Hendon's 17-game unbeaten run came to an end at Woodside Park on Saturday afternoon when Bishops Stortford ran out 2-0 winners in the Ryman League Premier Division. As much as Stortford deserved their victory, so they were fortunate in getting it.
Dwayne Plummer for Jon-Barrie Bates was the only change to the Hendon line-up, but the former Bristol City and Rovers player lasted just 18 minutes before his hamstring injury flared up again and he was replaced by Dale Binns.
By this time, the score could easily have been 2-4, Glen Southam and Martin Hayes going close for the home team, while Eugene Ofori had hit the bar and Micky Desborough had produced fine saves to deny Ricci Crace, Steve Butler and Andy Cook.
The Bishops Stortford defence was at full stretch as Hendon raided down both flanks, but Gareth Gwillim and Aaron Barnett were determined in challenges and a low drilled cross from Antony Howard's was hacked clear by Alex Riches just as Ofori was about to pounce.
Moments before Plummer departed, Steve Forbes was booked harshly for running into a stumbling Southam, who was also losing possession at the time. It was a quick break that Southam led and had he been able to pass to his left James Bunn was clear. Home fans screamed for a red card, but referee Mark Ives showed a yellow one. From the free kick, Dave Rainford drilled the ball just over and looked aghast when Mr Ives awarded a goal kick.
Forbes was then denied a goal by a magnificent save from Desborough, who kept Stortford in the game in the first half. A curling corner from Cousins was tipped away from just under the crossbar and Barnett picked up a bruise high on his thigh as he threw himself in front of another shot and got caught on the follow through.
Just before half-time, Bunn stretched for a ball with Cooper in the penalty area. Both players went down and although it looked as if Bunn stumbled after the defender won the ball, Mr Ives, who was up with at almost every incident, decided the Stortford player had dived and cautioned him for simulation.
The second half was definitely dominated by Stortford, although Hendon had a number of openings closed by some desperate defending. Adding to Hendon's problems was an ugly mouth injury which saw Steve Forbes go off for a number of stitches. Dave Hunt came on for him and within five minutes, Hendon were behind.
A long kick from Desborough deceived Mark Burgess, who allowed the bouncing ball to through towards Dave King. SOUTHAM, who ran the show in the second half, reacted quicker, got to the ball before King, knocked it past him and sidefooted it into the empty net.
Almost immediately Martin Randall replaced Ricci Crace, but he could not find an opening.
The second goal, after 78 minutes, was a magnificent move from the wing to the left, the back to the right again. It was started and finished by tormentor-in-cheif SOUTHAM, but it all began when the ball struck the thigh of an unsuspecting Anthony Allman and fell at Southam's feet.
There was no way back for Hendon, who looked increasingly frustrated as the afternoon wore on. Mark Cooper and Cousins both collected yellow cards for rash challenges and Butler was lucky to escape one in the last couple of minutes.
Hendon hadn't played badly, indeed two or three of the wins in that great run had come from less impressive performances than this one, but the bounce of the ball and some wayward finishing had proved costly.
Manager Dave Anderson was philosophical after the game, saying, "Everything must come to an end at some stage. I have no complaints about losing this football match. I don't think we played particularly well today."