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Hendon had an afternoon to forget at the Brockwell Stadium, Canvey Island, on Saturday afternoon, losing the match 4â€“1 and having three players dismissed.
Kevin Maclaren was dismissed for two yellow cards, the first of which could be considered a little harsh, but the two dismissals shown to Daniel Sintim and Michael Peacock were controversial.
The Greens named an unchanged starting 11, and the only two changes to the 16 which won at Aveley were on the bench, Aaron Morgan and Under-18s player Bradley Ambrose taking the places of James Parker and Danny Dyer.
Canvey Islandâ€™s groundsman deserves a huge amount of credit for preparing such a good surface. He had worked on it for seven hours on the morning of the game, but he could do nothing about the wind, which was forecast to be gusting at 40mph during the game and it made the match something of a lottery.
Hendon had the wind at their backs in the first half and didn't really use it well. Too many passes were overhit and Greg Ngoyi and Belal Aite-Ouakrim were given little service. That said, it was the Greens who took the lead after 16 minutes, courtesy of a penalty decision.
A ball into the penalty area bounced higher than John Easterford expected. His miscontrol was only slight, but it was enough for Ngoyi to take the ball off his toe and Easterford, in attempting to get a second touch, managed only to trip the Hendon man, who fell on the defender's leg.
Easterford lay on the ground in discomfort as the referee pointed to the penalty spot and while a number of Canvey outfielders disputed the decision, goalkeeper James Russell told them that the referee's call was spot on. It was a complete accident, but it was a foul inside the penalty area.
Once Easterford had been helped from the pitch - fortunately he was able to return to the pitch a minute or so later and didn't seem unduly inconvenienced thereafter â€“ Jamie Bubsy took the spot kick and sent Russell the wrong way with a very confident strike.
The wind certainly was troublesome for the Hendon defence, especially for Sintim, whose a misplaced clearance looped towards his own goal and his blushes were saved by a retreating Berkley Laurencin. The goalkeeper himself had a couple of awkward moments in the first half, but none as painful as the one suffered by Jonathan Coke.
He appeared to be elbowed off the ball by Danny Heale, an incident not seen by the referee. However, he spoke to his assistant, who must have seen something because Heale was immediately shown a yellow card. Of the four options open to the referee, he made the only wrong one: if the assistant saw a deliberate elbow, it had to be a red card; if it was an accident, then there should have been no card at all; if there had been no contact, Coke should have been cautioned.
The referee had no hesitation about the next incident, the penalty which changed the game. A free kick from Matt Game was floating into the wind towards the Hendon penalty area. Easterford got in front of Sintim and was trying to reach the ball when he was pushed in the back. There is no question about the penalty decision â€“ it was correctly awarded.
Despite the fact that Easterford was some yards from the ball, which was holding up in the wind, the referee ruled that Sintim had denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity, and Sintim was banished from the field. Robbie King drove the penalty down the middle, past the dive of Laurencin for the equaliser.
With no natural central defender on the bench, Hendon elected to move Casey Maclaren into the centre-back role and not change the remaining personnel. The Greens, however, still failed to make good use of the wind, which showed no signs of abating or swinging to another direction.
Late in the first half, Chris Moore, the tough centre half who has made life miserable for strikers around the Ryman League for almost a decade tangled with Ngoyi. He appeared to strike the Hendon man, but the referee, who saw something, saw fit to deliver only a lecture.
When the half-time whistle went, the feeling among the Hendon faithful was that it would require a magnificent second half performance for any points to be won. Before play resumed, Hendon replaced Lubomir Guentchev and Ngoyi with Eddie Munnelly and Aaron Morgan, respectively.
Morgan soon had a great chance to restore the Hendon lead when he was put through by Aite-Ouakrim. He took a touch too many, allowing Russell to narrow the angle, and then fired the ball into the side-netting.
A bad afternoon went horribly wrong over the next seven minutes. First a cross from Alex Rhodes picked out an unmarked Jay Curran, well inside the penalty area. He hit the ball, first time and directed it past the exposed Laurencin.
Kevin Maclaren then was a tad late in attempted block of a clearance from Frank Everett and received a second yellow card. Having been cautioned for a foul in the first half, it was a challenge that did not need to be made - it was 10 yards from the Canvey penalty area - and the referee was left with no option but to send Maclaren off.
With nine men, kicking into the wind, Hendon moved into damage limitation mode. The Gulls had a number of chances to extend their lead, but they were profligate in front of goal. They should, however, have had a second penalty â€“ and the other Maclaren probably dismissed â€“ when Curran appeared to be pushed in the back as he rose to meet another Rhodes cross.
The Hendon contingent were rather relieved, and the Canvey contingent rather shocked, when Curran was cautioned for simulation.
Shortly afterwards, the Greens were down to eight men. Curran was given a clear sight of goal, having managed to get goalside of Peacock, and he unleashed a powerful shot moments before Peacock clattered into him. Despite the fact Curran had got a shot away, the referee ruled that Peacock had denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity, and he joined Sintim and the younger Maclaren brother in the dressing room.
To pour salt on the already gaping wound, Heale drove the free-kick past the wall and Laurencin, finding the net just inside the left post.
To Canvey's credit they could have piled on the agony for Hendon. Instead, they withdrew Curran and Heale, as well as Easterford, while the Greens brought on James Burgess to shore up the under-manned rearguard - Aite-Ouakrim the man sacrificed.
As the game moved into stoppage time, Canvey added a fourth goal when substitutes Hussein Isa and Leon Gordon combined for the latter to register as his shot hit the inside of the post and bounced into the net.
After the match, Gary McCann made the following observation, "I just donâ€™t know what to say." It was something that every Hendon person at the Brockwell Stadium could sympathise with. He did say, a couple of days later, that he was proud of the way that the team kept their discipline in the face of all the things that went against them.