Hendon suffered through an embarrassing afternoon against Hayes at Church Road on Saturday afternoon, losing 3-1 to the Missioners and having 3 players - Mark Burgess, Martin Randall and Jon-Barrie Bates - sent off for violent conduct.
Sadly this was a game that did nothing for the reputation of Hayes, Hendon or match officials, referee Mr N Kinseley and his assistants Messrs Phillips and Cox, because much of what happened was entirely avoidable.
Unchanged Hendon went behind in the 7th minute, thanks to an unfortunate blunder by the normally reliable Iain Duncan. He made a hash of clearing an astute diagonal ball from Mark Molesley. It allowed Kevin WARNER an unchallenged run at goal and he fired the ball past Dave King.
The Dons bounced back, but got little luck. Twice runs from Eugene Ofori were halted by off-the-ball interventions from Yiadom Yeboah. The first was spotted by Kinseley, but this cautionable offence did not get the correct sanction and Yeboah became cleverer at doing out of the officials' eyeshot.
Bates was denied by a sprawling Jake Cole as he arrived at the far post to meet a deep cross from Scott Cousins, Steve Forbes was well dispossessed by a sliding Peter Collins and couldn't quite get another chance under control and Cole was quickly off his line to thwart Ofori with a sliding tackle.
In the 30th minute, Ofori and Jon Case tangled as they chased a ball near to the dugouts on the Hendon left side. In the normal course of events, nothing would have come of this, but Case thudded into the concrete wall around the pitch. Ofori immediately went over to see if Case was OK - he continued after a spell of treatment - but Collins wanted to make an issue of it.
He was restrained by Martin Randall as Yeboah came across to add to the confusion. Meanwhile Burgess, whose pass to Ofori had been overhit, trotted towards to the incident and bent down to pick up a water bottle for a drink. Witnesses close to the incident, and Burgess, said that as he went to the bottle, he was elbowed by Hayes manager Willie Wordsworth. Burgess retaliated with a push on the Hayes boss, in front of the Hendon dugout.
This was the only thing Mr Kinseley saw and he immediately red-carded theHendon man. Burgess ran towards the tunnel, where the players and coaching staff were milling around. However, before the Hendon man could do anything, he appeared to be grabbed around the head by Yeboah.
Three minutes later, a reckless challenge from Bates on Molesley brought him a delayed yellow card, though why Mr Kinseley waited for a Hayes advantage when the ball went Hendon's way was a mystery.
Hayes took almost 15 minutes to use their man advantage, Cousins dropping slightly deeper from his midfield role, while Duncan, Steve Butler and Mark Cooper formed a three-man defence. Late in the half, King made 2 good blocks as Hayes got around the back and the low crosses and shots were pushed aside.
The second half was only 3 minutes old when Hendon gifted Hayes their second goal. Again the error came from one of the steadiest and most consistent Greens players, this time Steve Butler. His header went directly to MOLESLEY, who had a lot of space to move into before driving a low shot across the unprotected King.
Hendon again bounced back and, in the 59th minute, two minutes after Ricardo Alves had replaced the tiring Andre Delisser, Butler was denied by a brilliant save from Cole, who pushed aside a close-range header following a Cousins corner.
It delayed the inevitable 3 minutes. A spate a 3 Cousins corners caused chaos in the Hayes box and the final variation saw Randall flick the ball into the path of OFORI, who redirected the ball into the net.
Ofori then snaked his way into the penalty area, only to be body-checked by Yeboah, but no foul was given.
Another inspired change saw Hayes regain their two-goal lead. A fine passing move took advantage of the Missioners' numerical advantage and when the ball fell to Peter HOLSGROVE, who had been on the pitch barely 2 minutes, he drilled the ball into the roof of the net.
Crace took over from Forbes, but could not make a telling impression before the game exploded. In the 80th minute, Ofori fouled Yeboah and the big defender, so robust in making challenges, took on the properties of the brittlest of fine china as he collapsed to the turf.
Randall ran up to Yeboah and amid finger pointing appeared to make it clear that the Hayes man was trying to get a player dismissed. It worked because Yeboah collapsed again and Mr Kinseley showed Randall a red card. The redmist descending, Bates also got involved with Yeboah, who somehow collapsed again, and the red card came out again, Bates leaving the scene.
Luckily for Hendon, Hayes decided to keep possession and there were no more goals. Ofori was, however, cautioned for something he said to the assistant referee who had shown no interest in protecting the striker throughout the afternoon.
After the game, Hayes security officers said that the referee would be putting in his report the fact that Ofori had been pelted with objects thrown by the crowd.
"At 1-0 I thought we were the better side," said manager Dave Anderson, "and, at 2-1, I would have like the game to stay that way for another 10 minutes. I felt quite comfortable at half-time and thought we could get something out the game. We are quite bright at the moment and are playing some good football."