Hendon's last home game of 2005 ended just as the first one did, with a defeat, but while the Greens could point to a mixture of misfortune, missed chances and naivety, Margate eventually deserved their victory.
There were again a number of changes to the Greens' starting line-up: Sean Thomas, Danny Murphy and Ben Hudell coming in for Dave King, James Parker and Jeff Campbell, the latter two who were on the bench.
The game started very brightly with both teams showing good attacking instincts. In the seventh minute, Margate's Charlie Taylor overhit a lob with the goal gaping.
Hendon's misfortune really came in a ten-minute spell just before the game's quarter point. Firstly, after 12 minutes, Blaise O'Brien drilled a powerful shot from just outside the Margate penalty area. It was too powerful for Charlie Mitten, who allowed the ball to bounce past him.
The ball was on its way into the net when Ricci Crace made absolutely certain. Unfortunately for Hendon, he was in an offside position when the ball was struck by O'Brien.
Three minutes later, Andy Cook won a header from a Hudell corner and Mitten did well to get a hand to the ball to touch it onto the post, from where it bounced away to safety.
In the 18th minute, Hudell and Murphy combined well on the left side and when Hudell received a short pass from Murphy, he looked up and struck a dipping, drive just inside the angle of post and crossbar. Again, however, the assistant referee's flag was up for offside and although the whistle blew very quickly, the early strike, plus its power and precision would almost certainly have beaten Mitten, who made no attempt to make a save.
Finally, a deep free-kick from Byron Bubb deceived the Margate defence and Cook got around the back to head the ball into the danger area. Unluckily for him, he cushioned the header behind Crace and just too far in front the second line of Hendon attackers.
Almost immediately, Margate, counter-attacking at great pace and with formidable precision, took the lead. Hendon lost possession on the edge of the Margate box and Paul Edwards wasted no time in sending John Keister clear. The former Walsall player found Bertie Brayley, who drove his shot off Thomas's body and into the net.
This goal really knocked back Hendon and they became very disjointed in the 20-plus minutes before half-time. Their cause was certainly not helped by the injury picked up by Mark Cooper, the skipper being replaced by James Parker after 36 minutes.
Another counter-attack almost brought Margate a second goal. Dithering defending set up Dean Standen who rocketed a shot off the crossbar and away to safety.
The half-time team-talk in the Hendon dressing room had the desired effect because the Greens were back on level terms after just 48 minutes. Margate failed to clear their lines effectively and when Hudell looked up, he spotted Mitten off his line. His lob from almost 40 yards' range could not have been much better as the ball bounced over the goalkeeper and into the roof of the net.
Conceding a goal had the same effect on Margate as it had on Hendon in the first half and the Greens enjoyed another spell of dominance. Crace felt he should have had a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Osman Sesay, but contact looked minimal.
All too often, however, moves broke down or foundered on bad decisions or delivery in an around the danger area. Gradually Margate recovered their composure and, with 15 minutes to go, as both teams made substitutions, it was becoming more and more likely that the next goal would be the winner.
That proved to be the case in the 82nd minute. Margate substitute Gavin McGowan teased Murphy on the edge of the Hendon penalty area, stepped inside the box and waited for the challenge. The youngster naively lunged at the ball, felling McGowan in the process.
Referee Mr Paul Forrester had little option but to point at the penalty spot and BRAYLEY did the rest, driving home the spot-kick with vicious certainty to secure the points for the visitors.