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Hendon's disappointing and worrying losing run came to an end at Vale Farm on Tuesday night as the Greens picked up a well-deserved point against Ryman League Premier Division playoff contenders Lowestoft Town. The 1-1 draw, if hardly revenge for the 801 beating administered at Crown Meadow a few weeks ago, was at least a matter of honour being restored.
After his excellent 45 minutes at Sutton, James Burgess was given a start and both Kevin Maclaren and Lubomir Guentchev were also restored to the 11, Michael Peacock, Aaron Morgan and Danny Dyer all dropping out.
The Greens gave little indication of a lack of confidence in the opening exchanges and really should have taken the lead inside five minutes. A clever through ball invited Greg Ngoyi to run into the penalty area and he took the ball around goalkeeper Andy Reynolds.
The Trawlerboys goalkeeper, however, did enough to force Ngoyi wide. With a couple of defenders racing back to cover on the goalline, Ngoyi didn't really have time or the angle to take a couple of touches before shooting and, his attempt to hit the target failed narrowly, the ball going into the side-netting.
Six minutes later, he thought he had another chance to extend the lead, but an offside flag denied him the opportunity to make amends.
However, Hendon were not to be denied in the 17th minute. Guentchev, who as a teenager played a handful of matches for Lowestoft when he was attached to Ipswich Town and they were still in the Eastern Counties League, was the wall for Belal Aite-Ouakrim's fast-paced one-two and it gave Aite-Ouakrim a clear run at goal.
Reynolds was again quickly off his line, but this time he was beaten by the early strike from Aite-Ouakrim, the ball nestling just inside the far post. It was no more than Hendon deserved for their enterprising play.
Another offside decision stopped Ngoyi in his tracks a couple of minutes later, but the next notable moment came at the other end. Casey Maclaren attempted to find Scott Cousins, but Adrian Forbes intercepted the pass and would have had a clear 40-yard run at goal, had he not been upended by Maclaren.
The referee took into account the distance from the Hendon goal, the fact that the ball went quickly to the Greens goalkeeper Nick Morgan and James Parker coming across to cover and ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to dismiss Maclaren for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity - a decision the Hendon bench felt was very lenient.
Morgan made one very good save, low down, to keep out a shot from Joe Francis and Michael Frew should have done better for Lowestoft when a good chance presented itself after 38 minutes, but he fired high over the crossbar. But these were rare incursions into the penalty area for the Trawlerboys and Hendon went into the half-time interval good value for their advantage.
The second half was a different story. Lowestoft came out with all guns blazing and the Hendon defence was forced to answer some probing questions. Dave Diedhiou had an excellent game keeping the dangerous Francis quiet, while Cousins did likewise against Scott Mitchell and Casey Maclaren, Parker and Burgess dealt with raids down the middle.
When they were breached, Morgan used his giant frame to good effect to make a couple of good low saves. More worryingly was the spate of free-kicks and yellow cards against Hendon players in the first few minutes of the half. As a result, Hendon couldn't do much attacking of their own, or even enjoy any possession in the Lowestoft half.
When they did finally set up an opening, the Greens were awarded a free-kick down their right wing. The ball was played into the penalty area but was cleared by Greg Crane, the tallest of the Lowestoft central defenders.
Lurking on the edge of the penalty area was Jamie Busby, who fired a powerful drive at goal. Crane got his leg to the ball and - typical of the lack of luck that Hendon have had over the past few weeks, the deflection not only sent the ball closer to Reynolds, it slowed down the shot significantly and the goalkeeper was not unduly troubled in making the save.
Eventually the Lowestoft pressure told. In the 69th minute, they were awarded a free-kick 15 yards from the Hendon penalty area. The ball was played into the penalty area, where no green-shirted player could effect a proper clearance and when the ball was returned to the danger area, Francis got behind the Hendon defence and shot past Morgan for the equaliser.
In recent matches, conceding a goal in this fashion would have been the prelude for another goal or two in quick succession, but not on this evening. Hendon knuckled down and although they weren't playing the expansive football of the first half of the season - or the match - they were much more solid defensively and Lowestoft were not afforded the time or space to rain in shots or crosses.
Ngoyi, whose running and energy was outstanding all night long, could have been the Hendon hero in the 81st minute. Released down the middle, he ran at Reynolds, who tried the narrow the angle. The striker, like Aite-Ouakrim in the first half, shot early, but Ngoyi was aghast to watch ball pass inches the wrong side of the far post.
Four minutes later, Hendon were awarded another free-kick in a dangerous position. The ball was delivered perfectly for Casey Maclaren, who powered a header goalwards, but straight at the well-positioned Reynolds who made a comfortable save.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Jamie Forshaw replaced Forbes. It was the only substitution made by either side in the match - only the third or fourth occasion in Gary McCann's six-plus years in charge (the second this season) that he has not made a single substitution.
McCann said, "That ends our terrible run of results. I thought we stood up and were counted were tonight.
"The way we played tonight you couldnâ€™t tell that we were in a disastrous run of form. Our passing was good and we looked very solid at the back. We certainly deserved the point and may even have won the game."