Hendon's season ended on a disappointing note as Margate scored in the final few minutes to snatch all three points at the end of a thoroughly entertaining match. Although the Greens failed to win any of their last six matches, they still finished in a more than laudable eighth place in the table.
Kevin Maclaren returned after missing a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, one of three changes to the Hendon starting line-up. Elliott Brathwaite and Leon Smith also came in as Max McCann, Anthony Thomas and Michael Murray made way for them, the latter two being named on the subs bench. In a reshuffled line-up, Casey Maclaren played in a more forward role, meaning, over the past two games, he appeared in goal, defence, midfield and attack.
The match kicked off on a lovely, sunny afternoon - though not as warm as the opening day at Thamesmead - and was dominated by Hendon, who were much the brighter. In the fifth minute, a good run and cross from Jack Bennett found its way through the Margate defence and fell at the feet of the unsighted Dave Diedhiou, who instinctively stabbed at the ball but could only guide it over the target from close range.
Four minutes later, the Greens took the lead with a superb piece of skill from Smith. Good approach play down the right flank opened up the Margate defence and Chris Seebyâ€™s cross was met by an acrobatic volley from SMITH which beat Nikki Bull all ends up.
For most of the rest of the half, the match was pretty much condensed into a battle between Hendon and frequent nemesis Bull. Eleven years earlier, to the day, Banks then managed by Terry Brown too, was beaten twice by a Hendon team which eventually was beaten; however, in 2003, Bull completed a 6â€“2 Aldershot Town victory with a successful penalty kick.
Banks kept Margate in the game with two excellent saves denying Seeby and Smith. The latter save resulted in a corner which resulted in Brathwaite requiring treatment after Jefferson Louis had collided with him on the six-yard box. Hendon fans were relieved that this injury was not to the centre-half's knee.
Brathwaite was able to resume, but Louis - who finished the season as Hendon's leading goalscorer - was less fortunate. The Margate frontman suffered a hamstring injury and limped off after 24 minutes, to be replaced by Luke Medley.
Danny McNicholas was well protected by Brathwaite and James Fisher, who was making his 100th Hendon appearance, while Seeby and Bennett were able to get forward frequently and had the visiting defence at full stretch.
Bennett was denied a clear shot at goal by a magnificent sliding intervention from Mitchell Nelson. The defender knocked the ball away as Bennett swung his foot at the ball and the Hendon man went down as his follow-through connected with Nelson's foot.
Diedhiou had another chance to extend the Hendon lead when he made space in the six-yard box and met a cross. His header was poorly directed, but only just, as it went inches wide of the unguarded far post with Bull a mere spectator.
In the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half, Hendon were made to pay for their profligacy. For once the Greens midfield failed to deal with a run by Charlie Allen and when the midfielder found himself in a good shooting position, he drilled the ball across McNicholas, just inside the far post.
Buoyed by the late first-half goal, Margate started the second half well and inside a minute, after McNicholas had made a good save from Medley, Anthony Riviere ballooned the rebound over the crossbar. It delayed a second Gate goal barely a minute.
Margate swarmed forward and the Hendon defence was overrun. When the ball fell to Matt Bodkin, he fired a shot under McNicholas's body and into the net. At this point, Hendon could almost have been forgiven for going into damage limitation mode, but they didnâ€™t and were rewarded with an excellent equaliser.
Bennett and Tony Taggart linked up well down the left and the ball was moved to Lee Oâ€™Leary, who switched to point of attack to the opposite wing, where Seeby danced past Sam Rents. He then played a short pass into the path of Diedhiou, who took a couple of steps forward before shooting past Bull.
Margate completed their trio of substitutions just past the hour mark when Jamie Stuart replaced Omar Beckles, Adam Cash having come on for Charles Ademano at half-time. But Hendon were forced to make a change a minute later when Smith limped off, to be replaced by Thomas.
Bull produced three more tip-top saves to keep out efforts from Bennett, Diedhiou and Brathwaite, while Casey Maclaren glanced a header just wide from a corner. Seeby then tried his luck at the near post and Bull produced his best save of the afternoon, sticking out his foot to divert the ball around the upright.
Kevin Maclaren and Taggart were then withdrawn at the expense of Murray and Scott Cousins, the latter move allowing Bennett to play as a more orthodox left winger, with the club captain dropping in at left-back.
The weather deteriorated as the half progressed and the game became even more open. Margate began to apply some concerted pressure and wasted a couple of good openings, but Hendon were not without chances themselves, but found the Gate defence in fine form, making two or three well-timed tackles.
With four minutes of normal time remaining, Hendon again committed the cardinal sin of losing possession in a good position. This time it was Medley who took full toll and he shot into the bottom corner with McNicholas stranded in the middle of the goal.
There was time for the Greens to get back into the game - even the sun returned late in stoppage time 0 but the confidence was not there and Margate were able to hang on without too many alarms and thus were able to celebrate a top-half finish.