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Hendon will have mixed emotions about the point gained from the 1-1 draw with Bognor Regis Town at Earlsmead on Saturday. The only winner was the weather - the wind marring an otherwise intriguing match, full of goalmouth action, but lacking in attempts on goal.
Russell Short, Luke Tingey and Dean Cracknell came into the reshuffled line-up at the expense of Hassan Sulaiman, Ben Pattie and the departed Aaron Morgan. Mark Kirby and Omar Vassell continued to be unavailable, while two other players had left the Greens, Leon Smith and Goldy Capela.
The strong wind was blowing into the Hendon faces in the first half, but the Greens did well to keep the ball on the excellent pitch. Not only that, they took the game to the Rocks, who seemed to be uneasy in the opening minutes.
A rushed clearance after seven minutes saw them concede a corner, from which they conceded the opening goal. Sam Murphy drilled the corner into the danger area and a defensive header took the ball towards the edge of the opposite corner of the box.
First to the ball was Kezie Ibe. Players quickly rushed to shut down the striker, who played a short pass to the middle of the "D", where Finnbar Robins was waiting, unmarked.
Robins hit the ball first time and sent the ball goalwards. The wind took the ball and blew it slightly away from Grant Smith, who had to make a late readjustment and was unable to do more than palm it into the net.
Within two minutes, the lead was almost doubled. More defensive indecision at a set-piece saw the ball only partly cleared by the Bognor defence to Sam Flegg, who struck a goalbound effort which beat Smith, but not Sami El-Abd, who blocked the ball inches short of the line.
Bognor gradually began to work themselves into the game and then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure, almost all of which didn't require much from Joe Wright, who did well to catch a couple of dangerous crosses and make one spectacular full-length save to deny Gary Charman.
The real Hendon heroes were the back four, where Tingey allowed little from Charman - through whom most of the Bognor attacks originated - and Dave Diedhiou, Flegg and Ollie Sprague were outstanding in keeping the high-powered Rocks at bay. In front of them, Wesley Fonguck was a picture of calm composure, breaking up play and then passing to Murphy, Cracknell, Short or Robins.
The Greens, however, suffered a blow in the last ten minutes of the half when Ibe went down in the centre circle. He immediately signalled to the Hendon bench that his afternoon was done and Pattie replaced him.
Just before the interval, Ollie Pearce found himself in space for a shot. His drive was on target, but was hit straight at Wright who made a comfortable save.
Before the start of the second half, Bognor made a change of their own, Charman making way for Stuart Green. For the first few minutes of the second half, Hendon were on the front foot, but, apart from a couple of corners, the only attempt on goal saw a Russell Short shot blocked by a defender.
Pattie got absolutely no change out of the experienced El-Abd, who has played at the highest levels of English non-league football, and was left isolated up front with Cracknell, Murphy and Robins forced to do more defending.
The wind continued to dominate and if Hendon passes were overhit, then Bognor balls into the danger area were blown out of dangerous areas. Wright was excellent in dealing with swirling crosses and the ever dangerous Jason Prior rarely got a look-in thanks to the work of Flegg and Diedhiou.
Bognor's pressure finally told in the 73rd minute. Another attack down the left wing saw the ball played into the penalty area. El-Abd, added to the attack, saw the ball blow slightly away from him but athletically diverted it into the net.
This could have broken the Hendon spirit, but the Greens continued to play as they had. With 11 minutes of normal time remaining, Tony Taggart and Andre Da Costa came on for Robins and Cracknell, who had worked extremely hard.
Taggart and Pattie had half-chances in the last few minutes, but both efforts failed to trouble Smith. However, Bognor's continued defensive discomfiture was obvious as a couple of clearances were hurried away for corners when a little bit of composure might have allowed for a counter-attack.