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Hendon will dread seeing the name "AFC Sudbury" in any future draws for FA competitions. Having been knocked out of the FA Cup by the Suffolk side earlier in the season, the same club killed off Hendon's remaining hopes of a money-spinning journey in the general direction of Wembley by dispatching them from the FA Trophy.
To give Sudbury full credit, it would have been impossible for a neutral to determine which was the side from the Ryman Premier and which was from a division below, such was the quality of Sudbury's performance. On the flip side, Hendon's disappointing season, in which they have been plagued by injuries and suspensions, is still to get going.
Mark Kirby's return after a one-match suspension and he neatly replaced Dave Diedhiou, who was also missing because of a one-game ban. Other changes saw Hassan Sulaiman and Dean Cracknell make way for Russell Short and Andre Da Costa, though there were other positional alterations.
On a beautifully sunny and warm November day at Earlsmead, Hendon gave themselves an uphill struggle during the first meaningful action of the game. In the FA Cup tie, Sudbury created good early chances and converted one of them. Clearly, lessons were not learned.
In the fourth minute, yet more defensive indecision and frailty presented Craig Parker with an opportunity to put the visitors ahead. He calmly slotted the ball past Joe Wright in the Hendon goal, giving the home side an early and harsh reminder that this was going to be a big test despite home advantage and superiority in the football pyramid.
This proved to be an early blow from which Hendon never recovered. Indeed, Sudbury continued to pile on the pressure. It was not until the tenth minute that Hendon called Sudbury keep Marcus Garnham into action. He injured himself tipping a shot from Russell Short behind for a corner.
Despite being obviously in discomfort, Garnham would become a stand-out contender for man-of-the-match with a string of top class saves. He quickly produced a smart stop to deny Aaron Morgan just three minutes later.
Soon after, a Sudbury attack saw Hendon's Oliver Sprague inflict a very clumsy looking challenge during the build-up. The referee played advantage, perhaps resulting in Sprague not being shown a yellow card. Hendon's weakness in defence gifted another chance to Sudbury, although Luke Callander only managed to blast his effort over the bar.
As the half progressed, it settled into an ebb and flow of end-to-end stuff. Kezie Ibe hit the ball over from an acute angle for the home side, before Luke Tingey picked up the first booking of the game for bundling over a Sudbury opponent.
As half time edged into view, Hendon had a half-hearted penalty appeal waved away as Goldy Capela appeared to be brought down in the box. Ollie Berquez picked up a yellow card for Sudbury after a stout challenge on Sprague.
Hendon then embarked on some sustained pressure, resulting in several attacks and corners. Several were wasted by being fired into the near post and easily cleared, before one found its way into the six yard box.
A Sudbury defender misdirected an attempted headed clearance and a certain own goal was only avoided through an amazing reflex stop from the superlative Sudbury shot-stopper Garnham. It was Garnham who had the final say of the half, superbly tipping over a long-range effort from Hendonâ€™s industrious Morgan.
Hendon started the second half replacing the disappointing Capela and Andre da Costa with Leon Smith and Dean Cracknell as they attempted to force their way back into the game. The second half began as it ended, Garnham doing incredibly well to palm away a long-range screamer from Morgan away for a corner.
Both sides had half-chances to score as the send half progressed, with Sudbury's Jordan Blackwell firing over when one-on-one with the Hendon keeper. There were plenty of attacks and corners for both sides, with Russell Short picking up a booking for Hendon during this passage of play.
Hendon managed to generate a few glimmers of hope, notably a shot from Leon Smith that skidded across the face of the Sudbury goal and a free kick in a decent position that was fired into the defensive wall.
Sam Murphy and Dean Cracknell managed to get a couple of decent attempts on goal as the final whistle approached, but these came to nothing and it was the enterprising Sudbury team who progressed into the next round. Well-supported and gracious in their victory, they were deserved winners on the day.