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Hendon completed their first Ryman League Premier Division double of the season and opened a gap of 21 points between them and the vanquished Redbridge. Just as in the reverse fixture, Hendon's lead was given to them by a player making his debut.
Marc Leach returned to Hendon, resuming his loan deal from before Christmas, and he stepped in to replace injured Rene Street. There were two other changes to the line-up which had lost to Northwood in the Middlesex Cup on Tuesday: suspended and injured Iain Duncan made way for Danny Murphy, who played on the left side, with Danny Julienne going to right wing-back and Jeff Campbell from left wing-back to central midfield. The new boy was big, bustling striker Darren Watson, a straight replacement for the departed John Frendo.
Little of note happened in the opening 20 minutes as Redbridge went looking for their third victory of the season and Hendon settled down with their changed team. In the 28th minute, there was a most unfortunate incident just inside the Redbridge penalty area. A half-cleared ball was dropping towards Matty West, but Watson felt he could win the header.
He got to the ball first and won a clean header. West was admittedly unprotected as he leapt for the ball and Watson certainly made contact after he had won the ball, leaving the midfielder in no condition to continue. There was certainly no malice in the challenge but the referee seemed to confuse determination to win a challenge and foul play, because he cautioned the striker who was a little bemused.
The first two shots on target came in the 34th and 35th minutes. First Ian Luck took advantage of a slip from Mark Cooper to run at the Hendon goal but his low shot was easily saved by Dave King. Blaise O'Brien then latched onto a pass from James Burgess to have the chance of a shot. This was saved by a sprawling Richard Wray.
The opening goal came four minutes later. Liam Baptiste got caught in possession on the edge of his penalty area and Watson wasted little time in dispossessing him. Wray, left hopelessly exposed came off his line, but showed too much of the goal to Watson, who slipped the ball into the net.
Three minutes later, Andy Cook almost doubled the lead when he floated a header inches beyond the angle of crossbar and far post. Wray was beaten by the effort, though Cook would almost certainly have set up the simplest of chances for Blaise O'Brien if he had headed the ball across the six yard box.
It took Hendon all of 90 seconds of the second half to double their advantage. Watson tussled for a ball with Andrew Julius near to the goalline, just inside the Redbridge penalty area. Although he was less than 15 yards from the incident the assistant referee awarded a corner, when a goal kick was the correct decision. Campbell took the corner and Cooper arrived unchallenged to send a powerful header into the net from eight yards.
From then on, in reality, it was a matter of how many more Hendon would score. Redbridge had two long-range shots on target, from Mitchell Hahn and Leon Antoine respectively, but both were drived straight into King's midriff. They also managed to put three other attempts high over the bar.
O'Brien was denied a goal he desperately needs for his confidence when put through on goal. Rather than lifting the ball over the goalkeeper, he tried to roll the ball into the net and Wray made a fine save. The goalkeeper made an even better stop when Dave Hunt, who had replaced the tiring Watson, jinked his way past four defenders, but the goalkeeper was more than equal to his powerful shot.
"This was a massive game for the club," said manager Gary McCann, "and a massive result too. It is one we can back up and take into next week and our next two away league games."