A magnificent 90 minutes of entertainment saw Hendon play out a second eight-goal thriller, both of which ended in a 5-3 home win. In September, Enfield took advantage of injured goalkeeper Gary McCann to win at Southbury Road, but on Saturday, at LOOT Stadium, despite conceding a first-minute goal, it was Hendon who claimed 3 Ryman Premier points.
Hendon made a few changes following Tuesday's loss at Harrow. Injured McCann was replaced by Andy Iga and Curtis Warmington came in for Matt Bartholomew. Of the substitutes, only Matt Howard retained his place; Bontcho Guentchev and Paul Scott replacing Dominic Gentle and Dale Binns.
Farnborough made a dream start. Steve Watson sent a long diagonal pass which eluded the Hendon back three. Steve DARLINGTON latched onto the ball, skipped past Iga and knocked the ball into the empty net from an acute angle. The game was only 43 seconds old. and it was the second time in 3 weeks the Greens had conceded a first minute goal; on 1 April, Purfleet scored in 11 seconds!
Unlike the Purfleet match, Hendon shrugged off the early disappointment and set about Boro. Davis Haule, showing excellent balance on the heavy, difficult surface, danced around a couple of defenders but dragged his shot wide. The Farnborough defence was asked a number of questions, and their answers were far from convincing.
The equaliser came after 24 minutes and it was no real surprise. Freddie Hyatt drove a crossfield pass into the path of Haule. He took on a couple of defenders and left them trailing in his wake as he burst into the penalty area. Stuart MacKenzie came out to narrow the angle but HAULE struck a fine shot inside the post.
Within 4 minutes, Hendon had the lead. A teasing cross was destined for Paul Whitmarsh's head, but Tim O'Shea intervened with a header that flew no more than a couple of inches over his own crossbar. Hyatt, forced to take corners from the right side because Simon Clarke appeared uncomfortable with a patch of ground where his standing foot landed by the corner flag, drove a cross towards the edge of the penalty area.
Jon Daly won the header and knocked the ball down to the edge of the 6-yard box. Paul Towler and Whitmarsh were alone as the ball arrived, Farnborough's defenders guilty to a man of ball-watching. WHITMARSH reacted quicker than his team-mate and turned the ball into the net. It was in fact a double blow for Farnborough because the influential Watson limped off, to be replaced by Justin Gregory.
After 33 minutes, the lead was extended. Again it was a right-side dead-ball situation and again the delivery was superb. This time the ball went beyond the far post, but Gary FITZGERALD was perfectly placed to rise above his marker and head the ball home. MacKenzie will not be pleased with his effort to save the ball however, letting the ball bounce over him as he went down slowly.
Hendon could not stand prosperity. They needlessly conceded a succession of free-kicks around their own penalty area and then gave away a corner. The ball was swung in and Kevin JAMES had a free header from 12 yards which went through a forest of legs into the net. It was just the boost Farnborough needed because they were about to get the advantage of the strengthening wind for the second half.
Howard replaced Fitzgerald at half-time, the skipper having sustained a first-half injury. Towler reverted to central defence, with Howard slotting in at his more accustomed right-back position. Hendon were immediately on the back foot, although Boro were rather wasteful with their crossing.
The next goal was probably the decisive one and it went Hendon's way, after 53 minutes. Farnborough were penalised midway inside the Hendon half and Warmington drilled the free-kick downfield. Whitmarsh and Richard Harper chased for the ball and the former won the chase. MacKenzie again came off his line and against was beaten by a low shot, WHITMARSH celebrating his 13th goal of the season.
After an hour, Marvyn Watson gave way for Bontcho Guentchev, the youngster having been well marshalled by Farnborough's defence. The visitors were next to score, too, in the 66th minute. Michael Warner, who had been inaccurate with a few free-kicks, attacked down the right flank and delivered a deep cross which Bruno Mendonca - a preseason trialist with Hendon reserves - headed home, rising high.
A one-goal lead really was not a comfortable one for Hendon, especially as Keith Dublin, the former Chelsea and Southend midfielder had just replaced Danny Yeoman, and he played on the right side, forcing Simon Clarke into a more defensive position. But the Hendon central defence of Warmington, Towler and Warren Kelly, is very experienced and Iga was surprisingly rarely troubled. Mendonca and Darlington were both guilty of wasteful shooting from rare openings.
Whitmarsh, having run himself to a near standstill, went off to warm applause after 79 minutes, Scott coming on. Farnborough made their last change 3 minutes later, Joseph Omigie, a fourth forward, coming on for defender Mark Harper. It meant that Boro were likely to be stretched at the back if Hendon could deliver the right ball forward.
They could. Howard had two attempts at curling a shot: the first was blocked, the second went just wide. In the 90th minute, Guentchev leapt to reach a cross. He controlled the ball on his head, let it drop before flicking it over his marker, Warner, and drilled a low shot which MacKenzie saved well with his feet.
In stoppage time, Guentchev was in the centre circle and timed a perfect pass into the path of Scott who had sprung the offside trap. For a third time, MacKenzie found himself facing a Hendon forward running clear at him and SCOTT made it 3 out of 3 shots to beat him with a precise drive past the keeper's right hand.
"I am delighted with the three points," said manager Frank Murphy. "It was an excellent afternoon's entertainment. Full credit to both teams; we both played with three up front and we both went for it."