Hendon enjoyed a relatively comfortable passage into the 2nd round of the Ryman League Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Hertford Town at Hertingfordbury Park on Tuesday night. Their 2nd round (last 32) opponents will be known next week.
Having served his suspension Jon-Barrie Bates came into the starting line-up, as did Joe Nartey and Byron Bubb for Steve Forbes, Davis Haule and Dale Binns respectively - the latter two taking places on the bench.
Marvyn Watson was the other substitute and he came on after just 18 minutes, replacing Micky Woolner at right-back. It had been an uneasy period for Hendon, who had been under some pressure, but the makeshift back four, with Simon Clarke partnering Paul Towler in the middle and Mark Burgess playing at left-back, had not allowed too many efforts on target. Watson made an immediate difference in an attacking role. His pass started the move which led to Chris Fitkin pulling off a fine save to block Nartey as he found a hole in Hertford's rearguard.
Having found a way through, Hendon were quick to capitalise. Hertford failed to deal with a corner and when the ball was knocked back into the penalty area, Clarke rose at the far post and headed the ball back into the path of NARTEY. His shot had barely crossed the line as Fitkin reached it, but the keeper could do no more than lift the ball against the underside of the crossbar and it lay in the net behind him.
After enjoying 10 minutes of pressure, when a number of half-chances were not taken, Hendon went off the boil. It allowed Hertford to get back into the game, and David Hook produced two fine saves, denying both Gary Ferguson and Lee Munt. At half-time, Hendon boss made it very clear to his players that more effort was required in the second half, especially in support of the strikers.
The message got through and Ross Pickett and Bates in particular got forward a lot more. Bates had one of his more effective matches for Hendon, his leadership being another positive.
Fitkin had made a couple of routine saves from long-range efforts from Bubb before the winger found his range in the 62nd minute. Clarke played a slide-rule 35-yard pass into BUBB's path and he held off a defender before whipping in a powerful shot that left the goalkeeper helpless.
Almost immediately, substitute Watson was substituted by Haule, with Paul Yates dropping into the right back role - the third player to fill the role in the game. But the second goal really knocked the stuffing out of Hertford. They brought on 21-goal striker Kevin Cooper and went all-out for the goal which would have given them a life-line.
Instead, a combination of Hertford's tiredness and commitment to attack left big holes for Hendon to attack. Phil Ruggles, who worked very hard without reward, probably should have scored a hat-trick, but the ball didn't quite run for him. Binns, on for Bubb, had a couple of runs but did not trouble Fitkin.
In stoppage time, however, he went on another run at Hertford defence. Instead of shooting at goal, he passed the ball into NARTEY, who had time to control it before placing it in the bottom corner.
"We have to set our own standards," said a satisfied Mr Anderson. "It is never easy coming to places like this and in the first half we didn't play well. I gave the players a roasting at half-time and we were much better in the second half."