Hendon and Wembley will meet again on Tuesday night to decide who has the right to travel to Enfield or Uxbridge in the next round (quarter-final) of the Middlesex Senior Cup. Monday night's 1-1 draw at LOOT Stadium proved little, other than giving Gary McCann more action and Frank Murphy another chance to see the talented crop of youngsters assembled by Reserve team boss Alan Rolnick.
Two players made their debuts for Hendon: striker Isaac Cole and attacking midfielder Gil Gomes, a former Portuguese Under-21 international who was part of the team which won the World Youth Cup in the early 1990s when he counted Luis Figo, Paulo Sousa and Fernando Couto amongst his team-mates.
Hendon started the game quite brightly and Keita Karamoko, Wembley's Mali international goalkeeper made a low save from Bulgarian Bontcho Guentchev. At the other end, Jamaican youth international Pat Sappleton was in commanding form. Who says that internationals don't play in Non-League football?
The opening goal arrived in the 27th minute. Gomes slipped the ball across the penalty area into the path of Cole, who ran past Wayne Walters, but was bundled down by him. Referee Mr Buckeridge was unsighted, but his assistant had no doubt it was a penalty and duly flagged.
Jason SOLOMAN stepped up drilled ball perfectly inside the post, beyond Karamoko's dive. The kick could possibly have been ordered to be retaken because a number of Hendon players were in the penalty area; however, as Karamoko was a long way off his line, Mr Buckeridge let the kick and the goal stand.
Although they continued to dominate, Hendon had few chances to extend their lead. A shot by Gomes was fumbled by Karamoko, but Edwards, caught in two minds as to what to do with the rebound, rolled it tamely into the grateful arms of the goalkeeper.
The second-half was one-way traffic with Wembley in the ascendancy. Hendon spent most of the half trying vainly to clear balls pumped into the penalty area and McCann made two or three excellent saves. Sappleton made a fantastic, lung-bursting run down the left flank before his low cross was unconvincingly cleared and Gomes missed the ball as he ran onto a curled free-kick. Apart from that it was all Wembley.
Inevitably, as the temperature dropped well below zero, Wembley snatched an equalier, Victor BADW scoring the goal 5 minutes from the end of normal time. Some players would probably have settled for a 1-0 scoreline either way and quick trip to the dressing rooms rather than facing extra time.
Wembley were still on top and Richard Dee made a fine tackle on the dangerous Badw to keep the scores level. McCann also went down low at the striker's feet to deny him another chance.
The slightly premature final whistle - Mr Buckeridge was becoming concerned for the players' safety and brought proceedings to a halt 15 seconds early to nobody's disappointment - means that the Hendon's fixture congestion only gets worse.