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Hendon suffered an agonising start to the new year when Chesham United scored their winner two of the three minutes into added time at the end of a turgid battle. Anything more than a draw would have been more than the Greens deserved, but once again individual errors delivered a fatal blow to even those low expectations.
There were four changes to the Hendon line-up, all enforced. Ricardo German (to Crawley Town) and Taofiq Olomowewe (Carshalton Athletic) had both left the club, while Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway and Darren Locke were injured. This allowed for the return of Howard Hall and Adam Pepera and gave debuts to Lewis Toomey and Scott McGleish, the last of whom was called in just before kick-off when Luke Tingey's injury flared up again.
McGleish, who signed as a youth-teamer for Hendon in 1991 and who rejoined the club as a player-coach in December became at 44 years and 10 months one of the Greens' oldest-ever debutants.
With so many changes to the Greens' line-up, it was hardly surprising that it was Chesham who started the brighter, but their difficult position in the league table meant that for all their attacking instincts, avoiding the concession of an early goal was paramount. Therefore, with Hendon in the same boat, little of note happened in either penalty area.
In the ninth minute, Jefferson Louis - compared to McGleish almost a spring chicken at 39 years old - flicked on a ball out of midfield. McGleish could not effect a clearance and the ball fell to Jerry Maja, whose first time shot, with only Danny Boness to beat, had neither the height nor the angle to cause the goalkeeper any difficulty in the save.
Four minutes later, Billy Adcock attacked out of midfield and fired a powerful drive which beat Boness, but sailed over the crossbar. For the remaining 30 odd minutes neither team did anything in the way of attacking, apart from a half-chance to Louis, but his angle was far too tight and he could only find the side-netting on the outside of the goal.
Hendon had barely a shot worth recalling and, when they did get the ball into the penalty area, Ben Goode - a former Hendon squad player and brother of ex-Greens star centre-back Charlie - caught every cross that came his way.
The second half was a little better than the first, but the pattern of the game remained the same. And, once again, the ninth minute of the period saw incident in the Hendon penalty area.
This time, it was a goalmouth scramble of epic proportions. It started with a corner to far post which was met by Adcock, but Boness made a brilliant save. The rebound fell to a Generals player, who struck the ball too well and it cannoned off the crossbar.
The rebound again favoured the visitors, and this Chesham shot was also on target. but McGleish threw himself at the ball, headed it clear and was knocked off his feet in effecting the block. Once more at the far post, there was an unmarked Chesham player and his header may have been tipped by Boness on its way to the crossbar.
Another shot rained in and was blocked and when the sixth attempt came, it was blocked away for a corner. A couple of visitors claimed a hand had been used, but, if it at all, it was certainly ball to hand and there was no attempt to play at the ball. This corner came to nothing.
With an hour gone, Hendon made their first change, replacing Shaun Lucien with Gianni Crichlow.
In the 65th minute, a surging Hendon run by Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick ended with a foul on him. Brendan Murphy-McVey took responsibility for the set piece and it may well have been on target, but for a Chesham defender deflecting the ball wide of the far post.
Both teams made a change midway through the half, Tyriq Hunte taking over from Toomey for Hendon, while Maja made way for Bradley Clayton.
And Chesham almost took the lead a couple of minutes later when a long-range shot took a big deflection, completely wrong-footing Boness. Hendon hearts were in mouths as the ball arrowed towards the opposite post, but it missed the upright and went out for another corner.
Louis went off for the final 15 or so minutes, Eoin Casey being Chesham's second substitution, while Hendon completed their trio as Lee Chappell, who had just picked up a knock, was replaced by Taishan Griffith.
Just as it seemed that Hendon would reach the safe harbour of a point, it all went horribly wrong. There had already been almost two of the three additional minutes played when two Greens, on the left touchline midway inside their half, made a hash of clearing a ball downfield - it didn't really matter where it went so long as it was away from Boness' goal.
The ball was quickly played into the Hendon box where a deft backheel took the ball into the path of Clayton. Taking a touch to steady himself, CLAYTON neatly slipped the ball into the bottom corner of the net before being mobbed by team-mates and fans behind the goal.
It was so cruel on Hendon, but the harsh reality was that a point would have been the absolute most that they deserved.