Hendon remain in 19th place after they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Ryman League Premier Division leaders Hampton & Richmond Borough at The Beveree on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Cooper and RenÃƒÂ© Street were both missing after picking up injuries in the previous week's FA Trophy defeat against Fisher, while Ricci Crace was fit to return in place of the unavailable Craig Hughes. It resulted in a reshuffled formation, with Mark Burgess playing behind James Parker and Marc Leach, with Iain Duncan and Danny Murphy wing-backs.
Early in the game, Hampton began to put the Hendon defence under considerable pressure, but without ever unduly testing Dave King. After 22 minutes, Danny Julienne appeared to win a tackle cleanly but was again penalised and received a caution. The free-kick was cleared to the left side of the Hendon penalty area and the ball was then knocked downfield.
Unfortunately for the Greens, a Hampton player threw himself in front of the clearance and the ball rebounded from him into the path of Steve Sodje, who wasted little time in shooting past King despite appearing to be several yards offside. In the ensuing arguments, two more Hendon players were cautioned.
The closest Hendon came to a goal was in the 34th minute, when Ricci Crace nipped in front of Rob Paris but his shot was too close and lacked the power to beat Matt Lovett. In first half stoppage time, Julienne was set up by a fine pass from Jeff Campbell, but he dallied too long and was dispossessed by Graham Harper.
Given the fine line Julienne was treading maybe it would have been better if he had been replaced at half-time. The management team admitted later that they had given it no consideration. It was to prove costly for the player and team, because in the 59th minute, Julienne brought down Kelvin McIntosh and was dismissed for his second yellow card offence.
Hendon had almost drawn level in the opening seconds of the second half when John Frendo had beaten Lovett with a powerful angled drive, but the ball flew inches wide of the far post.
Down to ten men, and still reorganising, Hendon conceded a second goal two minutes after Julienne's departure, Lawrence Yaku finding a big hole in the Hendon defence and scoring with a neat header.
This was the signal for Hendon to enjoy their best spell of the game and whilst the pressure on the Hampton defence could hardly be described as incessant, a goal was certainly deserved. It arrived in the 72nd minute after a free-kick by Leach deflected off the wall and Frendo, taking advantage of Sodje idling by the far post, nipped into space to head past the exposed Lovett.
Hendon couldn't find an equaliser and, following a quick break, Yaku bagged his second goal of the afternoon in the 83rd minute with another close-range header. It proved to be the telling blow and the game petered out tamely.