Hendon slipped to a hugely disappointing 3-0 defeat against a fast and direct Heybridge Swifts team at Scraley Road on Saturday. Any impetus from the previous weekend's comfortable victory in the FA Cup was quickly lost in a performance that never looked like being good enough to achieve a result.
Although the starting eleven remained unchanged, the bench was much altered, with Dave Hunt returning to the club following a brief and unhappy spell at Enfield, fit-again Belal Aiteouakrim and Danny Julienne joining Kieran Gallagher and Iain Duncan.
A couple of early long balls down the middle from Heybridge, aimed for Sean Marks and Cliff Akurang, were overhit, but there were clear signs that the Hendon defence was creaking under pressure.
However, in the 22nd minute, a super passing move resulted in a chance falling to Youness Nabil, but his shot flew just wide of Paul Nicholls' right post with the goalkeeper beaten.
Six minutes later, Hendon were opened up down their left flank and when the ball was crossed into the penalty area, no one was able to block Akurang, who had the simplest of chances to open the scoring.
A terrible miss by Adam Gillespie in the 35th minute meant that Swifts went into half-time with only a one-goal advantage. A free-kick from Mark Janney was well saved by Dave King, but Gillespie only had to keep his effort down to score. Instead he lifted the ball yards over the bar from about six yards out.
The only other chance or half-chance for the Greens fell to Ross Pickett, but he could not keep the ball down, when a misplaced clearance bounced to him.
If Hendon had been half-way competitive in the first half, then they were overrun in the second. After 58 minutes, Heybridge put together a superb passing move that ended with a powerful drive from Marks flying into the net.
Two minutes later, Nicholls took a goal-kick from the left side of the six-yard box and picked out Janney 65 yards away, on the right wing. With nobody particularly close to him, Janney controlled the ball and went down the flank. Two touches later he crossed to the far post, where an again unmarked Akurang was able to pick his spot.
Hendon rapidly brought on Aiteouakrim and Julienne, replacing James Burgess and Pickett, neither of whom had been able to do a great deal. The two substitutes gave a little urgency to the Greens, but they were playing a Swifts team now in the comfort zone and playing at about half-pace.
Both Aiteouakrim and John Frendo had half-chances in the last ten minutes, but their efforts were just off target.
"We were mediocre in the first half and poor in the second half," stormed furious Hendon manager Gary McCann. "And mediocre and poor in a football match isn't going to get you anything very often. We simply were not good enough."