Hendon, for the second time in a fortnight, gave a team with Ryman League title aspirations all they could handle for 45 minutes.
But on Saturday, against Canvey Island at LOOT Stadium, it was not enough to bring even a point as the Gulls ran out 1-0 winners. More disappointingly, the Greens' second consecutive defeat left them in the bottom 3, a drop of 7 places in a week.
Injuries to Martin Randall and Eugene Ofori meant Hendon were fielded Leon Woodruffe and Ricci Crace up front. Paul Towler was available again and he took Micky Woolner's place. On the bench, with Mark Burgess suspended, twin James came in.
The first half belonged to Canvey Island. Steve Tilson - who was in acres of space at the angle of the 6-yard box - had the ball in the Hendon net in the 3rd minute, but a very late flag from the assistant referee meant the goal was disallowed.
Steve Butler and Mark Cooper were given a torrid time by Lee Boylan and Neil Gregory, but Hendon added to their own pressure because David Hook had a difficult afternoon with his distribution. On a couple of occasions, quick passes created openings out wide, but the final ball was lacking.
In the 23rd minute, a Canvey corner was swung into the Hendon penalty area. Hook came for the ball but, under pressure, failed to gather it. Mick BODLEY was on hand to knock the loose ball into the net.
Three minutes later, Hook went some way to redeeming himself by making a fine save as Gregory found himself with a clear run and shot at goal. A couple more long-range snapshots didn't cause Hook too many problems, but Hendon were doing almost nothing in terms of attacking.
Their best chance came in the 38th minute and, had they scored it would have been a candidate for goal of the season. Dale Binns dispossessed Peter Smith near the touchline 10 yards inside the Canvey Island half and sprinted down the left wing. He drilled in an early cross which was met by a stretching Crace on the volley. The shot beat Ashley Harrison but went a foot wide of the near post.
The second half was a different story, with Hendon in the ascendancy for most of the period. Binns and Simon Clarke enjoyed more space down the left flank and this is where the Dons had their better moments.
Things appeared likely to explode early in the period. First Spencer Knight went down in a challenge, but play did not stop until it reached Towler just inside the Canvey Island half. Play restarted with a drop-ball, won by Steve Forbes, who took the ball forward until he was stopped by a bad tackle.
Canvey seemed to believe that the ball should have been returned to them or they would have knocked it back to Hook, but referee Mr P Miller decided the drop-ball should have been contested. That flashpoint was followed by a nasty foul from John Kennedy on Jon-Barrie Bates. Mr Miller lectured him and the referee's powers of persuasion had the desired effect - he did not issue a card all afternoon.
In the 54th minute, Crace was denied a goal by a fantastic save from Harrison. Binns' cross was knocked down by Forbes and fell perfectly for Crace, 10 yards out. He smashed the ball, aiming at the near post but Harrison, who had started to move to his left, somehow changed direction and pushed the ball aside.
Crace had another chance in the 75th minute, four minutes after Ofori had replaced the struggling Woodruffe. A corner from Paul Yates was not cleared properly and was knocked back across the penalty area to where Crace was unmarked. His volley went into the ground and went across the face of goal, just too quickly for Ofori divert goalwards.
Hendon's other chances came via the aerial route. There were quite a few opportunities but Forbes, twice, Butler and Towler all failed to hit the target, albeit under pressure each time.
Having weathered the storm, Canvey were able relax in the final 10 minutes, but they could not add to their lead.
"I am disappointed to lose to the goal that we conceded because it came from a mistake," said manager Dave Anderson. "Over the 90 minutes I think we were worth a draw, but we didn't take our chances and they took one."