Hendon lost the George Ruffell Memorial Trophy (now a shield) when Feltham won a penalty shoot-out at Uxbridge after 90 turgid, goalless minutes on Bank Holiday Monday evening.
The Greens' 23rd match in 65 days was simply one too many. Injuries and illness reduced the squad to below the barest of bones, but the squad Dave Anderson selected still had the better of the exchanges.
Neither Gary McCann nor Colin Ryder, the two goalkeepers, could complain of overwork. McCann did not make a single save in the 90 minutes because the defence in front of him, James and Mark Burgess, Micky Woolner (then Paul Towler), Simon Huggett and Jon-Barrie Bates restricted Feltham's forwards to a dozen or so crosses, and McCann held every one he went for.
Feltham were faced by a front pairing of Dale Binns and Leon Maloney and they were snuffed out Dave Patience, Lee Sparkes, Paul Harris, Michael Beaton and Guy Martin. In midfield, neither team ever looked like taking control, with both teams guilty of wasting possession all too often.
The only chance of note in the first half fell to Maloney, whose first touch let him down and Ryder was quickly off his line to smother the ball before the striker could shoot. High balls into the Feltham penalty area were pointless exercises because Harris, a tower of strength for Feltham, won everything that was even remotely close to him.
At half-time, Hendon introduced Evren Arkali and Towler, who replaced Taffazul Islam and Woolner, who had picked up another injury after less than a minute. Neither player was able to do much to improve a game that would only have been acceptable as a preseason friendly.
Sam Byfield curled a free-kick just in front of Hendon's attackers but the ball bent straight into the arms of Ryder. At least, in the 55th minute, we had had a shot on target.
Ryder did much better in the 79th minute, when he was forced to make a good save from Maloney. A minute later, Binns deflected a cross inches wide of Ryders right post with the goalkeeper a mere specatator.
At the other end, Beaton fired a free-kick into the the Hendon wall, and on he very rare occasions Daniel Lovett or Anthony Clarke did get free, there was always a spare Hendon defender to hack the ball clear.
Referee Alf Street brought proceedings to a merciful halt to set up a penalty shoot-out (there was no extra time). Hendon had the first kick and Binns made no mistake. McCann then saved Eric Kwakye's effort and Huggett fired over the bar. Feltham drew level through Patience, making it 1-1 after 2 kicks.
Thereafter, both teams were perfect for 8 attempts, in order: Arkali (Hendon), Marcello Fernandes, Mark Burgess, Sparkes, James Burgess, Martin, Towler, Harris. The Burgess twins brought levity to the proceedings by taking almost identical kicks, consecutively, both after exceptionally long runs.
Hendon's 7th spot kick was taken by Ricardo Alves, who had suffered a facial injury in the first half and had looked a shadow of his busy self as the game progressed. Ryder guessed correctly and kept out the shot. It fell to Clarke to win the game for Feltham and although McCann got his hand to the striker, he could not keep it out.
"Good luck to Feltham," said manager Dave Anderson, who was just glad to see the end of the season, which had gone on a few days too long after exceptional success.