Hendon suffered their second defeat in pre-season on Tuesday evening, losing 2-1 at Northwood. There was, perhaps, some mitigation in the defeat, as Hendon included six who played against Chesham last night, both unused substitutes from that game, and six trialists, three of whom were new to the club this pre-season. The result was just about right, Northwood being more effective in the final third than Hendon.
Hendon did not have a number 6 shirt in the kit, Aaron Morgan starting, wearing 13. Northwood's starting numbers were random - 14, 17, and 18 all started, and their subs came on in pairs after half-time, including at least two players in unnumbered shirts.
Northwood included former Hendon players Berkley Laurencin in goal and Mark Burgess, who played in central defence for the first hour. James Burgess was unable to play.
Though possession was pretty even in the first half, Northwood undoubtedly had the better of it territorially and scored twice.
They went ahead after 10 minutes. A cross from the right wing carried beyond the far post, from where it was headed back into the middle and George Nicholls had a simple task to turn the ball into the net from a few yards out.
10 minutes later Kezie Ibe fashioned a chance for himself but Laurencin made a good save. Shortly after this Hendon keeper Bobby Sturgeon grabbed a through ball at the third attempt under pressure, appearing to concentrate more on the approaching Northwood forward than the ball. Sturgeon was lucky that his first two attempts to gather the ball didn't fall to the forward.
For the next 10 minutes or so Hendon created several chances. First Laurencin saved from Ibe in a one-on-one after the latter had muscled his way past three defenders; the ball deflected to Michael Murray but his shot was saved. Then Ollie Sprague tried his luck from 30 yards but fired straight at the keeper, and Andre Da Costa crossed from the right to Richard Worrell whose header cleared the bar. Finally Ibe fashioned another chance for himself but his shot was blocked for a corner.
On 37 minutes Northwood went 2-0 ahead. Hendon conceded a free-kick around 25 yards out. The kick was fed down the inside-right channel and Javonne Malloy turned the ball home.
During the half-time interval, Hendon players and management, except for Sturgeon and Danny McNicholas - the former warming the latter up, retreated to the dressing room for their talk, whereas Northwood stayed on the pitch for theirs.
For the second half McNicholas replaced Sturgeon in goal, and centre-half James Regis and Worrell were withdrawn, both appearing to have taken a knock in the first half.
In the second half Hendon had more of the play, territory, and chances, though Northwood came close to extending their lead on four occasions. Both Tom O'Regan and Da Costa had chances in the first 10 minutes, the former firing over and the latter trying his luck from wide out on the right.
Ibe was replaced after 59 minutes by Elias Moses which resulted in a number of positional changes which took the best part of 15 minutes to bed in effectively. The changes saw Murray leading the attack, and he made a very good attempt at the task.
The last 15 minutes were nearly all Hendon. A pass from Sprague to Murray was just cut out, before Hendon scored in the 81st minute. O'Regan was brought down on the edge of the penalty area, and Murray drove the free kick into the far corner, leaving Laurencin rooted to the spot.
Da Costa then tricked his way past three defenders before slipping a reverse pass to Morgan who blasted wide. Then Morgan played a fine through pass to O'Regan whose shot was just wide, and finally Murray set up Keba who also shot wide.
Although Hendon worked hard, the passing was not as crisp and accurate as it could be. Max McCann did a good job in the O'Leary role, and Da Costa was much more effective in a wide forward role after Ibe went off than he was before it at right back.