Despite the absence of three senior players - Jon Daly (work), David Adekola (flu) and Gary Fitzgerald (family illness) - Hendon's preseason form remained very encouraging on Thursday evening when Aylesbury were confidently overcome 2-0 at Buckingham Road.
There were two new arrivals in the Hendon squad: goalkeeper Luljan Gjeloshi and left midfielder Jason Soloman. Kosovoan Gjeloshi spent a couple of months at the LOOT Stadium last season. Soloman was the third former Buckingham Road favourite in the Hendon line-up, joining Iain Duncan and Warren Kelly.
Matt Bartholomew came in for Fitzgerald on the left side of the defence and, after 6 mintues, he was rather fortunate to receive only a lecture following some petulant retaliation to a late challenge. Being a friendly, referee Mr D Pennery, gave the tall defender a clear warning that any more nonsense would see him forcibly substituted.
The opening 20 minutes saw Hendon create a few chances, but fail to take them. Paul Johnson, a left wing-back shone again, but his shooting let him down on a couple of occasions. Paul Adolphe showed some nice touches as did Marvyn Watson.
It was no surprise that Aylesbury's defence would crack under the increasing pressure from Hendon's front duo of Davis Haule and Ross Pickett. It was veteran full-back Allan Pluckrose whose errant pass went directly to Pickett, who looked up, saw player-manager Gary Phillips off his line, and beat the 'keeper with a well-flighted chip.
Three minutes later. Pickett flicked a loose ball just inside the far post with the statuesque Aylesbury defence ball-watching. Phillips let the ball bounce past him, confident that the ball was missing the post, but his judgement was awry.
Aylesbury should have scored a minute either side of Pickett's second goal, and Darren Grieves lifted a shot over Gjeloshi but also wide of the near post from a good position, then shot wastefully over from another good position. Most of the time, however, Aylesbury were just feeding for scraps as Hendon dominated possession with growing assurance.
The second half was typical of a preseason friendly. A raft of substitutions and players deliberately being played out of position to see how they would fare meant the game became very stilted. It was still dominated by Hendon - with Simon Clarke playing some extravagent passes - and Gjeloshi was rarely troubled. The giant goalkeeper did exhibit some sound handling and great agility on a couple of occasions.
"We looked good tonight," said happy manager Frank Murphy. "We passed the ball around very well."