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Hendon eventually turned their domination into goals and saw off a determined challenge from Cheshunt to reach the second qualifying round of the e.on-sponsored FA Cup. The Greens scored three times in a five-minute spell just before the hour mark to ensure there were no slip-ups on a potential banana-skin tie.
Indeed, the final score of 4-1 at Vale Farm on Sunday afternoon probably reflected the balance of play, but there were times when the Ambers made Hendon'Â™s ride distinctly bumpy. The Greens' reward is another home tie, also against Ryman League Division One North opposition, this time Maldon & Tiptree.
Berkley Laurencin was rested, so James Reading took over between the posts, while injured Eddie Munnelly was replaced by Danny Dyer in defence. A couple of other players needed fitness tests but passed them, so they were the only changes from the team which has climbed to second in the Ryman League Premier Division.
For most of the first half, it was one-way traffic, with Hendon finding numerous ways through the Cheshunt defence. Unfortunately, the Greens' forwards showed a worrying profligacy in front of goal. Belal Aite-Ouakrim, in particular, had a half to forget as he failed to hit the target from good positions on a number of occasions.
The closest the Greens came to scoring was an effort from Lee O'Leary which beat Joe Wright, but a defender on the line rescued his goalkeeper with a good clearance.
Having watched the Ambers on a couple of occasions, the Hendon management team knew where the Cheshunt dangermen lurked. Jamie Busby was assigned the task of keeping play-maker David Hicks quiet, while Michael Peacock and James Parker had their hands full with the strong and powerful Darrell Cox and the pacy and clever Chris Meikle.
In the 10 minutes before half-time, Peacock collected a caution for a foul on Meikle after he was caught in possession. The free-kick came to nothing, but it was a warning that Hendon failed to heed.
A couple of minutes later, Cox burst past Parker chasing a through ball and Reading attempted to clear the danger. He made no contact with ball but the follow-through from his air-shot took him into the striker, flattening him. The goalkeeper was doubly fortunate, because as the referee ruled the contact accidental, there was neither a penalty awarded nor a card shown, because the latter could have potentially been red in colour.
Cox then came off second best in a tussle with Peacock - both players were going for the ball and there wasn't a hint of a foul - but Cox struggled thereafter to have much of an impact.
On the stroke of half-time, Aite-Ouakrim strode between Richard Ashie and Darren Williams and forced Wright into a good save. The rebound should have been stroked home by Aaron Morgan, but he dallied and the recovering Ashie was able to make a well-timed block.
Early in the second half, Wright produced an excellent save to deny Aite-Ouakrim, while both Lubomir Guentchev and Busby failed to hit target from good positions.
Maybe Hendon needed a wake-up call to concentrate their minds. If that was the case, they got it after 51 minutes. A through ball from Hicks gave Meikle the chance to show off his pace and he also showed good strength in forcing his way past Parker who was a touch slow to react.
Reading came off his line to narrow the angle, but MEIKLE's finish was accurate and Cheshunt celebrated taking a somewhat undeserved lead. In years gone by, Hendon might have folded their tents and accepted that this was not going to be their day. Not any more.
It took barely five minutes for the equaliser to arrive, and within nine minutes of going behind, the Greens were two goals to the good.
First to strike was Aite-Ouakrim, in the 56th minute. He chased a through ball which Williams thought would reach Wright. The goalkeeper was a tad slow off his line, but his team-mate did a poor job of shielding the ball away from AITE-OUAKRIM, who toed it the ball past Wright and into the net.
Less than two minutes later, Morgan showed good strength to get clear of Ashie and was left with only Wright to beat. The goalkeeper rather got his angles wrong because MORGAN seemed to be given more than half of the goal to aim at, and he made no mistake in planting the ball into the open corner of the net.
Two became three just before the hour mark and this was down to excellent approach play down the Hendon left side. When the ball was played across the six-yard box, past Wright, who was tight to his near post, no one had covered Busby's run.
Goals count exactly the same value if they are struck with power and swerve from 25 yards, or they bounce off a pair of shins a stride from the goalline and bobble almost apologetically into the goal. This BUSBY effort was definitely in the latter category and he had to look to see where the ball was before turning from the goalline to accept the congratulations of happy teammates.
Cheshunt should have got back into the game in the 66th minute when a good cross from the left side was only partially cleared and the ball fell to the unmarked Hicks, barely five yards from goal. Almost any contact putting the ball on target would have brought the Ambers skipper a goal; the one exception was an overhit drive - because Hicks lashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar.
The ball bounced down and the net shook, but this was the result of the ball hitting the bar, not ball hitting the net, and the assistant referee didn'Â™t raise his flag to signal a goal. It should be noted, none of the Cheshunt players close to the ball, Hicks included, suggested the assistant'Â™s decision was wrong.
Almost immediately both teams started making substitutions and, over the next 20 minutes, Craig Vargas, Busby and Casey Maclaren were withdrawn in favour of Scott Cousins, Mariusz Serwin and Dave Diedhiou, respectively. For Cheshunt, Jimmy Martin came on for Ted Llewellyn, Graeme Dearie took over from Matt Thomson and Tom Dos Anjos replaced Ashie.
None of the Ambers three replacements could turn the tide their team's way. Although they continued to look dangerous on the break, it always seemed more likely that goals were going to come at the other end.
Eventually, Hendon added a fourth goal. The game was just about to enter stoppage time when MORGAN showed off his power, strength and pace in seeing off an attempted challenge from Gary Schillaci, looked up to see Wright approaching and fired a powerful drive across the goalkeeper, whose angles may again have been faulty, into the far corner.
It was no more than Hendon deserved, but the 4-1 scoreline doesn't reflect how different things might have been.
"I am really pleased with the win," said Hendon manager Gary McCann. "We didn't really get out of second gear and a few players seemed to be a little off the pace.
"The goal we conceded was a real wake-up call for us. But we showed our professionalism by hitting back so quickly. Maybe we needed that kick up the backside to get our minds right.
"I really want to have a good cup run this season. There is a real belief in the squad and with a little bit of luck and some kind draws, it would be great to make it into the competition proper."