Hendon fans offered a point from a trip to Purfleet before the game would have ripped the arms off the person making the gesture. Following Monday night's 0-0 draw at the Thurrock Hotel, however, most will have felt disappointed that they did not leave with a three-point haul.
Duty calls kept Jon Daly and RenÃƒÂ© Street away, while Gary Fitzgerald (suspension) and Davis Haule (calf strain) could not play. In came two new signings, Otis Roberts, a midfielder formerly with Harrow Borough and a full Grenada international, and Chris Sparks, a central defender who has Conference experience with Hayes.
Purfleet were weakened by a number of absences, most notably in goal, where 40-year-old Jon O'Brien came into the side. He turned out to be their hero making a number of great saves.
The most noteworthy part of this game was that all 11 outfield players Hendon sent into action had or made presentable chances to score. But Purfleet had opportunities too and Gary McCann made two excellent saves.
The Hendon tale of woe in terms of missed chances were as follows:
Marvyn Watson (43 mins): danced through three tacklers, one of whom shoved him in the back, another tripped him, as he shot and the ball went wide. Mr Baldini spoke to Watson about diving, when it was a clear penalty.
Simon Clarke (67 mins): rose well at a corner, but had his goalbound header cleared off the line by substitute Gregg Heighway.
Paul Adolphe (35 mins): the best chance of the game, he was sent clear by Jason Soloman. He did exceptionally well to go around O'Brien, but with Steve Pashley and Keiren Adams on the line, Adolphe didn't strike his shot with any confidence and the ball was hacked away.
Chris Sparks (32 mins): on a very solid debut, he met a cross with a powerful header, but it flew over the crossbar.
Paul Johnson (38 mins): set up by Adolphe, who had again broken clear of the defence, he rushed his shot and missed badly. Adolphe could have passed to Ross Pickett or David Adekola in good advanced positions, but chose a perfectly acceptable option.
Jason Soloman (74 mins): ran across the edge of the penalty area and fired a powerful shot which O'Brien parried away, the ball bouncing two yards away from Pickett, who would have had a simple tap-in.
Warren Kelly (4 mins): following up an effort brilliantly saved by O'Brien, the ball took a long time to come down and he did not really get enough power on his shot, allowing O'Brien to make a second save.
Ross Pickett (47 mins): put clean through by a good pass by Otis Roberts, his low shot was well turned aside by O'Brien, but the strike lacked authority.
Otis Roberts (24 mins): another solid debut, he showed a neat change of pace to get into a shooting position, but he missed the target.
David Adekola (40 mins): hard, low shot which O'Brien saved at the second attempt, with Adolphe sprinting into the penalty area looking for scraps. Adekola was the other Hendon player who was fouled in the penalty area.
Dale Binns (88 mins): transport problems meant he was a substitute, his 79th minute arrival sparked Hendon's revival after a shaky 10 minutes in the face of concerted Purfleet pressure. He made a mazy run through half dozen defenders before an audacious chip was superbly tipped over the bar by O'Brien.
In front of O'Brien was the immaculate Jimmy McFarlane, who was a rock in defence. Purfleet used their 3 substitutes in an 18-minute period around the hour mark and paid the penalty because one of them, Heighway, limped off with a hamstring strain 14 minutes from time. Fleet spent the last 16 minutes with 10 men, in a entirely defensive 6-2-1 formation, which just about held out.