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A Hendon team featuring a number of new faces and recent arrivals arrived at a windswept New Lodge hoping to build on the more positive momentum that saw them notch up two draws in the preceding two games. However, Hendon's hopes were dashed and they departed Essex on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line that was arguably slightly flattering for the hosts.
Despite the testing conditions, including a vicious wind that was blowing across the pitch and a sizeable central area of the pitch that was showing the signs of the week's heavy rainfall, both teams put together some decent passages of play amidst plenty of airborne endeavour. It was notable that both Billericay and Hendon saw plenty of goal kicks, free kicks, corners and through balls end up nowhere near their intended destinations thanks to the blustery conditions.
It was Hendon who started brightly, immediately taking the game to the home side in the first minute with some promising approach play followed by a wasted free kick. Dave Diedhiou did well to break up a Billericay counterattack before Hendon 'keeper Joe Wright made the first of several quality saves, tipping over a smart shot on the turn from a Billericay attacker. Wright's triumph was incredible yet short-lived, however, as the resultant corner saw a Hendon clearance hit the back of Billericay's Joe Ellul and the ball rebound off the oblivious player into the top corner of the Hendon net.
While there was immense good fortune about the tenth minute goal, the fact that Billericay led 1-0 at the break was more than fair. The home side dominated the remainder of the first half, with Quentin Monville, Onome Sodje and Teddy Nesbitt all spurning opportunities to extend the lead and Billericay also having a penalty appeal waved away. The closing minutes of the half saw another brilliant save from Wright, again tipping over a goal-bound effort - this time from Nesbitt.
After somehow ending the first half just a single goal behind, Hendon put in a much more impressive shift in the second. The opening exchanges of play saw Billericay scorer Ellul the centre of attention for the wrong reasons this time, receiving a yellow card for a cynical foul that ended an impressive attacking foray from Hendon defender Luke Tingey. The subsequent free kick was sent well over by Finbarr Robins.
Billericay were not short of opportunities at the other end, a dangerous cross managing to elude every Billericay in the Hendon penalty area before they finally made a breakthrough to double their lead. A long throw made its way to Nesbitt who this time managed to beat Wright, sending a delightfully placed shot past the Hendon keeper and into the net.
Hendon did not let their heads drop, displaying plenty of endeavour as they sought to claw something back from the game. As part of one attack, another cynical transgression from Billericay, which went unpunished in terms of a yellow card from the referee, gave Hendon another free kick just outside the home side's penalty box. This time it was easily cleared shortly before Diedhiou found himself in the referee's notebook for a sly trip on an opposition midfielder.
Wright pulled off yet another top drawer save soon thereafter, again tipping over another effort, this time a sweetly struck free kick taken by Conor Hubble. This escape for Hendon was soon followed by another, with Diedhou perhaps fortunate not to have seen a red card after committing another foul. As the game progressed into the closing stages, there were a flurry of changes with Mike Fondop Talom taking over from Tom Derry for Billericay and Finbarr Robbins and Sam Murphy making way for Mark Kirby and Tony Taggart for the visitors.
The closing tem minutes were to produce plenty of incidents to entertain the crowd of 278. Wright pulled off his final breath-taking save, once again denying Sodje, before Billericay made another change, Quentin Monville leaving the field to be replaced by Alex Stephenson. With just five minutes of normal time remaining, Hendon threw themselves a lifeline. A long throw found Taggart on the edge of the box, the substitute's powerful drive giving Jack Giddens in the Billericay goal no chance whatsoever.
With Hendon scenting the opportunity to grab a point, this optimism was soon snuffed out. A cross-shot from Sodje looked like it was turned in by a Hendon defender, but the Billericay man claimed the goal as the home side restored their two-goal cushion. There was just time for Billericay to replace Ola Williams with Cliff Akurang before the final whistle.
While Hendon will have been disappointed with the result, there were some encouraging signs for manager Gary McCann with the second half showing suggesting that the slightly makeshift squad could be capable of generating some points over the festive period.