Covid-19: Supporters are starting to be readmitted to games where possible. However, all clubs have varying procedures to be followed. Please always check ticketing details and other requirements on our news pages and also with the host club before travelling.
Hendon suffered their first defeat of the season when they were hammered 2-1 by Dulwich Hamlet. If that sounds like a strange description, as much as the Greens' 4-0 win at Thamesmead on the opening day was flattering, well this 2-1 reverse was even more so. Hamlet could, and probably should, have won by at least four clear goals and only conceded in the third minute of added time.
An injury to Tony Taggart meant that Aaron Morgan came in for him, while a tactical switch saw Anthony Thomas replace Dave Diedhiou in the starting line-up. Manager Gary McCann wanted a more offensive line-up and was confident that his midfielders would dominate affairs.
It never happened. Almost from the kick-off Dulwich's young guns hassled and harried the Hendon midfield, resulting in misplaced passes and lost possession. From this position, Hamlet launched raid after raid on the Hendon rearguard.
Chris Seeby and Jack Bennett out wide were pinned back by Jerome Walker and Ellis Green, and centrally, Carl McCluskey and Michael Duberry were at full stretch to deal with Harry Ottoway and Kevin James, while Erhun Oztumer, being watched by a number of scouts, pulled all the strings.
It was something of a surprise that it took 20 minutes for the opening goal to arrive. A raid down the Dulwich left flank was allowed to develop and no defender got close to Ottaway, who turned and fired into the bottom corner, beyond the vain dive of Berkley Laurencin.
The only times Hendon got forward, the wrong option was taken, so a lot of the good work by Morgan and Jefferson Louis fizzled out. And it might have been an idea if a couple of players had taken responsibility for shooting rather than trying to pass the ball.
Hamlet suffered a blow just past he half-hour mark when Walker limped off to be replaced by Dean Lodge, a tormentor of Hendon in the past when he was at Kingstonian. And Lodge continued in that vein providing danger down the flanks.
Two minutes after he came on, the Hendon defence again failed to deal with a ball into the penalty area and Ottaway rolled the ball into the net from close range. It was no more than Dulwich deserved and the Hendon reaction was to make two half-time changes, Diedhiou and Michael Kalu coming on for Thomas and Dean Cracknell.
Dulwich continued to set the pace during the second half, though Hendon certainly did enjoy more possession and territory, if not particularly close to Phil Wilson#s goal. The goalkeeper was not called on to make a save until stoppage time, the only Hendon efforts missing the target, some admittedly narrowly but wide nonetheless.
At the other end, Laurencin produced a couple of good saves and two or three good chances were also spurned, to say nothing of crosses fizzing across the face of the Hendon goal without a Dulwich foot to divert the ball into the net.
George Bowerman took over from Bennett, while Dulwich made their final two changes with Paul Vines replacing goalscoring hero Ottaway and Ethan Pinnock coming on for Kevin James.
When Hendon did finally get towards the danger area, Peter Adeniyi and Lewis Gonsalves dealt with almost everything while Ahmed Deen and Mathieu Boyer ensured there was little danger from the flanks. Seeby did get in a couple of dangerous crosses, but no Hendon head could get onto them.
The game was already deep into stoppage time when the Greens were given a lifeline. A shot was parried by a Dulwich defender and appeals for handball were turned down. However, another shot followed seconds later, as did another appeal and - without any recourse to DRS - the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
He had seen the ball blocked by a Dulwich arm, raised above his head, and that was good enough for the official to give the decision. Louis stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake.
Any hopes of a miraculous comeback being achieved were quickly dashed as Dulwich took possession of the ball and won a corner and free-kick around the Hendon penalty area before the final whistle blew.
Mention must be made of the outstanding support given to the visitors by around 70 fans, who say loudly and cheered their team on for almost all of the 90 minutes.
"We lacked in energy and tempo," McCann admitted after the game. "We couldn't come to terms with their passing game.
"The scoreline on Saturday rather flattered us and I donâ€™t think we played that well, as I said to the players. Tonight the result also flattered us because Dulwich outplayed us. They reminded me of where we were a few years ago - full of energy and effort - and we didn't match them.
"I thought our midfield three could cope with the Dulwich midfield but we didn't. In fact, I was disappointed with a few of our players tonight.
"I expect much better on Saturday. That said, we are still a bit of a work in progress and we will get better."