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Hendon have not enjoyed as comfortable ride in their first FA Cup tie of a season for a decade as they demolished Biggleswade United 6-0 at Claremont Road. Apart from one early Dave King save, the Greens never really looked like conceding a goal and as well as the six goals they scored, three more efforts came off the goal frame and another goal was disallowed for offside, while errant flags halted at three other good opportunities.
All this was achieved with a team lacking four players from the team that had beaten Bromely a week earlier, Steve McGrath and Danny Julienne (unavailable), Belal Aiteouakrim (injured) and Eugene Ofori (released). Their places were taken by Billy Matthews, Mark Burgess, Andy Cook - who returned to the club in midweek after a spell at Hemel Hempstead last season and Leyton this term - and Youness Nabil.
The first chance of the game, which started during a thundery shower, fell to Biggleswade, in the FA Cup for the first time. It was free-kick 25 yards out to the right of the goal. Jack Weeden took it curled the ball beautifully around the Hendon wall, but it lacked the power to beat King's dive and the goalkeeper was able to make a routine diving save.
Midway through the first half, from a Danny Murphy corner, John Frendo lost his marker and put his effort against the inside of the post. The ball bounced inviting back into the six-yard box but before a green-shirted player could react, Dean Bull hacked it clear.
It was clear that the Biggleswade defence was at full stretch coping with Frendo and Ross Pickett, while Nabil was far too wily for the overmatched and exposed Michael Scarisbrick.
The opening goal was becoming more and more inevitable and it duly arrived in the 28th minute. A fine cross from Murphy picked out Frendo, who had checked off defender Lee Digby, and his volley was directed rather than driven inside the near post from 12 yards.
Weeden was then cautioned for a rash challenge on James Parker, further evidence of the Spartan South Midlands club's growing frustration at being unable to make any dents in a confident Hendon defence, well marshalled by Ren&ecaute; Street.
Hendon doubled their advantage after 38 minutes. Frendo tried his luck with a 25-yard drive, an effort which brought out the best in Billy Byford, the goalkeeper doing very well to tip the ball against the bar. From the corner, however, the goalkeeper was blocked off by a couple of his own defenders and, in the scramble, Frendo drove the loose ball into the net from three yards out.
In the second half, Hendon extended their domination and turned the game into a rout. Pickett was denied a clear run on goal in the 49th minute by an offside flag from the assistant referee.
In the 57th minute, Frendo was denied his hat-trick as he took the ball around Byford and was brought crashing to the ground. The assistant referee raised his flag to signal for a penalty, but put it down as soon as Pickett smashed the loose ball into the net.
Three minutes later, Nabil now teasing and tormenting Weeden on Biggleswade's left flank, cut inside the defender and drove the ball against the inside of Byford's right post, but the rebound didn't go Hendon's way.
Nabil, having been denied his first Hendon goal by the right post, got his reward in the 66th minute. He struck a beautiful shot - off the same upright - but this time he got his angles right for the ball to bounce into the net.
Possibly the biggest cheer of the afternoon came in the 68th minute when Mark Burgess drove the ball into the net for Hendon's fifth goal. Between him and twin brother James, the Burgess boys were making their 202nd appearance for Hendon's first team and that was the first goal either of them had scored.
Frendo, meanwhile, could only celebrate the completion of his hat-trick on the pitch for a few seconds because he was replaced by Kieran Gallagher before play could resume in the 73rd minute.
Andy Judge and Iain Duncan also came on - for James Burgess and Parker, respectively - as Hendon coasted to the final whistle.
There will be many tougher battles to fight in the FA Cup if Hendon are to achieve their goal of a first-round proper appearance, but this was a perfect start.
The two benches had very different reactions to the afternoon's events. Biggleswade's coaching staff were desperately disappointed because they felt their team had frozen and failed to perform. They also admitted that if they had played to their potential, they would still have lost 2-0.
Gary McCann, meanwhile, could not have been much happier. The Hendon boss said, "This was a good professional performance from minute one to minute 90. We showed them respect - as we do to all our opponents - but we also did our job right."