Hendonâ€™s lacklustre showing in the FA Trophy continued again this season, as a side that lacked conviction and resolve returned from a blustery Canvey Island on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat. Hendon started the game playing with the typically forceful Canvey wind at their backs. However, rather than using the wind to their advantage, the conditions saw Hendon notch up a relentless succession of over-hit passes with very little to show for it.
Canvey saw the first of the opening chances with a shot blasted over the Hendon bar in the 3rd minute, while
Hendonâ€™s first riposte came in the 15th minute when a scrambled shot from a corner caused a degree of consternation among the Canvey defence. A period of sustained pressure from Canvey Island, who were playing occasional bouts of neat football, followed, with Hendon stopper Sean Thomas pulling off a great fingertip save from a Canvey header in the 18th minute.
The turning point of the game came in the 22nd minute, with an indisputable penalty being awarded to Canvey Island after Parker, who was booked for his troubles, upended a threatening Canvey attacker in the box. Rob King was on hand to tuck the ball past a hapless Thomas who had been sent the wrong way.
The 30th minutes saw Greg Ngoyi, who had picked up a knock, replaced by Belal Aite-Ouakrim, which heralded an all too fleeting glimpse of Hendonâ€™s ability to create some pressure and goal scoring opportunities. On 35 minutes, Chris Moore chopped down Jamie Busby, picking up a yellow card in the process. The resultant free kick was dinked to an unmarked Elliot Charles, whose header drifted harmlessly wide of the post. Hendon spurned another chance just before half-time when Dewayne Clarke saw his shot saved by the legs of the Canvey keeper James Russell.
Canvey, with the bracing Essex gusts behind them in the second half, picked up where they left off, immediately putting Hendon under a great deal of pressure. This pressure paid off in the 47th minute when Rob King took advantage of a loose defensive header, impressive rifling home a volley into the low corner of the Hendon net. Hendonâ€™s kept up a modicum of ambition despite being two goals to the worse, although their efforts were frequently thwarted by a series of frustrating offsides.
Canveyâ€™s dominance of the game continued, resulting in Thomas pulling off a fine save in the 52nd minute from a Canvey striker, while Hendon posted a very half-hearted penalty appeal in the 60th minute after Charles felt he had been tripped in the box. The claim was audacious and the referee rightly waved away the sheepish appeal, five minutes before Peacock saw yellow for cynically halting yet another promising Canvey attack. Hendon made a second change in the 71st minute, Isaiah Rankin coming on for Carl McCluskey, with Hendon registering one of their rare incursions into the Canvey area in the 78th minute; some neat interplay between Aite-Ouakrim and Busby seeing the Canvey keeper called into action.
On 83 minutes, Hendon made their final change, Busby being replaced by Kevin McLaren. As seagulls, rather than the seemingly mandatory non-league parakeets, wheeled overhead, Canvey turned the fair score line of 2-0 into a flattering 4-0 as the game came to a close. On 87 minutes, a Canvey corner reached the far post, where a header from Jason Hallett was adjudged by the linesman to have crossed the line despite the best efforts of the Hendon defence to clear the ball. The last minute of the 90 saw Rob King collect a richly deserved hat-trick, although his third goal can be described as extremely fortuitous â€“ his shot deflecting off an unlucky Peacock before spinning past a stranded Thomas in the Hendon goal.
The 262 hardy souls in attendance were able to witness one last attack from Hendon, Aite-Ouakrim seeing his shot trickle past the Canvey goal. The final whistle mercifully came for a strangely subdued Hendon side who must look to arrest their declining fortunes with a result against the Met Police in the League on Tuesday before pulling something out of the hat to overturn Conference side Luton in the FA Cup. The Greens will need to step up after this predictably disappointing FA Trophy fixture which saw them leave the home of Olympic mountain biking empty-handed.