Hendon manager Dave Anderson threatened to make changes to his squad following the 2-2 draw against Bognor Regis Town at Claremont Road on Saturday. He had watched his team stroll into a comfortable two-goal lead in the opening quarter, then hang on for a point as they were totally outplayed in the second half.
With 5 players absent injured or suspended, the same 11 players who started against Enfield did duty against Bognor, but the bench was seriously under-strength. Only Ricardo Alves had a first team start, while Dave Hunt was the only other one with a first-team appearance.
It was the Greens who started the stronger and they took the lead after in the 13th minute. Eugene Ofori attacked down the left side and, after cutting into the penalty area, he slid the ball into Steve Forbes, who fed Andre Delisser. With neat flick over Craig Stoner, DELISSER opened his account for Hendon, much to his delight.
Nine minutes later, the lead was doubled. A ball out of midfield found Ofori and Toby Redwood chasing towards the Bognor goal. Ofori just about won the race but before he could get a shot at goal, the defender bundled him to the ground. Referee Timothy Curtis was a long way behind play, but had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
Strangely, Mr Curtis, decided that although Ofori had the ball and there was only the goalkeeper to beat when he was fouled, it was not a clear goalscoring opportunity and he didn't produce a card , either red or yellow. Once Ofori had received treatment, FORBES took the penalty and confidently sent Stoner the wrong way.
In the 24th minute, Hendon almost extended their lead. A corner from Iain Duncan was met by a punch from Stoner which bounced off a Hendon player, leading to a frantic scramble in the Bognor penalty area. Steve Butler knocked the ball towards the Rocks' goal, but David Piper hacked it clear from under the crossbar.
From this point, Bognor began to get back into the game. In the 37th minute, a long cross from Daniel Beck picked out the prolific Matt Russell at the far post. He brought the ball down and fired it past Dave King, but it flew across the face of the goal.
During the interval, Mr Anderson told his players that the game was far from over and they had to guard against complacency. It appeared they didn't listen as Bognor dominated the midfield and dragged the defence across the park almost at will.
And it was no surprise when, in the 57th minute, RUSSELL found himself in acres of space 10 yards from goal. Although his shot had power, the feeling was that King could have made better fist of keeping out the shot.
It should have been rendered a moot point a minute later. Ricci Crace, visibly carrying an injury, tussled with John Price and got the better of him to get a clear run at the Bognor goal. On his weaker side, he went for power rather than placement and his shot flew wide of the target.
Bognor regained the initiative and King made amends for his earlier error with a fine save to deny Dave Birmingham.
Mr Curtis again showed his leniency in the 70th minute when Crace broke clear of Guy Rutherford and was again in a position to take on Stoner one-on-one. This time Rutherford pulled him back and was very fortunate to receive only a yellow card. The referee said after the game that it was not a red card because - 30 yards out - it was too far away to be a clear goalscoring opportunity. The free-kick came to nothing.
The Rocks' almost inevitable - and entirely deserved - equaliser came in the 84th minute. Again the defending was rather sloppy and substitute Rupert SANSOM latched onto a loose ball and swept it into the net.
Hendon then brought on substitute Joel Bevis, a Frenchman who was with Hastings United last season and with his second touch, the first was to restart the game following the goal, he lifted the ball over Stoner and into the Bognor net. However, the assistant referee correctly had his flag up for offside and the score was ruled out.
"I stressed how important it was to start the second half how we began the first, not how we finished the first half," fumed Mr Anderson, "but, instead, we produced our worst half of football this season. I am going to have to look at my squad and I may make some changes.
"We did have 5 players missing and I didn't have anybody on the bench who I felt could change the game."