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Hendon crashed of the Carlsberg FA Trophy in most disappointing fashion, losing 5-1 at Ryman League Division One North AFC Sudbury in the second qualifying round at the BEL Stadium. Manager Gary McCann summed up the afternoon very simply when he admitted, "I never saw that coming."
Sudbury's reward for beating Hendon is a trip to Truro City, giving the Suffolk club an almost 750-mile round trip for a third qualifying round tie.
Eddie Munnelly, Daniel Wishart and Jamie Busby came into the team at the expense of Wednesday night's heroes, Jonathan Coke, Aaron Morgan and James Parker, the last-named being suspended, the first two moving to the subs' bench.
The first thing to go wrong for Hendon came when there was also a late change to the officials as one of the assistant referees pulled a muscle in the warm-up, which resulted in the match being delayed for almost half an hour while a replacement was summoned.
Reports on AFC Sudbury suggested that the team was very dangerous in attack, but somewhat suspect in defence. The first half hour certainly seemed to back up the scouting report.
The Suffolk men alarmed Hendon's makeshift central defence a couple of occasions and after 10 minutes, Craig Vargas conceded a free-kick just outside the Hendon penalty area. Dave Wareham struck the ball powerfully, but Berkley Laurencin made a good save, low down.
When they attacked, Hendon made the Sudbury defence look equally uncomfortable. Nathan Clarke twice sliced clearances under pressure from Belal Aite-Ouakrim and it was soon clear a goalless draw was an extreme long-shot.
That bet was lost after 16 minutes. Hendon don't often play route one football, preferring to pass the ball around the pitch before making an attempt on goal but, on this occasion, the long ball worked absolutely perfectly.
Laurencin caught a cross and quickly launched the ball downfield, aided by a strong breeze behind him. Lubomir Guentchev was quick to realise the possibilities and he timed his run perfectly to get in front of the covering Daniel Swain. From just outside the penalty area, Guentchev struck a perfectly placed angled shot across the oncoming Nicky Eyre and just inside the far post.
Four minutes later, Eyre seemed to be slow to react to a ball across the edge of his penalty area and he ended up tackling Aite-Ouakrim, who had sniffed the chance of a second Hendon goal.
The impetus of the game had changed and the early confidence of Sudbury was on the wane as Hendon looked more and more dangerous. Both Busby and Lee O'Leary were narrowly off-target with long-range efforts as the home defence received coaching from the assistant manager, who had positioned himself behind Sudbury goal. But everything all changed in the 27th minute.
A momentary lapse of concentration in the Hendon defence resulted in a corner to the hosts. It was taken by Taylor Sinfield and Rhys Darg sent the ball into the net as Laurencin, who came for the ball, failed to reach it.
Now it was AFC Sudbury's turn to have all the confidence and Hendon's central defence looked very uncomfortable. They conceded a number of free-kicks around the penalty area but Sudbury didn't take full advantage.
And their own defensive shortcomings were again shown up as Aite-Ouakrim had another good chance to score. He could also have passed to either Wishart or Guentchev, both of whom were very well placed, but opted to take the opportunity himself and Eyre made a very good save.
The goal of the match came in the 43rd minute. A half-cleared set piece bounced just outside the Hendon penalty area, where it was seized upon by Dave Wareham. His first-time angled shot flew into the top corner, giving Laurencin absolutely no chance.
On the stroke of half-time, Eyre made another save, not a difficult one, from Guentchev, so Hendon went into the dressing rooms trailing by a single goal. Before the second half started, Coke replaced Munnelly, who looked as rusty as most players would after playing almost no football for six weeks.
A late challenge from the bustling James Baker earned the Sudbury No. 9 a yellow card. For Hendon's No. 9, however, the afternoon ended early as Aite-Ouakrim was replaced by Morgan with 30 minutes to go.
The match was far from over at this stage and, in the 66th minute, a shot from Guentchev required another save from Eyre. It led, indirectly, to the game-changing moment.
There didnâ€™t seem to be any danger as Eyre clearance downfield found Coke. His pass across the pitch didn't find its intended target and, two touches later, Baker was celebrating Sudbury's third goal.
That goal broke Hendon's resistance and things went from bad to worse for the Greens. A corner was not dealt with and Darg grabbed his second goal of the afternoon to put the tie well beyond Hendon's reach.
Almost immediately, Kevin Maclaren was withdrawn in favour of Danny Dyer, while the hosts made a trio of changes, Lee Townrow, Dave Collins and Steve Wareham taking over from Darg, Swain and Baker, respectively.
Hendon's misery was almost complete in the 80th minute when, having chased 60-odd metres back with Dave Wareham, Dyer slipped as he tried to clear the ball from the angle of penalty area and goal-line. The ball went to Daniel Emmanuel, who gleefully slammed the ball past Laurencin.
"Everything that could go wrong today did," admitted a rather shell-shocked McCann. "We defended very poorly; in fact we underperformed massively."