Hendon's interest in the FA Trophy came to an end at Ebbsfleet United in a tie that lacked nothing from either side in terms of effort but plenty in the way of real quality. In the end, the home team's strength and organisation proved just too much for the hard-working visitors.
Gary McCann made one change from the starting eleven that had beaten Bury Town a week previously, with Kevin Maclaren returning from suspension in place of Leon Smith, who dropped to the bench.
It was clear from the outset that the away side were set up to contain with Maclaren, Lee O'Leary and Dave Diedhiou in the centre of midfield, whilst utilising the pace and energy of Sam Murphy and Andre Da Costa in wide areas on the break.
The hosts, playing their first match since the midweek dismissal of manager Steve Brown, had the first effort of the game within three minutes.
Hendon conceded a free kick 25 or so yards from goal in a fairly central position, and although Matt Johnson got plenty of curl on the ball to beat the wall, Ben McNamara always looked comfortable watching it brush the side netting on its way behind the goal.
The clearest chance of the opening half fell Hendon's way in the 8th minute as an adroit pass in between Anthony Acheampong and Chris Sessegnon allowed Andre Da Costa to run clear on goal in the inside left channel.
The angle favoured a left footed effort, but Da Costa used his right to try and direct the ball beyond the goalkeeper from about 10 yards out, but could only find the side-netting at the near post.
Apart from a low effort from the edge of the Hendon penalty area that was parried by McNamara low down and a Kenny Clark header from an Ebbsfleet corner towards the end of the half, the first 45 minutes was a largely scrappy affair with both sides conceding possession relatively cheaply and a handful of needless late challenges, again from both sides, requiring the intervention of the referee.
The winning goal came in the 51st minute after five minutes of similarly uninspiring fayre that had been served up in the first period.
A low ball into the Hendon box was blocked low down by McNamara. As it came back into the danger area, it appeared as though an Ebbsfleet forward controlled the ball with the aid of his hand
After being half cleared to the edge of the penalty area, Anthony Cook (who was a scorer against Hendon for Chelmsford City in the FA Cup 1st round in November 2010) drilled a low shot that looked to take a deflection on its way past the unsighted McNamara. Hendon's protestations about the lack of any handball decision fell on deaf ears.
It was perhaps fitting that Cook should prove to be the matchwinner having been the one attacker on either side to have shown any sort of directness and intent to make things happen.
Given a license to roam off of the left flank, he proved a constant thorn in Hendon's side all afternoon displaying the grace and poise of a ballerina on a coffee table.
With the cushion of a goal firmly behind them, the home side began to take a stranglehold on proceedings. They hustled Hendon players as soon as a blue shirt took possession of the ball with the result that the quality of passing suffered. Kezie Ibe was well managed by Acheampong, whilst what half chances that were created fell the home side's way.
Billy Bricknell was just unable to keep a free header from a Cook corner below the bar, and McNamara recovered after spilling what looked like a regulation save by making a superb sprawling smothering stop to deny the same player from finishing the match as a contest.
Whilst the deficit remained just the single goal, the away side felt that they would get at least one chance to force a replay.
With the game deep into stoppage time, good build up play down the left involving Tony Taggart, Murphy and Ibe saw the ball fall to Aite-Ouakrim 20 yards out.
His first time strike as the ball dropped was diverted away from goal by a desperate lunge by Clark and the ball spun wide of Brandon Hall's left hand post. Although McNamara joined the attack for the subsequent corner, the home side were able to clear the ball as the referee brought proceedings to an end.