Hendon crashed out of the FA Cup on Tuesday night, losing a match that was there for the taking with better application. The Blues were a well-organised side and worked hard for each other, but the Greens were guilty of an almost criminal waste of possession.
Ross Pickett and Youness Nabil replaced the injured Belal Aiteouakrim and Iain Duncan respectively, for Hendon while recent returnee Adam El-Haddad, a former member of the Youth set-up, was named to the bench along with Andy Judge.
The game was definitely a better spectacle than the turgid fare provided on Saturday, but it was not a game where either goalkeeper covered themselves with glory or could even claim to have been over-worked.
Lacking in confidence, Hendon tried to be positive, playing Danny Julienne wide on the right and Nabil on the left win, but neither player did anything like enough to impose themselves on the game. The crossing was uniformly woeful, either from open play or set pieces. Hendon will never know how composed under pressure the Police defence would be because practically every high ball was catching practice for the veteran Stuart MacKenzie.
In games like this, a defensive error is the most likely source of a goal and so it turned out. Unfortunately, it came at the wrong end for Hendon. Murphy was caught out of position upfield and when the ball was played into the space he should have been occupying.
Mark Burgess and RenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© Street in the middle of defence moved over to cover, with Andy Cook adding support, but the danger should have been cleared when the ball reached Marvyn Watson. Sadly he miskicked the ball and it fell to Craig Brown, who wasted no time in shooting past Dave King.
With little evidence of Hendon posing a threat with all their possession, the Police were content to sit back and wait the ball to come back to them before launching a counter-attack. King had to be sharply off his line on a couple of occasions to deny former Hendon men Kevin Cooper and Rob Haworth.
At the other end, a free-kick from Jeff Campbell went just wide and the same player hit the side netting with a shot. John Frendo lifted a half-chance high and wide of the goal as was put through, but he did have the onrushing MacKenzie to beat.
Pickett at least succeeded in beating MacKenzie to the ball and lifted it over him. He was, however, unable to create much of a chance because the ball didn't come down before covering defenders crowded him out.
The closest Hendon came to a goal was in the 56th minute when a corner was won by Street. The ball bounced low and MacKenzie could only parry it towards Burgess, but he overran it slightly and was unable to get the touch which would surely restored parity.
As the half progressed, Nabil and Julienne were withdrawn in favour of Jimmy Froud and El-Haddad, but neither could make much of an impression.
Indeed it was the Police who looked more likely to get another goal. Veteran Jon Daly, another former Hendon star, lost his marker at a set piece and his effort bounced off a post and rebounded into the grateful arms of King. Then, in the last minute, King saved well from Leon Johnson.
"This was not acceptable," stormed manager Gary McCann. "We did not put one good effort on target in 180 minutes against a team from a lower division. If the players we have at the moment cannot do the jobs we ask them, they will be replaced by others. There are going to be a number of changes, sooner rather than later."