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Hendon and Metropolitan Police played out a turgid, goalless draw at Claremont Road on Saturday. Chances were at a premium all afternoon, although Hendon did create far more than the boys in blue.
Hendon made a couple of personnel and positional changes following the midweek defeat at home to Staines Town. Marvyn Watson came in a right back, dropping Billy Matthews to the bench with Mark Burgess partnering Rene Street in the middle of the back four, while New Zealand international Jeff Campbell made his debut at the expense of Dave Hunt.
The first chance fell to the Police. Veteran midfielder Jon Daly, twice a former Hendon player, who has been losing his marker at the far post for the best part of two decades did it again, but Dave King produced a fine low save from his header, following a Craig Brown free-kick.
Four minutes later, Belal Aiteouakrim and John Hamsher clashed on the half-way line and referee Andy Laver booked both of them. Sixty seconds later, Hendon suffered a blow when Iain Duncan limped off, to be replaced by Matthews, with Burgess moving into the left-back position.
Hendon's best chance of the first half fell to newcomer Campbell, whose 25-yard free-kick was easily gathered under the angle of post and crossbar by Stuart MacKenzie. The Greens' only other effort of note had been a shot from Danny Murphy which flew wide of the target.
In the second half, Hendon upped the tempo significantly and took control of the match. However, two defeats in the last week has dented the Greens' confidence and they were looking to make absolutely sure rather than chancing their arm with attempts on goal.
Aiteouakrim did fire one shot straight at MacKenzie after 52 minutes and John Frendo was inches wide of the far post with a stretching shot after a good pass from Murphy. Danny Julienne was a constant thorn in the side of the Police and he linked up well with Watson down the right as well as making dangerous forays into the Blues defence.
But these were rare openings and although the quality of a number of attempted Police clearances had more than a hint of panic and little composure, the ball didn't fall kindly for Hendon from miskicks.
The Police were unfortunate to lose Paul King with an injury midway through the second half. It forced a reshuffle with the ever-composed Brown forced into a rather alien full-back role.
This meant that Murphy found himself in acres of room on a couple of occasions when long balls caught out Brown. Unfortunately for the youngster, his normally sure touch deserted him on both occasions and the opportunities were quickly closed down.
As the game meandered towards it conclusion Hendon had to guard against complacency at the back. Andy Cook played a little deeper, nullifying Paul Barrowcliff, another of the four former Dons in the Police line-up. Barrowcliff, whose Hendon debut was 19 seasons ago, tried to prompt his team from midfield, but both Rob Haworth, who left Hendon in 2003, and Kevin Cooper, who played at Claremont Road almost a decade ago, were well-marshalled by Street and Matthews.
Manager Gary McCann said, "I was quite pleased with the overall performance. We were better organised and looked more solid. With just a little more guile up front we would have won the game easily."