Hendon strengthened their Ryman League Premier Division playoff position while simultaneously damaging Lowestoft Townâ€™s title bid when Isaiah Rankin pounced for an 81st minute winner at Vale Farm. Not only did Hendon return to fourth in the table - Cray Wanderers lost at leaders Billericay Town - but the Greens closed the gap on their opponents to just two points, though the Trawlerboys do have three games in hand.
This was a game that could be summed up simply as a match of two back-passes. Lowestoft failed to take advantage at one end, while Hendon were clinical in accepting the opportunity at the other.
There were a couple of changes to the Greens' starting line-up from the one which had started against Leatherhead. James Parker and Casey Maclaren came in for Dave Diedhiou and Michael Lewis, both of whom dropped to the bench.
The match never hit the heights, but it was nonetheless a very interesting contest. Off the field it was a game of near landmarks: Gary McCann's 299th in Ryman League Premier Division fixture in charge of Hendon and Lowestoft joint-manager Mick Chapman's 1001st with his team.
In the first half, there were few incidents of note as both teams were distinctly cagey and, it should be said, careful to avoid making a mistake. They also cancelled each other out in pretty much every area of the pitch.
Lowestoft had the better possession, and they were determined to shut down Hendon whenever the Greens moved forward. Hendon were content to let Lowestoft do what they wanted with the ball until they got close to the penalty area.
The best move of the match came in the 21st minute when Lowestoft kept the ball superbly well in a move that saw around 20 passes before an angled ball into the penalty area was cleared for a corner by Ryan Wharton.
The corner fell to Matt Nolan, whose powerful drive was well blocked by Berkley Laurencin. He did not have to worry about the rebound because Lowestoft were penalised for a foul.
Laurencin then had an easy save when Nathan Sinclair tried his luck from long distance. They were the only two shots on target in the first half.
Lone Hendon striker Greg Ngoyi got little change out of Lowestoft skipper Scott Mitchell. On the one occasion when he broke into the penalty with the ball, after 26 minutes, Mitchell didn't allow Ngoyi the chance to turn, pass or shoot towards the goal.
Jamie Busby did not appear for the second half, with Elliott Charles replacing him. It meant a reshuffle in the Hendon line-up, one that caused Lowestoft significantly more problems in their defensive area of the pitch.
Three minutes after the resumption, from Hendon's first corner of the half, Charles outjumped Lowestoft goalkeeper Andy Reynolds and clipped the crossbar with a header. The referee, however, penalised the Hendon man so if the ball had gone into the net, it would not have counted.
The suddenly dry and hard pitch nearly resulted in the game's opening goal, after 61 minutes. A back-pass from Scott Cousins took a terrible bounce over the foot of Laurencin and the ball rolled behind the goalkeeper.
Chris Henderson seemed to have the simplest of chances to slip the ball into the unguarded net, but Laurencin showed commendable powers of recovery to not only beat the Lowestoft man to the ball, but to make solid contact with a clearance.
Laurencin then got very lucky because Henderson blocked the ball. It ricocheted off his body, against the outside of the post and out for a goal kick.
Elliott Godfrey had Hendon#s first effort on target midway through the half when he was in the right place to shoot following a corner. Sam Gaughran threw himself in front of the ball and blocked it bravely.
After half an hour of the second half, Hendon sent on Rankin for Ngoyi, while Michael Frew, who had been superbly shackled by the Hendon defence, made way for Nathan Stone. Both substitutes would quickly make their mark on the game. In the 78th minute, Laurencin made a very good save, clawing the ball away from the angle of near post crossbar when Stone curled a shot goalwards.
Lowestoft, crucially made their second change moments later. They lost their skipper Mitchell with a leg injury and he was replaced by Stuart Ainsley. This caused a reshuffle in the defence with Gaughran now given the responsibility of dealing with Rankin.
It proved to a an unfortunate turn of events for the visitors as, just three minutes later, an astute through ball from Darren Currie resulted in Gaughran trying to head the ball back to his goalkeeper Andy Reynolds.
Reynolds, however, had come off his line and Gaughran, stretching, neatly headed the ball over his stranded goalkeeper. Rankin hadn't stopped running and he beat Gaughran to the ball as he headed it into the empty net from six yards.
Lowestoft strangely decided to replace Nolan with former Hendon favourite Lubomir Guentchev, but he couldn't change the game. Nolan had got little change out James Fisher and Wharton, who have formed a really solid partnership at the heart of the Hendon defence, but without him Guentchev had no one to find, if he had the time to work his magic.
Hendon made their final change in the last minute of normal time, replacing Godfrey with Diedhiou and the substitute did give Lowestoft one final chance on the break, but the Hendon defence was there to keep the clean sheet and take home the three points.
"It was a big win for us today," said Hendon manager Gary McCann. "We need wins and it doesnâ€™t matter who we are against. But after such a big win I will have to keep my players feet on the ground. I have set the players a target for the number of wins and today was just another one of those.
"To keep a clean sheet against title contenders is great and I thought we were really solid defensively today."