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Hendon opened their preseason campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Northern Premier League Division One Bishop Auckland in a friendly that celebrated the 50th anninversary of the Dons' first (and the Bishops' 16th) Amateur Cup Final appearance.
The game at Claremont Road attracted an excellent preseason attendance, even if it was a mere 99,860 fewer than the official Wembley attendance back in 1955!!
Mark Burgess, Martin Vrhovski and Kieran Gallagher were three former players back in the Hendon line-up, while there were two new faces in Tony Perfect from Yeading and Kevin Chakaodza from Northwood joining six of last season's team.
It was Bishop Auckland who started the better and Dave King made a fine save to deny Dale Jardine after 21 minutes. King then had to spread himself to beat Mark Sheeran to a low cross from Stuart Irvine. But the Bishops suffered a blow when Andrew Gibson had to replace Ian McGuckin midway through the period, leaving them with just one available replacement.
Somewhat against the run of play, in the 39th minute, Hendon took the lead. Eugene Ofori controlled the ball from a James Burgess pass just inside the Bishop Auckland half. He turned past Tony Hall and spotted Chakaodza running into space.
Ofori's lofted pass cut out Gibson and CHAKAODZA was able to run onto the ball and lift it over the oncoming Marc Riches, who had been left rather exposed.
The second half was pretty much one-way traffic, with the Greens in control. Hendon brought on the first four of their eight substitutes, Gary Meakin, Rob Courtnage, John Frendo and Vrhovski replacing Marvyn Watson, James Parker, Chakaodza and James Burgess, respectively.
It took 63 seconds for Hendon to double their advantage, skipper RenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© STREET firing home from close range after good neat work down the left flank by Gallagher. Danny Julienne, Mark Burgess, Frendo, Ofori and Gallagher all had chances to extend the Greens' lead further, but they failed to find the target with shots.
Billy Matthews, Danny Blanchett, Lamine N'Dour and Del Lewis came on as the half progressed, taking over from Perfect, Gallagher, Ofori and King, respectively, but N'Dour lasted only a few minutes before he strained a hamstring and Perfect returned.
It proved to be an inspired choice of personnel by manager Gary McCann to send on PERFECT because within a couple of minutes of returning to the fray, he had fired a shot just inside Riches' right post, although the goalkeeper wasnÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½t helped by a call from Hall, shouting that the shot was going wide!