Hendon bounced back in superb style from the misery of their FA Cup with Budweiser exit a week earlier, inflicting a 4-0 defeat on Bury Town at Ram Meadow on Saturday. It was the Greens' fourth away win in the Ryman League Premier Division this season, second by 4-0 and also the second in Suffolk; while Bury suffered a third straight League defeat, all with four goals conceded.
It left fans wishing that Hendon's home form matched that of theirs on the road. Rheir only League victory at their new Earlsmead home was the away fixture against landlords Harrow Borough.
Following the second half collapse against Bishops Stortford, manager Gary McCann rang the changes, with Berkley Laurencin, Kevin Maclaren and Tony Taggart coming into the team at the expense of Sean Thomas, Dave Diedhiou and Aaron Morgan, the latter two dropping to the bench. There were also a number of positional changes as Hendon tried to staunch the flow of goals conceded.
A good early start has been a regular occurrence for Hendon's opponents in recent weeks, but this time it was the Greens who got in the first decisive blow. The opening dozen minutes had seen a fair amount of end-to-end action, albeit measured and without any real openings.
Then, Hendon won a corner which was taken by Taggart. The well-worked set piece caused chaos in the Bury penalty area and when the ball fell to Lee OÃ¢Â€Â™Leary, he fed Casey Maclaren, who wasted no time in sweeping it past Marcus Garnham to give Hendon the lead.
In the 18th minute, Laurencin was called into action. Joe Whight latched onto the ball 25 yards out and sent a rising drive which forced the Hendon goalkeeper to match a save above his head. It was the sort of save one would expect a goalkeeper to make without fuss and that is exactly how Laurencin dealt with the danger.
A minute later, Garnham had to be alert to make a good save from Taggart who had been set-up by the outstanding Jefferson Louis. The home defence had no answer to the big striker, who held up the ball superbly and frequently made space for both himself and the willing runners off him, mainly Taggart and Carl McCluskey.
The Bury defence's hesitation and discomfort was shown up again in the 21st minute, when McCluskey and Louis ran towards goal, exchanging passes. Once they got into the penalty area, no one dared to make a challenge. Louis could have taken on the chance himself, but unselfishly passed to McCluskey, and he made it 2-0 with an accurate finish.
Bury had a chance to get back into the game in the 27th minute when a cross picked out John Sands. The Blues' leading goalscorer, with seven to his name already this season, couldn't add to his total because his free header was not only weak, but also directed straight at Laurencin.
Sands' day would go from bad to worse when he was replaced by Richard Logan five minutes before half-time. Although there was no obvious injury, it seemed unlikely that he would have been withdrawn without something being amiss.
By this time, Garnham had twice kept the Hendon total down with good saves. He did week to keep out another effort from McCluskey, again set up by Louis and then Louis himself was denied by the goalkeeper.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Garnham was again beaten. Taggart was the instigator on this occasion and it was Louis who was the finisher, firing into the net as the home defence was found wanting.
Twenty minutes into the second half Bury made their last two changes - more damage limitation than trying to get back into the match as John Kennedy and Ryan Semple made way for Jordan Patrick and Billy Clark.
Hendon had three excellent chances to add to their lead between the 70th and 75th minutes. First a foul on Louis resulted in a free-kick on the edge of the Bury penalty area. The attempt however was blocked.
Michael Bryan, who had teased and tormented both full-backs all afternoon, had both of the other chances, one-on-one with Garnham. The first saw him going for placement, but he put the ball narrowly wide of the target. Second time around, he went for power and Garnham was able to make the save.
Hendon made their three changes in quick succession. After 71 minutes, Dean Cracknell and Morgan took over from Jack Bennett and Taggart, respectively. Four minutes later, Anthony Thomas replaced Kevin Maclaren.
There was no six-minute hat-trick for Thomas this time. He did, however, get a goal within three minutes of coming onto the pitch. A superb pass from Cracknell sent Chris Seeby on one of his trademark dangerous runs into the penalty area, inviting a challenge.
As he drew his leg back to shoot, David Bridges brought him down. Given that he was in the act of shooting unchallenged towards goal, it might have been considered deny an obvious goalscoring opportunity, but the referee satisfied himself with the award of a penalty and further sanction on the Blues midfielder. Thomas made no mistake from the spot.
In the final ten minutes, Bury began to exert some serious pressure on the Hendon defence. But James Fisher marshalled the Greens' backline superbly and although there were a couple of chances, they came to nothing.