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Hendon produced their worst performance for a long time as they were crushed 5-0 by Hampton & Richmond Borough at the Beveree on Saturday afternoon. The talking point after the game was the late red card shown to Leon Smith, but as appalling as the decision appeared to be, the Greens' overall performance was at least as bad.
There were a few changes from the team which went out of the Alan Turvey Trophy on Tuesday night, Sam Flegg, Russell Short and Aaron Murphy coming into the starting 11, with Andre Da Costa and Maz Bettache dropping to the subs bench and Charlie omitted from the 16. Luke Tingey and Scott Shulton remained out injured - the latter still being some weeks from a return to training.
Two weeks earlier, Hendon defeated Leatherhead as much thanks to goals at the start of each half. They should have suffered the same fate on this afternoon, but after turning on the edge of the penalty area, Josh Casey's shot flew wide of Joe Wright's far post with the goalkeeper's dive little more than for show.
It took until the ninth minute for Hampton to take the lead. A right wing Beavers corner was played towards the middle of the goal and no one made a move towards Moussa Diarra, whose header flew just inside the near post. The Greens' defending was again found substandard.
Hampton continued to set the pace, and the Hendon defence was at full stretch to keep out the Beavers, who had the luxury of naming Charlie Moone and Richard Pacquette on the bench. However, for all their possession, Hampton didn't take advantage of their territorial domination.
It took until the 28th minute for Hendon to finally fashion an opening and it was a good one too. A ball cut in from the left wing fell almost perfectly for Morgan, but Harry Taylor did just enough to force the striker to stretch and rush his shot, with the result that the ball flew a few inches wide of the target.
In the 35th minute, Morgan forced a sprawling save from Seb Brown and the goalkeeperâ€™s parry fell to the feet of a defender. The angle was possibly fortunate because Kezie Ibe was a couple of feet away from the rebound but could not reach it.
A bad afternoon for the Greens got worse after 38 minutes. Mark Kirby was the last defender as Hampton launched a quick counter-attack. He was half a step behind Nicke Kabambaas and stretched to reach the ball.
He failed to win the tackle and Kabambaas went down. Whether the striker had control of the ball - a key factor in obvious goal-scoring opportunities - is not really relevant because at full speed, it looked a foul and the referee's decision that it the offence merited a red card, did not seem to be very wrong.
A couple of minutes later, Morgan had another opportunity, but his shot flew high and wide of the target. However, when the half-time whistle was blown, the Greens must have felt relieved to have still been in the contest.
Within four minutes of the resumption it was game over. "Keep things tight, defend properly and frustrate them early," must have the half-time advice in the Hendon dressing room.
A few players must not have been listening as after conceding a corner in the opening minute, two failed to make clearances and when the ball fell to Diarra he made it 2-0. Once again, the central defender was unmarked in the 18-yard box, but on this occasion, he had to time control the ball before shooting home without a challenge coming.
The next Hampton attack brought another goal. Frempong made a rash challenge, for which he was rightly yellow-carded, inside his own penalty area. Dean Sinclair took the spot kick, but Wright made an excellent save, parrying the ball.
Unfortunately, eight Hendon defenders stood watching as five eager Beavers chased the loose ball. Taggart could not get there quickly enough and Sinclair knocked the loose ball into the net.
Morgan had another half-chance for the Greens, but he, once again, was off-target. Hendon then made two substitutions, Smith replacing Morgan and Bettache taking over from Taggart.
After Lee O'Leary had taken over from Russell Short, Hampton made their first changes, former Hendon winger Jerome Federico and Moone coming on for Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick and Brendan Kiernan, respectively.
The Greens know all about Moone, who has scored more than eight percent of his total goals for Hampton against Hendon. It took him barely minutes to continue his torture because given a clear sight of goal, Moone was not going to miss.
Smith might have given Hendon a consolation goal when he broke clear, but was forced too wide by the advancing Brown, then couldn't either shoot or find the supporting Ibe.
And Smith's day got a whole lot worse when he chased a through ball that was bouncing towards Brown. The goalkeeper gathered the ball and Smith, although slowing down, ran into him.
There was minimal contact and no malice, but Brown, slightly off balance, was knocked over. The goalkeeper didn't react, or stay down and got ready to take the free-kick.
However, the referee felt there had been serious foul play and showed Smith a red card. Brown tried to get the referee to change his mind, but in vain and crestfallen Smith, with a look of bemusement and misery trudged off.
One final indignity for the Greens came with a fifth goal with two minutes of normal time remaining. The ball bobbled about inside the Hendon penalty area and Taylor drilled the ball into the net.