Hendon continued to show their never-say-die spirit with a third come-from-behind performance to snatch a draw. Jon Daly's 85th-minute equaliser denied Chesham United all three points at LOOT Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Greens are the Ryman League Premier Division's leading goalscorers after 5 matches of the season with 11, but 2 of the goals have been to reduce arrears and 5 others have been equalisers. Hendon have led in only one match so far.
With Warren Kelly restored to fitness, Hendon boss Frank Murphy reverted to the line-up which had seen service in the first 3 games. Phil Gridelet moved back into midfield and Marvyn Watson returned to the subs' bench at the expense of David Adekola.
The first half was an interesting if rugged battle, with few chances at either end. Both teams' defenders just about held sway over their striking opponents, but they were fully occupied. After 24 minutes, Davis Haule did exceptionally well to wriggle through three Chesham tacklers - one of the rare times he got the better of former Hendon favourite Dave Stephenson - but with only Delroy Preddie to beat, he lost his footing and shot very tamely at the goalkeeper.
Another former Hendon man, Colin Simpson, came very close to opening the scoring with a close-range sidefoot from an acute angle, but the shot, following fine work from the ever-dangerous Simon Harland, rolled just beyond the far post. Preddie then athletically tipped over a long-range effort from Haule.
It took Chesham just 90 seconds of the second half to take the lead. Harland was released down the right wing by Brian Statham. He ran almost unchallenged in on goal but his shot was pushed aside by Richard Wilmot. Victor RENNER just beat Iain Duncan in the race to reach the loose ball and he tapped it into the net.
Within 30 seconds, Hendon had their first equaliser. Haule fed Duncan, who quickly passed to Daly. Daly crossed to the far post where Ross PICKETT rose well and guided a powerful downward header beyond Preddie's dive and into the net.
Pickett should have given Hendon the lead after 58 minutes when Phil Gridelet sent the striker clear. With only Preddie to beat, Pickett went for the aerial route over him rather than a low shot with much of the keeper's left post unguarded. The lob never looked like coming down in time as the strong wind carried it high over the crossbar.
After 71 minutes, Hendon fell behind again. The origin was similar to the first goal, but this time it was substitute Terry Bowes who ran onto the pass and he was in a more central position. Wilmot came out to narrow the angle, but BOWES beat him with a precise low shot into the corner.
Paul Adolphe was sacrificed in the 74th minute for Dale Binns, who quickly caused problems down the left wing. He should have done better, however, in the 82nd minute, when he beat Statham for pace and cut inside Chris Sparks. Although there were not many options in front of goal, Binns would have been best advised to have attempted a low cross rather than trying for glory from the acute angle he faced. His shot didn't trouble Preddie, striking the outside of the stanchion.
After Warren Kelly and Pickett had been replaced by Watson and Bontcho Guentchev, Hendon got the reward their perseverance deserved with 5 minutes to go. DALY found himself in some space 20 yards from goal and tried a shot at goal. Preddie seemed a little slow in getting down to the ball but he may have been unsighted. He got his arm to the ball but could not stop it and it rolled almost apologetically junst inside the far post.
With seconds remaining Preddie became Chesham's hero when he palmed away a rasping drive from Simon Clarke that seemed booked for the top corner of the net.
"That should bring the crowds back," said Mr Murphy. "Chesham are a good side, but so are we."