Hendon's winning start to the season came to an end on Saturday when they went down 2-0 to Thurrock at the Thurrock Hotel.
In the last eight and a half matches against Thurrock - and their predecessors Purfleet - Hendon have scored 1 goal (a very debatable penalty in 2000) and mustered 2 points from goalless draws. So it was hardly a surprise that the result was what it was.
It is very rare for a match report to be a real chore, but this is one of those rare occasions. The reason is very simple; apart from 4 Thurrock chances in the opening 30 minutes - including their opening goal and their second tally, 3 minutes in stoppage time at the end of the second half, there was almost nothing of note in the entire game.
Thurrock had almost all of the best players on the pitch, with Tresor Kandol and Cliff Akurang in particular causing damage down the Hendon right, where Iain Duncan dropped back to full-back, while Richard Evans moved alongside Steve Butler in place of the absent Mark Cooper, with Scott Cousins coming in to take the right midfield role.
In the 2nd minute, Terry Bowes went down in the penalty area, but it appeared he stumbled rather than was fouled and referee Mr J Hopkins waved aside penalty claims. Kandol then fired just wide of Dave King's right upright.
In the 19th minute Paul Linger released Kandol with a beautiful pass. He beat three defenders but could not get his shot on target. By this time, the warning bells should have been sounding for Hendon, but if they were, they were ignored.
It proved costly in the 29th minute. A corner from Dave Collis fell to Bowes, whose rasping shot was brilliantly touched onto the crossbar by King. The rebound fell to AKURANG, whose finish ended up in the roof of the net.
In the 32nd minute, Butler got on the end of a free-kick from Cousins, but failed to put his effort on target. Seven minutes, another free-kick from Cousins did at least force Paul Gothard into a save, but the former England international would have had to have fallen over for the ball to have gone into the net.
Just before half-time, Eugene Ofori, who with Martin Randall, spent the afternoon feeding on a diet of the most meagre of scraps of possession, wascautioned for a late tackle, his second of the game. This was borne entirely out of frustration as the Hendon midfield failed to get any sort of domination or cohesion.
Dale Binns was withdrawn early in the second half and Ricci Crace came on for him, but this time the change didn't have the desired effect. Steve Forbes curled a free-kick just over the crossbar with Gothard beaten, but it was Hendon's only effort worth noting after the interval.
Thurrock had come close to doubling their advantage in the 47th minute, when Linger fired just over the bar, but in the main, they were happy to pass the ball around without forcing the pace.
Late in the second half, both Butler and Collis collected yellow cards for fouls in a game that was neither dirty nor particularly passionate on a very steamy and sultry afternoon.
In stoppage time, a deep cross from a Thurrock substitute flew beyond the defence and was headed home by the unmarked KANDOL, much to the disappointment of King, who felt he should have done better with the cross.
"As good as we were on Tuesday night at Basingstoke, we were as bad today," said manager Dave Anderson. "I just can't explain it. We did everything the same, but today we just didn't perform. I don't think any player can say they did well."