Hendon produced a coruscating 20-minute spell to start the second half and used it to defeat Sutton United 4-3 at LOOT Stadium on Saturday afternoon. If made for an amazing day for Hendon & England fans, with the Greens recording only their second 4-goal haul against Sutton in 25 years, while the national side produced their highest score in Germany since notching 6 in Berlin in 1938.
Manager Dave Anderson made one change to the team which had started in the 2-0 defeat of Harrow Borough, Ricci Crace coming into the starting line-up for Ross Pickett, who joined fit-again Chris Sparks (replacing Paul Johnson) and Lee O'Donnell on the bench.
For the second game running, Hendon got off to the perfect start with an early goal. Marvyn Watson passed to Ricci Crace, who held off Paul Honey and set up Micky Woolner. Watson and Crace both screamed for a pass, but Woolner ignored them delivered a fine cross as he spotted Davis Haule all alone 8 yards from goal. HAULE's looping header beat Chuck Martini, who made no real effort to get to the ball.
Haule's marker, Michael Mison, had a torrid time trying to keep Haule in check and he was cautioned for a crude grab at him as the striker broke towards goal. However, the free-kick count went heavily in Sutton's favour. The challenges were never malicious, mainly the result of over-enthusiasm, but it caught up with Hendon, who were forced into defending deep in their own half.
In the 18th minute, Sutton made Hendon pay. A free-kick was headed out of the penalty area, but only just and MISON returned it with interest, striking a fine volley into the roof of the net with David Hook well beaten. Eight minutes later, more careless defending saw the Us take the lead.
This time it was Paul Towler who was at fault, pulling back Matt Fowler as he made a run into the penalty area. Referee Mr K Feeney (Hants) immediately pointed to the penalty spot and showed Towler a yellow card. Chris BOOTHE made no mistake with the spot-kick, sending Hook the wrong way.
Almost immediately, Haule forced Martini into an acrobatic save from his 20-yard shot. Martini then had an awful rush of blood that should have led to Hendon's equaliser. He tried to shepherd the ball into touch near to the corner flag, but Haule chased after him and somehow kept the ball in play. Haule dribbled the ball back into the penalty area with Martini chasing behind him, but his pass to Watson was poor and the chance went begging.
On the stroke of half-time, Danny Arkwright, who had been booked for time-wasting, came very close to scoring a third goal for Sutton, but Woolner cleared the ball off the line. At 3-1 down, Hendon would have struggled to get something out of the game, but not even the most optimistic Greens fan could have imagined the change at the start of the second half.
Paul Yates was withdrawn in favour of Sparks, who joined RenÃƒÂ© Street in the middle of the defence, while Towler went into midfield. For Sutton, Dave Timothy made way for Eddie Akuamoah. The two changes had a massive difference, because Hendon completely took over control of midfield.
Two minutes into the half, slipshod defending saw the ball fall to Towler, who tried a shot of goal. It struck two defenders and the ball fell to Haule, who was again unmarked inside the penalty area. This time his shot was not well hit, but Martini, instead of diving to make a save, tried to kick it clear. The ball scuffed off his boot and as it rolled across the face of goal, Jon-Barrie BATES slid in to score his first Hendon goal.
Six minutes later, Hendon scored a stunning goal. Sutton failed to deal with a Hendon free-kick and Simon Clarke lifted a ball over the top of Ryan Palmer, inviting Dale Binns to run onto it. The flying winger needed no second bidding. Letting the ball bounce over his shoulder, BINNS made light of an acute angle by firing a screaming volley into the net just inside the far post.
Hendon were rampant and Haule fired narrowly wide of Martini's left post after a fine move. In the 62nd minute, Hendon made it 4-2 with two pieces of exceptional skill. First Crace embarrassed Mison with a jinking run and unselfishly laid the ball into the path of Binns. This time BINNS went for a technically more difficult shot, striking the ball with the outside of his foot. Martini just stood and watched as the ball arrowed into the roof of the net.
Four minutes later, Haule should have scored his second when he latched onto a through ball from Bates and beat Martini with a shot. The ball cannoned off a post and Haule was first to the rebound, but he shot widewith the goal at his mercy. Crace twice tried his luck with shots, but he failed to hit the target.
As the game moved into injury time, Woolner mistimed a tackle on Jon Palmer and conceded Hendon's second penalty of the game. BOOTHE against sent Hook the wrong way, but Sutton never looked like scoring a 4th goal. It would have been a gross injustice if they had got anything from the game.
"For 20 minutes of the second half, we looked very good," said a delighted Mr Anderson, who had double reason to celebrate after his wife Paula had presented him with a baby son on Friday afternoon.