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Hendon progressed to the first round of the FA Cup on Wednesday evening for the first time since 1999, courtesy of a 2-0 win at Metropolitan Police in a fourth qualifying round replay. It was a superb professional performance from the Greens, against a side that resorted to the physical approach at times during the game.
Gary McCann decided to go into the game with the same starting eleven as in the first game, but there were changes on the bench as Jamie Busby, Paul Robinson and James Burgess replaced Michael Peacock, Mariusz Serwin and Dave Reading. His decision to keep an unchanged line-up proved to the right choice as the Greens were the better side for much of the game.
Meanwhile, the home side made two changes to their starting line-up with Elliot Taylor and Vernon Francis replacing Ron Edwards and Eddie Smith, both of whom dropped to the bench.
It was the home side who had the first chance, coming in the second minute when they attacked at pace, but Craig Watkin's shot flew safely wide of Berkley Laurencin's goal.
As the opening period progressed, and Hendon began to take control of the game, Metropolitan Police reverted to a more physical approach, giving away several free kicks.
Hendon's first chance fell to Belal Aite-Ouakrim, but he found Mo Maan in fine form once again in the home goal as he made a good save. However, Maan's efforts only delayed the first goal until the 28th minute.
Lubomir Guentchev spotted Aite-Ouakrim about to make a run, and delivered a perfect slide-rule pass into space, with enabled the Moroccan to beat the offside trap and place the ball past Maan into the net.
Despite Maan making another excellent save soon afterwards, the Greens had doubled the lead within 6 minutes. Guentchev took the ball wide into the penalty area, but delivered a beautiful dummy which left Maan and Nicky Humphrey in no-mans land. The ball ran into the path of Casey Maclaren who slid the ball into the unguarded net.
Humphrey made it clear in no uncertain terms that he felt that the blame for the second goal lay with Maan - a discussion that continued throughout the remainder of the first half - failing to take into account that his goalkeeper had almost single handedly won the Police the chace of this replay and had made several inspired saves previously.
Indeed, Maan proved his worth just a couple of minutes later as Aite-Oukarim carried the ball out towards the right side of the penalty area before playing the ball backwards into Aaron Morgan's feet. Morgan beat two men while running across goal before powering a snap shot low to the 'keeper's right, but Maan was equal to it.
The second goal had certainly appeared to knock the confidence of the home side though, and as their frustration grew, they gave away more free kicks, Tyron Smith being one of two home players to be booked before half-time.
The second half began with Metropolitan Police in a determined move and they put Hendon under a spell of pressure. This caused the Greens to defend much deeper than was really necessary and Laurencin was forced into action on a couple of occasions.
Despite the home side's pressure, Hendon still showed they could cause problems on the break. After one Met attack had been broken up, the ball was played long out onto the right flank, where Casey Maclaren gave chase. After controlling the ball and carrying it towards the byline, the older Maclaren brother looked up and seeing three green shirts in the middle to only two blue quickly delivered the ball. Maan looked somewhat relieved to see it brush the crossbar and go over for a goal-kick.
Midway through the half, Jamie Busby replaced the hardworking Aaron Morgan, and the arrival of the midfielder seemed to give the Greens the spark they needed. The best chance of the period came when Aite-Ouakrim fired off a shot from the edge of the area, and was disappointed to see it fly narrowly over the bar with Maan well beaten.
Posession was shared between the two sides for much of the second half, but without enough of a cutting edge being shown by either. Apart from a couple of goalmouth scrambles the home side never really looked like scoring, whilst their defence looked ill at ease each time Hendon attacked and were several times saved by the offside flag.
The Police continued to give away numerous free kicks, picking up more yellow cards, and in the 83rd minute Tyron Smith picked up his almost inevitable second caution and was dismissed, meaning that they were left to see the game out with ten men, just as they had done on Saturday.
As the Greens looked to ensure victory, Robinson and Daniel Wishart replaced Aite-Ouakrim and Guentchev, and they helped their side to keep possession of the ball in the dying minutes of the game while Casey Maclaren had another go from the left by-line, forcing a final save from Mann.
After four minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle blew, and that was the signal for happy celebrations among players and fans alike.
"I am really pleased with how we kept our discipline." said a delighted Gary McCann after the game. "It is a great win and a great night for the football club!"