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Hendon came away from Margate with a deserved point thanks to a late strike from Jamie Busby. It could very well have been three had chances been taken in the second half of an entertaining encounter at Hartsdown Park.
Gary McCann made three changes to the starting line up that lost at Wealdstone, with John Fletcher, who was making his first start for the club, Casey Maclaren and Danny Dyer replacing Michael Peacock, Kevin Maclaren and Aaron Morgan respectively. The latter three were all on the bench where they joined Glenn Garner and James Burgess.
The match was always close with Margate largely untroubled at the back by the Greens in the opening period, and the home side were a Craig Cloke goal to the good at half time. But from the off in the second period, Hendon upped the tempo; missed a penalty but eventually made Margate pay the price for playing deeper and deeper with a deserved equaliser two minutes from time.
The game opened in entertaining fashion with both sides trying to play decent football on a sticky pitch.
Margate won a corner within the opening minute of the match, then two minutes later sent the ball across the Hendon box but were unable to capitalise on either situation. The first real chance came on seven minutes when Margate turned the ball back into the box from Jamie Rogers' corner but James Pinnock's shot was blocked in the six yard box and the danger cleared.
The Blues had another opportunity to pressurise the Hendon area when Aaron Lacy picked up Tom Bradbrook's good ball out wide and was brought down just outside the right edge of the box; but the free kick was comfortably cleared by the Greens defence. The home side picked up the loose ball, worked it forward again but the resulting shot was just wide of the target.
In the 11th minute the Greens created their first chance when Belal Aite-Ouakrim forced Jamie Turner to parry his volley from a right wing cross behind for a corner. Five minutes later Aite-Ouakrim had another shot but this time it was a weak effort and Turner was not stretched.
Margate responded from Turner's long clearance but the Blues' shot flew over the angle of bar and post. With 18 minutes on the clock Margate built another good move through midfield. Bradbrook sent another good ball out to Lacy on the right. Lacy cut inside, slipped the ball to Bradbrook who in turn found Pinnock. He chipped the ball into the box but it was partially cleared by the defence; only as far as Shaun Welford, who sent his shot over the bar when well placed.
A minute later Hendon attacked again; Aite-Ouakrim seeing his shot deflected over the Margate bar for a corner. From Jamie Busby's cross Margate struggled to clear the danger. The ball was sent back into the area and Turner had to be alert to tip Lee O'Leary's header over the bar for another corner which Margate were able to clear.
On the half hour, Aite-Ouarakrim and O'Leary combined to force Lacy to concede a corner which was clipped in towards the near post. Aite-Ouakrim saw his shot charged down then Busby saw a follow up effort fly over the Margate bar. Three minutes later Busby had another effort on goal and this time Turner couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t hold the ball but Laurence Ball was on hand to clear the immediate danger.
Nine minutes before the half time break, Gate took the lead. From their third corner of the half, Rogers sent the ball to the far post from where skipper Craig Cloke was on hand to turn the ball into the net, just inside the left post.
Margate won the ball back from the re-start, moved forward quickly when Welford found Stubbs on the left. His dangerous looking cross was caught and held by Berkley Laurencin, with blue shirts around him in the box. Just a minute before the break Welford was denied by Laurencin following Lacy's long throw.
Hendon upped the tempo from the off in the second half which eventually paid dividends as Gate seemed to tire towards the end of the match. Nevertheless, while the visitors looked the better side in this period, Margate still had chances on the break.
On 56 minutes Dan Stubbs went on a great run wide on the left, penetrating deep into the Hendon right back area. Pinnock and Rogers were close to getting to Stubbs' cross inside the six yard box but Scott Cousins just beat them to it and cleared.
Hendon went straight down the other end, Aite-Ouakrim setting up Danny Dyer but his shot flew just past the upright.
Margate won their only second half corner on 61 minutes but Lacy's cross was partially cleared. The ball came back into the box for Rogers and Bradbrook but just drifted close enough to Laurencin for the Hendon keeper to claim the ball.
Hendon then won their three second half corners in quick succession; the second requiring Turner to tip the ball over the bar onto the roof of the net.
Bradbrook had sight of goal on 64 minutes but he fired just wide of the post from the edge of the box following Curtis Robinson's throw in.
But as the half progressed, Hendon were seeing more of the ball in the Margate half. John Fletcher played the ball forward for Aite-Ouakrim who forced Turner into making another good save.
With an increasingly rare break, Welford was just beaten to the ball by Laurencin on the 80 minute mark. Five minutes later Gate broke again, this time from a free kick just outside their own area. Welford looked to set up Bradbrook from Turner's long clearance but Cousin's excellent defensive challenge denied Bradbrook when the former Sittingbourne man was well placed.
With nine minutes to go, Margate conceded a penalty. Jamie Busby stepped up to take the spot kick but the Hendon number 11 smashed the ball against the bar and out for a goal kick to the relief of the Margate fans and players. But their relief and Busby's disappointment were to be short-lived.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, the Greens got their equaliser. Busby and O'Leary combined through midfield before playing the ball out to substitute Glenn Garner on the left. Garner crossed the ball into the box for Busby who fired the ball into the top right corner of the Margate net.
Still Margate had a chance to secure all three points when right on the 90 minute mark. Welford played Bradbrook in and he ran at the Hendon defence, made some room for himself and fired goalwards only to see his shot just fly the wrong side of Laurencin's left post.
A minute into added time Hendon might have won it, but the Aite-Ouakrim had a shot that flew agonisingly wide to leave both sides with a point; probably just about the right result.