Hendon slipped into the tenth and final relegation spot after a second-half horror show saw an interval lead turned into a comprehensive defeat at Bromley on Saturday afternoon. Compounding the misery was an injury to James Parker which saw him stretchered from the field and taken to hospital in an ambulance.
The starting eleven remained unchanged, although Jimmy Froud did make his return to the club, after a spell at Hillingdon Borough, on the substitutes bench.
Bromley started very well and could have been two goals to the good inside the opening five minutes. The first chance came from a left-wing Des Boateng cross which Sam Wood somehow fired back across the face of the goal. Gary Drewett then failed to hit the target from close range.
After about 15 minutes, Hendon began to find their feet and, for the next 30 minutes, totally dominated - apart from a defensive back-header which came off the top of the crossbar and went out for a corner. Banks was struggling desperately to reach the ball and he may have helped it against the goalframe.
In the 21st minute, Blaise O'Brien set up Dave Hunt with a shot at goal, but the midfielder failed to hit the target. O'Brien, Andy Cook and Hunt were all guilty of taking too many touches in excellent positions and the front-line's unwillingness to even risk a shot at goal was deeply frustrating.
In the 31st minute, Marc Leach latched onto a loose clearance and, after three touches, finally got off a shot that took a deflection into O'Brien's path. His shot was slowed by Andy Walker and Colin Luckett completed the clearance a foot from the goalline.
Mark Cooper should have extended the lead two minutes later when he had a clear shot at goal from ten yards out, albeit at an angle. Going for power rather than precision, the ball flew high and wide of the target.
Hendon finally broke the deadlock in the 37th minute. Jeff Campbell was the instigator with another incisive attack down the left flank. He found O'Brien, whose shot was almost certainly going in, but Ross Pickett, got in front of Donal O'Sullivan to make absolutely certain the defender didn't clear the ball and he bundled it over the line.
All the good work of the first half was undone inside 90 seconds of the second half. There had already been indications that Bromley were upping the tempo and when Adrian Stone controlled a throw-in with his back to goal and a defender in close proximity, he showed what a striker with confidence would do. Stone shimmied one way, went the other, turning as he did so and then fired a left-foot shot that Banks could only parry into the far corner of the goal.
From then on, there was only going to be one winner and they weren't wearing green and white. The midfield, disappeared, save for one Charlie Mapes shot which was deflected slowly into the waiting arms of Walker, and the strikers were left hopelessly isolated.
From a rare cross Pickett rose for the ball with Walker and the keeper came down clutching his head, bleeding from a wound near to his right eye and steaming that he had been elbowed. The reality was that he had actually jumped towards Pickett and the pair, both looking at the ball, collided in mid-air with the keeper coming off worse. The referee did speak to the Hendon player but only to confirm to him that, in his eyes, there had been no malice intended.
Sadly, within a couple of minutes, Hendon lost defender Parker in nasty circumstances. He was attempting to clear the ball when his foot stuck in the mud and his leg continued on. Parker collapsed to the ground in agony and Bromley gave up a scoring opportunity to sportingly put the ball out of play. His ankle swelling immediately, Parker was taken on the pitch on a stretcher and within half an hour was in an ambulance on his way to hospital for x-rays on a possible broken ankle or ligament damage.
Jamie Busby came on, with Pickett dropping back into defence. It was not a successful change because Bromley soon added two more goals in quick succession and could have had a hatful more. First Wood was able to get past three defenders before crossing to Nic McDonell, who planted a header beyond Banks.
That was after 70 minutes, almost immediately, Simon Mitchell replaced Stone for Bromley and he got his name on the scoresheet within 90 seconds of coming on. Two defenders failed to deal with Alan McLeod's diagonal ball that eventually released McDonnell in a one-on-one with Banks.
The goalkeeper did enough to slow McDonnell down and allow Cooper to make a fine challenge. Unfortunately as the ball bounced around in the penalty area, a Hendon clearance bounced off Banks into the path of Mitchell, who had an empty goal to aim at.
Bromley now looked likely to score every time they attacked, but they lacked the clinical finish necessary. At the other end, Hendon did have two half-chances, both of which fell to substitute Danny Edwards, but the youngster dragged both efforts wide of the far post.
"The second half performance was an embarrassment," admitted a furious manager Gary McCann. "We did not start particularly well but, having weathered the storm, in the last half-hour of the first half we could - and should - have been four goals up.
"Even though we were ahead at half-time, I wasn't happy. I felt we had been carrying two players in the first half. In the second half, there were probably seven or eight who weren't good enough and losing Parker was also a big blow.
"We have lost the winning habit and it shows."