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Hendon slipped to a second straight defeat in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday afternoon when struggling Metropolitan Police scored twice without reply in the second half. The misfiring Greens could and probably should have been three goals to the good by half-time but a lacklustre final half-hour consigned them to another reverse.
Tony Taggart swapped places with Mahrez Bettache in the only change to the starting eleven which had been so unlucky to lose at Kingstonian on Monday night. The other four substitutes were also as Monday night, with Ben Frempah and goalkeeper Joe Wright the two who didn't see action at Earlsmead.
It should have taken less than three minutes for Hendon to have taken the lead. Leon Smith got past his defender and forced the ball across the six-yard box. The ball struck quite hard, but Dave Diedhiou, who made reasonable contact, could have controlled the ball before shooting, but, in any case, really should have put the ball on target instead of side-footing it wide.
The next chance fell to the Police, but Nathan Campbell's effort was comfortably saved by Melvin Minter. At the other end, Smith was causing all sorts of problems down the Hendon right side and in the 10th minute, he set up Taggart.
Once against the shot was off target, this time ball flashing across the face of the goal as the winger arrived at the far post. Hendon fans would certainly have hoped for better.
Joe Turner then emulated Taggart by shooting across goal and failing to hit the target. Then, in the 27th minute, Turner lifted a free-kick high and wide of the goal from a very good position.
A minute later Hendon had their best chance of the game. It fell to Smith, who had only Thomas Williams to beat, but again failed to make the goalkeeper work as the ball sped wide of the right upright.
Hendon's last chance of the half fell to both Smith and Sam Murphy. Williams denied Smith with a lunging challenge outside the penalty area. If Smith, who stumbled avoiding the tackle, had gone to ground, the referee Ã¢Â€Â“ who called "advantage" just as Smith was then dispossessed, would have been left with a difficult decision to make.
The ball fell to Murphy, who took a touch and lofted the ball towards the unguarded net. Williams would not have reached it, but the ball went about a foot wide of the post.
In the second half, Hendon were not quite as clinical, but still forced the pace. Their delivery from set pieces was not great and this allowed the Police to counter-attack at pace.
It nearly proved costly in the 51st minute, when Turner got on the end of a break down the left flank by Taureen Roberts. His shot beat Minter and also the far post.
Hendon made a double change after an hour, sending on Bettache and Andre Da Costa for Diedhiou and Taggart, but neither player was able to influence the action. Da Costa was somewhat unfortunate because he made some good runs, but was not passed the ball to wreak havoc.
In the 65th minute, Hendon paid the penalty for their poor corners. Turner led this charge on a counter-attack and when he passed to Roberts, the striker made no mistake, firing the ball into the net off the inside of a post.
Kezie Ibe was then introduced at the expense of Lee O'Leary, who had just been cautioned and was in danger of losing his cool again. It left the midfield filled with playmakers and no one - other than Russell Short - to shore up the gaps.
Ten minutes from time, Mark Kirby lost possession 20 yards outside the Hendon penalty area. Billy Crook ran towards the box, looking to shoot, but saw Turner better positioned, so passed to him. His sidefoot was perfectly placed giving Minter no chance of making a save.
It was not until the final minute of normal time that Williams was again called into action. His save from a shot not powerfully struck might not have been necessary, as it seemed the ball was going the wrong side of the post, but the goalkeeper was taking no chances.
In the third minute of stoppage time, Williams was beaten by a header from a corner. He and the Police were saved by Jordan Cheadle who headed the ball to safety. It certainly would have been no more than scant consolation for an already beaten Hendon team.