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Hendon recorded their first back-to-back victories in competitive fixtures since October 2018 and kept up their unbeaten record against Leyton Orient with a deserved 1-0 victory in the second round of the London Senior Cup. The Greens' reward is a quarter-final place against the winners of the Balham v Hanwell Town or Haringey Borough tie (the game in West London was postponed on the same night), probably in late January 2020.
There were four changes to the Hendon line-up from the team which had beaten Beaconsfield Town at the weekend. Chris Grace left the club - citing travel issues from his Bracknell home where he has a young family - Tom Hamblin and Sam Corcoran were rested and Dave Diedhiou was unavailable, meaning a debut for Lewis Todd between sticks, and returns for Howard Hall, Reece Mitchell and Connor Calcutt.
The Os' team was a mixture of first-team squad members - four with first-team experience, but none who appeared in their FA Cup exit at the hands of Maldon & Tiptree - and young professionals. Their most experienced player was skipper Jamie Turley, who spent a couple of months with Hendon in late 2008, on loan from Wycombe Wanderers. He tweeted that his time under Gary McCann had been his first ever experience of playing adult football.
It must be said this was not a pulsating cup-tie between two teams going hammer and tongs against each other. It was, however, a contest between two hard-working sides, trying to play the game in the right way. The result was that the game was essentially a midfield battle.
The first two attempts on goals were headers from set pieces, first for Hendon, but neither troubled the goalkeeper. Turley's effort, in the 21st minute, seemed to be a better chance, but his off-target free header would have been ruled out for offside.
Kam English had shown some early promise down the right side, but Orient were quick to give Jayden Sweeney extra support in keeping him quiet.
After 26 minutes, skipper Sergio Manesio strode forward from midfield and struck a powerful low drive. It was on target and it brought Arthur Janata to his knees as he made the relatively comfortable save. Importantly, with Isaac Galliford and Calcutt hunting for a rebound, he held onto the ball.
After half an hour, a corner appeared to offer an unchallenged header for a Hendon player, but a defender launched himself at the ball and it bounced just wide of the goal for another corner.
A couple of minutes later, Hendon scored what proved to be the winning goal. Orient tried to bring the ball out of midfield, but a good tackle knocked it back towards the Hendon defence.
Luke Tingey took a touch and then played a clever ball into space down the inside-left channel. Mitchell controlled the ball and then played it forward to where Calcutt had made a diagonal run to get clear of Myles Judd.
The striker's first touch left him with a clear sight of goal and only Janata to beat. CALCUTT's second touch was a left-footed strike that curled just inside the left post for his sixth goal of the season.
Just before the break, Galliford broke forward and tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the penalty area. He was being closed down as he struck the ball and Janata was able to make an easy save.
The only yellow card of the game went to Judd, after 44 minutes, who stopped English from breaking down the right wing just inside the Os' half. Given the position and the work that would have been required by English to set up a clear chance, it was a needless foul.
Before the second half started, Hendon made a substitution. Tre Charles replaced English, who had taken a knock, but he will have time to recover as he starts a three-match ban following the very harsh red card he was shown at the weekend.
Laurence Hammond and Finley Lovatt were getting nothing against Romario Jonas and Tingey, while Corey Panter and Howard Hall easily held sway in the full-back positions. In fact, the only difficult moments Todd had came when he was put under pressure from back-passes, one of which required a deft piece of footwork to take the ball away from Lovatt.
It was pretty much the last action for Lovatt, who picked up a slight injury and was immediately replaced by Jordan Adeyemi. The substitute brought a fresh pair of legs and, barely a minute after coming on, he shot wide of the Hendon goal with an attempt from a good position.
Most of the attempts on goal still came from Hendon and Charles and Galliford both fired attempts away from the target. Either side of Tahjae Anderson taking over from Calcutt, the Greens had two free-kicks in dangerous positions around the Orient penalty area.
Ryan Hope drilled his attempt into the wall, leading to a counter-attack that was dealt with well by the Hendon defence, while Galliford forced Janata into a full-length save. A minute later, Todd was called into action, saving a rising drive from Sharon - Os fans know him as Brian - Ifeanyi.
Good news for Orient fans came in the 81st minute when Will Sanders took over from Wynford Marfo, his first action since tearing his ACL last year. Ifeanyi was also replaced by Deago Dunbar-Bonnie for the last few minutes, a final throw of the dice.
The last good opportunity went HendonÃƒÂ¢Ã‚Â€Ã‚Â™s way and it took an excellent save from Janata to deny Hope a second Greens goal.
A happy manager Lee Allinson was quick to praise the whole team on the clubÃƒÂ¢Ã‚Â€Ã‚Â™s online TV website, saying, "I have to give credit to the boys; they worked extremely hard. But I donÃƒÂ¢Ã‚Â€Ã‚Â™t think it was a complete performance.
"In the second half I was pleased in the way we defended. We allowed them only one shot and we could have scored a couple of goals.
"It is great to get two wins back to back. But we have a big game coming up on Saturday."