Hendon got their real preseason friendly schedule under way on Saturday when they recorded a very comfortable 2-1 victory over Hillingdon Borough at Breakspeare Road.
With a number of players unavailable because of minor or major injuries, manager Dave Anderson gave all the fit ones a chance to show off their talents. Goalkeeper Gary McCann, defenders Iain Duncan, Paul Towler (all in various stages of rehabilitation after knee surgery) and Paul Johnson and strikers Ross Pickett, Dale Binns and Nathan Edwards (all minor niggles) were the ones not risked.
Two new triallists got run-outs in the starting line-up: goalkeeper Marcel Roux, a 29-year-old Frenchman who has seen service at Toulon and a couple of other clubs in his native south-western region, and Kofi Nyamah, a 26-year-old midfielder whose Nationwide League career included over 90 first-team appearances at Cambridge United, Stoke City, Luton Town and Exeter City and Nationwide League stops at Kettering Town, Stevenage Borough and Hayes.
It was Nyamah who opened the scoring in the first of the three 30-minute periods on Borough's training pitch. He started the move on the left flank and delivered a superb 40-yard crossfield pass to Marvyn Watson on the right. Watson jinked outside a defender, played a fine one-two with Davis Haule and then delivered a great cross which NYAMAH despatched with a neat finish.
Hillingdon changed their goalkeeper at the first break but the new man between the posts failed to cover himself with glory making a number of gaffes that were not punished by goals as much because the frame of the goal stopped three shots and two other efforts appeared to be cleared from behind the line, but without an assistant referee on the line to make the call, the referee allowed play to continue. The goalkeeper was replaced after just 12 minutes between the posts.
Hendon could also have been awarded 4 penalties. Crace was brought down just inside the penalty area, but the referee placed the ball a yard outside the box. Crase he was then sent tumbling but the referee was unmoved, after which a grab on a Hendon player in a scramble went unseen, as did a trip on Haule, who tried vainly to keep his balance.
In terms of chances, Hendon had about a dozen good ones and wasted them, hitting the bar again in the third period; Hillingdon had three and missed all of them. It seemed that Nyamah's goal would settle the argument.
However, in the 4th minute of stoppage time at the end of the third period, a save from Ray Ford bounced off a retreating Gary Fitzgerald's arm and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. The kick was converted without fuss.
Within 30 seconds, Hendon had regained the lead. Clarke fed the ball into the penalty area where HAULE rode a tackle, steadied himself and struck a low shot into the bottom corner.
"The real preseason friendlies started today," said manager Dave Anderson. "I was very pleased with the way we played. The only thing that was lacking was the finishing but that will come."