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Hendon, exhausted from their efforts in the past week were made to pay by a Cray Wanderers team at Hayes Lane, Bromley FC, on Saturday. The final score of 3-1 was a fair reflection of the way the game had gone, but for 30 minutes in the second half the match was in the balance.
Rakatahr Hudson was given a starting role, his 100th appearance for the Greens, while a first career start went to Bradley Ambrose. James Burgess and Aaron Morgan were the players to make way, both taking places on the subs' bench.
Cray attacked Hendon early in the match, but the Greens defence seemed quite solid. That, sadly, changed around the quarter-hour mark.
In the 14th minute, a diagonal ball into the penalty area found space. James Reading called away, so James Parker went across to deal with the danger. However, just before he reached the ball, Reading called for the ball instead, so Parker moved aside.
Unfortunately, the goalkeeper was still four strides from the ball, while Leigh Bremner was just three. It was the Cray man who got to the ball first and although Reading made up most of the deficit, he was unable to stop Bremner guiding the ball into the net.
Four minutes later, a ghastly error on the edge of the Hendon penalty area, gifted Danny Phillips the chance for a tap-in for goal number two. Amazingly, aided by a small bobble, Phillips fired wide of the target.
In the 21st minute, Hendon should have been awarded a penalty when Kevin Maclaren jumped to reach a ball crossed in from the left wing. Chris Saunders was a couple of steps away and, as Maclaren leapt, he appeared to be barged in the back. The referee, seemingly well positioned decided it was not a foul.
Three minutes later, good work from Greg Ngoyi down the left side saw him deliver a deep cross beyond the far post. Saunders tried to deal with it, but could not get there, nor could ex Hendon keeper Dave King
Dave Diedhiou, however, arrived at the far post, timing his run perfectly and he looped a header over King. The ball was dipping just under the crossbar, but was cleared off the line by the covering John Guest.
It proved a turning point, because the Hendon defence switched off in the 26th minute and when a seemingly harmless ball went into their box, no green-shirted man reacted. Laurent Hamici, however, did and he drilled a shot into the net to double the Cray lead.
From the kick-off, Hendon lost possession and another great Cray chance was wasted, the ball being fired wide by Phillips.
Hendon were grateful to reach half-time trailing by only two goals. A more confident and efficient strike force would have at least doubled the Greens' misery and the match would have been over as a contest.
Barkley Miguel Panzo replaced the exhausted Diedhiou at half-time, while Cray replaced Ross Lover with Tasser Hussain. Hendon also changed their formation, with Eddie Munnelly reverting to his more comfortable right-back role.
The changes certainly had the desired effect, because Hendon were far more competitive in the second half. Although Miguel Panzo and Ambrose probed eagerly deep, Ngoyi struggled to get good possession and Hendon looked more dangerous attacking from deeper positions.
Eleven minutes after the resumption, James Burgess came on for the tiring Hudson to shore up the midfield. And, within in a couple of minutes, Hendon had scored.
It was one of the Greens' trademark passing movements that got them back into the game. The Cray defence was forced deep and when the ball was laid back to the edge of the penalty area, arriving late, Kevin Maclaren controlled it and drilled a powerful shot past King.
Cray were distinctly alarmed to concede, but their defence tightened up and they forced Ambrose and Miguel Panzo to bring the ball from even deeper and the sheer weight of defensive numbers crowded out the youngsters.
In the 75th minute, Cray really should have extended their lead when an attack down their left flank opened up the Hendon defence. When the ball was squared to Hamici, he had a tap-in for his second goal, but he somehow lifted the ball over the bar from just a couple of yards out.
Hendon's response was to introduce Blloku for his debut - the second Albanian to appear for the Greens - at the expense of Ambrose. He made a couple of good runs from deep midfield positions, but the end product was lacking.
In the 85th minute Cray made the game safe. Hamici made his way into the penalty area, was tripped by Kevin Maclaren and although he rather scuffed his spot-kick, Reading dived over the ball as it rolled towards the line.
"We were playing on empty today," said Hendon manager Gary McCann.
"I am disappointed that we lost, but it has been a mammoth effort for the players with this being our fourth match in a week. Most of the team have played in all four games and they came up a bit short today."