Randall was replaced by young striker Luke Sheekey as the Greens looked to ensure that the game was safe.
In the 80th minute Dave King pulled off a superb save from a Bertie Brayley strike, it would certainly have been an excellent goal had it found the back of the net.
With a few minutes to go, Dobinson was in the thick of the action again, this time with a late challenge on Binns, and the Canvey defender received a yellow card for his troubles. The final action came shortly before the whistle when Jon-Barrie Bates fired narrowly over the bar from 20 yards.
Hendon return to Canvey Island in a few weeks time, this time in the league when they will surely be up against a much tougher test against a full strength Canvey side.