Hendon progressed to the last 4 of the London Senior Cup after beating Balham 2-0 on Saturday evening at Bedfont Sports Club in the delayed quarter-final.
The same opponents had beaten the Greens by the same scoreline at the same stage of the competition in 2017/8 so this win gained some degree of revenge, Hendon now go on to face Wingate & Finchley at Silver Jubilee Park on Tuesday 25th August.
Lee Allinson went with a strong starting XI handing a competitive debut to Dwade James who partnered Joe White up front, Matt Ball also started in midfield, the other 9 starters all ended last season with the Greens.
On an outstanding playing surface both sides looked to pass the ball through midfield which made for an absorbing contest. Hendon had most of the possession in the first half but found their efforts floundering on an extremely well organised Balham rearguard which, when breached, was backed up by an excellent first half goalkeeping performance.
Chances for the Greens were few and far between. Early on, James and White showed some promising link-up play with White getting onto James' knock-down only to find his effort superbly blocked by an excellent smothering tackle.
James then got onto the end of a Lucas Perry ball forward and looked to lob the goalkeeper, unfortunately for the former Walthamstow man the ball drifted a couple of yards wide of the target before the Hendon number 10 tried his luck from 25-yards but his effort thudded into the fencing wide of the goal.
Balham's tidy approach play also found itself being repelled by a well-organised Hendon back-four, expertly marshalled by Tommy Brewer, however they did have the game's first shot on target with a low 20-yard skidding effort that was straight at Jonathan North, who gathered comfortably.
Hendon's approach play, although measured, was perhaps a touch too laboured and slow through midfield, however when they did pick up the tempo, Balham struggled to keep up with them. A cross from Perry from the left eluded James but found White. The striker took one touch to control and then fired at goal only to be denied by a fine save - shortly afterwards neat interplay involving Sambou, Allinson and White ended with White's shot deflected wide off a defender.
At the break, White was withdrawn in favour of Brooks, the former struggling with a knee injury which Lee Allinson is hoping to rest over the next week or so, the change and resulting change in shape seemed to help the Greens in the second period.
Aside from a strike flashed just over Jonathan North's crossbar just after the restart, Balham's threat was nullified by Brewer and Oshodi at the heart of Hendon's back-four.
Sambou found James in a couple of yards of space with a fine ball, the striker took a couple of touches and from just outside the box fired an angled drive across the goalkeeper but inches wide of the far post and then, just after a triple substitution from Allinson, the striker found himself through on goal in the inside-right channel. He tried to nick it past the keeper with the outside of his left foot, but was denied by a good stop.
The deadlock was finally broken with fifteen minutes remaining and it was substitute Samrai GEBRAI who marked his competitive debut with a fine solo goal. Receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area, he twisted one way and then the other to beat two challenges before firing a superb angled strike into the far top corner of the net.
Not to be outdone by his former Walthamstow team-mate, James finally got his reward for another hard-working performance and in fine style six minutes later.
Found in space by a long-ball forward, JAMES looked up, saw the goalkeeper off his line and sent a beautifully judged lob from fully 35-yards over the stranded custodian, who bore more than a passing resemblance to Lee Allinson, and into the back of the net.
With the cushion of the second goal in the bank, the Greens' nerves settled and they were able to see out the closing 10 minutes without too many alarms to secure their hard-earned passage into the semi-finals.