Bostik Premier: Met Police 1 Hendon 2
PUBLISHED: 09:32 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:19 12 September 2017
Keagan Cole’s stoppage-time goal earned Hendon the points at Imber Court on Saturday.
The Greens took an eighth-minute lead through Zak Joseph, but Jay Gasson got the home side back on level terms midway through the second half.
And it looked like honours would finish even until Hendon were awarded a late penalty, when substitute Cole was fouled in the box by Police keeper Luke Williams.
Cole picked himself up to take the spot-kick and, although Williams saved it, the Hendon player reacted quickest to tuck home the rebound and give Greens boss Gary McCann a win on his 700th match in charge of the club.
Arthur Lee had recovered from his midweek illness and returned to the heart of defence at the expense of Casey Maclaren, who was named among the substitutes.
There were two other changes with Michael Corcoran swapping his place on the bench with Cole’s in the starting line-up and with Reis Stanislaus having moved to Harrow Borough after the FA Cup exit, it gave Ashley Nathaniel-George the chance of a first start.
And the Greens made a strong, positive start, opening the scoring when Joseph fired past Luke Williams from the edge of the penalty area.
Hendon controlled the first half, but had only the one goal to show for it, while the Blues had only a single effort a of note, Ryan James side-footing a chance over the crossbar.
A half-time change by the Police saw Luke Robertson coming on for Joe Jackson and fortunes change as Hendon were put much more on the defensive. Midway through the half, the Blues were level when a free-kick was deflected into the path of centre-back Gasson, who headed past Tom Lovelock.
Hendon made all three of their changes in the final quarter, with Maclaren replacing Joseph, Ollie Sprague coming on for Corcoran and Cole taking over from Matt Ball.
Nonetheless, it looked as if honours would finish even until the 94th minute, when Williams came off his line and brought down Cole.
The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, something that brought a degree of dread into the heart of Hendon fans, following Niko Muir’s two spot-kick misses (one in a preseason game) and another from Ball, with the two league games eventually ending in defeats.
This time the responsibility fell on the shoulders of the youngest player in the team, 18-year-old Cole and his effort was at least on target, but Williams was able to parry the ball.
Fortunately for the Greens, the ball fell right back at the feet of Cole, who continued his run forward after taking the kick and put the ball into the net to seal a fourth win in six league fixtures and first away success.
The three points lifted Hendon up to fourth in the table, three points behind leaders Billericay Town, and puts them in good heart for Tuesday’s fixture at Dulwich Hamlet.
Hendon: Lovelock, Eggleton, Murphy, Diedhiou, Bray, Lee, Corcoran (Sprague 70), Ball (Cole 78), Joseph (Maclaren 66), Muir, Nathaniel-George. Unused subs: Ibe, Currie.