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Hendon's annual futile trip to the Longmead Stadium, Tonbridge, produced the usual result, a defeat, the Greens' third in a row to start 2011. Hendon stayed 13th in the Ryman League Premier Division, and they still have games in hand on all of the teams above them other than Lowestoft Town.
The Angels' 2-1 victory did have a couple of albeit ghoulish good points: not only did Hendon complete the match with all 11 players on the pitch, none of the team ended up either in, or on their way to hospital.
That said, the Greens have yet to pick up even a single point in away Ryman League Premier Division matches against Tonbridge, stretching back to the 2004-05 season (with a two-year hiatus when the Angels were in Division One South). Indeed the only time Hendon have not lost on a trip to Tonbridge was in autumn 1950, when the Greens earned a 0-0 FA Cup qualifying round draw - only to lose the replay at Claremont Road!
Hendon made one enforced change from Saturday's defeat against Canvey Island, on loan centre-half Daniel Sintim (a 20-year-old at Blue Square Bet South division Woking) replacing the stricken Craig Vargas.
The Greens made an excellent start and created a number of openings. In addition, Lubomir Guentchev tried his luck from close to the half-way line, but his was sadly well off target.
In the tenth minute, Hendon deserved took the lead, although there was a touch of good fortune in the build-up. Angels skipper Scott Gooding, who has missed most of the season with a long-term knee injury went down when his studs caught in the turf and Hendon gained possession. The Greens were completely unaware of Gooding's distress as the ball was played into Belal Aite-Ouakrim, who fired the ball past Lee Worgan.
Before play could restart, Gooding was taken off on a stretcher, the whole crowd hoping that this was not a major recurrence of the midfielder's knee problems. Ben Judge replaced Gooding.
Goalscorer Aite-Ouakrim had far too much about him for the home defence, but it was not a night he will remember with much fondness. Although he scored the Hendon goal, he was guilty of wasting around half a dozen more than presentable chances, three of which came in the opening half hour.
It took almost 20 minutes for Tonbridge to apply any pressure on the Hendon goal and then a free kick from Danny Walder was easily gathered by James Reading before Ade Olorunda get to it.
In the 28th minute, an error of judgement from Reading gifted Tonbridge an equaliser. He came for a ball going towards the penalty area but failed to deal with and denied both Michael Peacock and Scott Cousins, both better placed, to do so. The ball fell at the feet of Olorunda and the former Hastings striker slapped the ball into the almost unguarded net.
The remainder of the first half was more equal and both teams had half-chances to add to their totals but didn't take them. First Aite-Ouakrim fired wide from a great position, then, just before the whistle, Reading partly atoned for his earlier error by saving well with his legs from Frannie Collin and Olorunda was just too far forward to get onto the rebound.
Nine minutes into the second a drive from Walden was well saved by Reading and, almost immediately, the ball broke to the other end where Jamie Busby had a good shooting chance. He was, unfortunately, off target with his effort and the home fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
In the 60th minute, Guentchev delivered an inch-perfect pass into the path of the sprinting Aite-Ouakrim. The striker fired a fierce drive which beat Worgan all ends up, but the ball fizzed inches the wrong side of the post.
It proved to be a costly miss because, in the 72nd minute, a throw-in towards to Collin was controlled by the former Dover striker. He tried to turn past Peacock, but was brought down. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and Collin, one of the most prolific marksmen from 12 yards, made no mistake, sending Reading the wrong way.
Four minutes later, Chris Piper set up Jay May just beyond the far post, but May attempted to steer the ball into the net with his foot raised high, rather than his head, and couldn't direct the ball on target.
With a little more than ten minutes remaining, Hendon showed their intent to get back into the game by withdrawing both Eddie Munnelly and James Burgess and introducing Danny Dyer and Glenn Garner, respectively.
Three minutes later, Aite-Ouakrim was set up for a one-on-one with Worgan by Lee O'Leary, but the goalkeeper came out on top. Reading then made a an excellent block to deny Piper, and did even better to repel the rebound which was propelled goalwards by Angels substitute Lewis Taylor (who had replaced Olorunda midway through the half).
Continuing the game's end-to-end nature, Garner had a chance to snatch a deserved equaliser, but he put his shot wide into the side-netting.
Three minutes from the end, the hard-working Aaron Morgan made way for Brian Haule, but the tall striker didn't really have long enough to make an impression.
In a time-wasting move, Piper went off for Tonbridge, and he was replaced by Scott Kinch. The last action saw Reading make another save, this time from Lee Browning, who had been set up by Collin.
"Of our three defeats, this one had the most plus points," said Hendon manager Gary McCann. "We played really well tonight and, for half an hour, our passing and approach was as good as it can be.
"Unfortunately, our finishing was not so good. On another night Belal might have had a double hat-trick and Jamie Busby a hat-trick. The two goals we conceded, however, were again disappointing. The penalty was soft, but we didn't need to make the challenge to concede it and the decision was the correct one."