Hendon's first Ryman League Premier in Maidstone since September 1970 ended in a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes of great entertainment. Even the most strident of naysayers on the subject on 3G and 4G pitches would have been forced to at least think again after the way this match was played.
It is hard to imagine that any natural grass surface would have been able to cope with the rain that fell during the afternoon. The nearby river, the Medway, was close to bursting its banks, resulting in serious inconvenience for fans walking to the Gallagher Stadium, as the paths skirting the waterway had been closed on safety grounds.
The rainstorm lasted a little over 2 hours, starting 30 minutes before kick-off. For most of that time it was of deluge strength, soaking everyone out in it for even a few seconds. It meant that the attendance was "only" 1,583.
There was just one change to the Hendon line0up from the team that defeated Leiston a week earlier. Anthony Thomas was given the start, in place of Adam Wallace, who dropped to the bench.
Maidstone have yet to lose a Ryman League Premier Division game at home this season, and their style of football is attractive and attacking - in exactly the same way as Hendon. And it probably was very hard for the Stones to beat a mirror image of themselves.
It meant that defences dominated, because they were used to training against the attacks coming at them. Hendon had the first chance, but Michael Bryan's drive was deflected narrowly by a brave bit of defending.
The first effort requiring a save came after 21 minutes, when a driven cross-come-shot from Kevin Maclaren was caught just under his crossbar by Lee Worgan. Once the Stones' keeper had got his angle right, it was an easy save.
Just as the Stones defence held firm, so did the Hendon rearguard and they limited Maidstone to efforts from distance. A couple of efforts whistled wide of the target and crosses were well dealt with by James Fisher and Casey Maclaren.
After 25 minutes Ross Fitzsimons made a rare error of judgement when he raced off his line to deal with a through ball, but the covering Fisher slowed up Jack Harris and forced him to play the ball backwards. Fans were screaming for a shot at goal as Fitzsimons backpedalled, but Frannie Collin didn't heed the advice.
Rory Hill then took the ball off Jack Bennett and fired a shot which Bennett was able to deflect away for a corner. The set-piece came to nothing.
Another block, in the 34th minute, denied Jefferson Louis a possible goal. Seconds later, the only time an unnatural bounce affected the game, saw a deflection spin crazily and force an air-shot from Louis.
After 36 minutes, Hendon did have an escape when a speculative overhead kick from Harris crashed off the crossbar before being cleared to safety. A challenge from Fisher then brought him a yellow card.
Casey Maclaren was just close enough to ensure that the referee didn't rule the foul, right on the edge of the penalty area, was denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity and thus a card of a different colour. The free-kick was drilled low into the defensive wall and bounced away.
What might well have scuppered Hendon hopes came in the last minute of the first half. Louis chased a diagonal ball towards the touchline, chased by Alex Flisher and Tom Mills.
Flisher attempted to make a tackle and ran into the outstretched arm of the Hendon striker and was felled by it. Louis, who had not retaliated to far worse buffetings from opposing central defenders since arriving at Earlsmead in the summer, wasn't attempting to do anything more than protect himself, but the timing of his arm and the arrival of Flisher made the red card the only option for the referee.
For the second half, Hendon replaced Bryan with Dave Diedhiou, shoring the up the midfield, so he would partner Kevin Maclaren and Lee O'Leary. The trio were outstanding and outplayed the Maidstone four, forcing them to use the wings, where Jack Bennett and Chris Seeby more than held their own.
Within four minutes of the resumption, Hendon had taken the lead. A well directed pass controlled by Anthony Thomas, who had his back to goal and Mills in close attendance.
Thomas, however, was able to turn past the defender and he delivered the most tempting of slide-rule passes, inviting Carl McCluskey to run onto it. Taking the ball in his stride, McCluskey steadied himself and shot past Worgan. It stunned the crowd, apart from a couple of knots of Hendon supporters.
Hendon's lead lasted only five minutes. Fabio Saraiva shot from just outside the penalty area. The ball went through a crowd of players, but Fitzsimons was able to get a good hand on the ball to push it away.
Unfortunately for the Greens, Zac Attwood had not joined the Maidstone attack in the middle of the field, instead preferring to lurk with intent out wide. His instinct was spot on as he was able to run onto the loose ball and fire it into the small gap at the near post just before Fitzsimons could get across to cover.
For the next 15 minutes Maidstone held the upper hand in terms of possession and territory, but were guilty of making poor decisions. Flisher was guilty of twice taking long-range pot-shots that were well off target and when there was action in the goalmouth, green-shirted players were quick to throw themselves into the line of fire.
After 69 and 77 minutes, Maidstone made substitutions, replacing Harris and Hill with Ashley Miller and Charley Robertson. The two newcomers added a freshness to the Stones' front-line, but they could not make a breakthrough.
Hendon hearts were in their mouths when Miller's run into the penalty was halted by Seeby. He went to ground hoping for a penalty, but the referee ruled that it had been the substitute who had initiated the contact and Seeby, was in any case, entitled to hold his position.
With a little more than five minutes to go, indicative of the way in which Hendon had played the second half, the Greens had the ball in the Maidstone net, albeit Diedhiou's effort being ruled out for offside.
The first chance fell to Seeby, who barely made contact with the ball. O'Leary followed up, but put his effort too close to Worgan, who made a block. Diedhiou ran in and netted, but Bennett was in an offside position and definitely close enough to be considered in an active area.
This meant, Hendon, playing with 10 men, drawing 1-1 away from home against top-five opponents, had launched an attack with two full-backs and two holding midfielders. There were clearly no thoughts of "what we have we hold."
Hendon left their last two changes for the final five minutes of normal time, replacing the front pair of Thomas and McCluskey with Adam Wallace and - as a clearly defensive measure - Ryan Wharton. Thomas had shown his superb workrate a few minutes earlier when he tried a shot from the edge of the penalty area and, after it was blocked to set up a counter-attack, he dropped back into defence to help out Casey Maclaren and Fisher.
There was still time for drama a both ends. Collin headed a cross narrowly wide - his first clear goalscoring opportunity of the afternoon - and Diedhiou and Kevin Maclaren made telling blocks by putting their bodies on the line.
At the other end, Wallace led a 2-on-2 counter-attack, but decided not to go for goal. His pass was just a little bit short for the late arriving O'Leary and the chance went begging.