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Hendon completed their preseason programme with an eventually comfortable and quite stylish victory over Ryman League Second Division Chertsey Town at Alwyns Lane on Saturday. Apart from the opening 15 minutes, there was never any doubt about the Premier Division Greens' superiority, but, worryingly, it took more than an hour to break down the Curfews' stubborn defence.
Steve McGrath made a welcome return at the heart of the Hendon defence, partnering club skipper RenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© Street and although it took them a while to reacquaint themselves, once they had done so, the back line looked very solid.
In the first 15 minutes, former Hendon player James Morrison forced an excellent save out of Dave King and John Pomroy fired wastefully over as the defensive uncertainties from Tuesday night's defeat against Kingsbury reappeared.
At Silver Jubilee Park, a 45th minute strike from Kenny David had been enough for the Kings to record a surprise and not undeserved victory over Hendon. Kingsbury had ridden their luck in the second half, but HendonÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½s performance had been very patchy.
However, Hendon gradually began to exert control over Chertsey, using the overlapping runs of Iain Duncan to cause problems in the home defence. Danny Cooper produced a magnificent save to deny Eugene Ofori from one cross and, a few minutes later, John Frendo beat Danny Cooper, but a desperate block by George Helsdown deflected the ball away for a corner.
Just before half-time, Kieran Gallagher curled a 25-yard shot inches over the angle of post and crossbar with Cooper unable to get close to the ball. Gallagher also came close to scoring just after the break when he whipped in a corner that bounced off the top of the bar and out of the ground.
Hendon made their first changes after 58 minutes, James Burgess and Danny Julienne replacing Andy Judge and Danny O'Sullivan. Chertsey replaced Cooper with Charlie Stallard between the posts and one of his first tasks was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after a superb team goal.
It started with James Burgess intercepting a Steve Baker pass. He passed to Julienne, who immediately fed Ofori. The striker looked up and sent wing-back Danny Murphy on his way down the left flank. Murphy's low cross was swept into the net by Frendo.
Almost immediately, Youness Nabil and triallist Bilal Aiteouakrim took over from Ofori and Murphy. And Aiteouakrim's first involvement in a Hendon shirt was to double the advantage, running onto an astute pass from Frendo.
In the 75th minute, both Mark and James Burgess had shots blocked following a corner and, 90 seconds later, McGrath somehow contrived to lift the ball over the Chertsey bar from less than six yards out. His "punishment" was to be replaced by Billy Matthews, while James Parker came on for Street.
With 12 minutes to go, Hendon completed the scoring and it was another spectacular effort. It arrived following another left-wing cross, this time from Nabil and Frendo's volleyed scissors-kick, from around the penalty spot, gave Stallard no chance.
"I was not satisfied with the first half," admitted manager Gary McCann. "But the second half was really pleasing.
"We will create chances, but the important thing is that we take them. That has been a concern this preseason."