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Hendon's unbeaten run is over - now McCann wants another one

PUBLISHED: 15:45 25 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:45 25 August 2015

Hendon boss Gary McCann. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

Hendon boss Gary McCann. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

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Hendon boss Gary McCann has challenged his side to start another unbeaten run after East Thurrock United inflicted their first league defeat since January.

Lewis Smith’s injury-time winners for the visitors last night (Monday) secured a 2-1 victory and meant the Greens succumbed to their first loss in the Premier Division for 21 games, and 25 in all competitions. The result also marked Hendon’s first home defeat since August 2014.

McCann said: “I’m proud of my players for the unbeaten run we’ve put together, which stretches back to January.

“All good things ultimately come to an end though, and it’s how you respond to disappointment and defeat which shows the type of characters you have in your squad.

“The games come thick and fast in this division, which is a good thing, and I’ve got no doubt my lads will bounce back and get another run going – they won’t let themselves be down after this.”

Sam Murphy’s penalty cancelled out Smith’s opener on Monday and the teams were tied at 1-1 in the sixth minute of stoppage time – but Smith then smashed the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

While insisting it was not an excuse for his side’s defeat, McCann bemoaned the situation regarding Farnborough, which he feels had a part to play.

Farnborough have appealed to the Football Association over the Ryman League’s decision to impose a £30,000 bond if they want to compete in the Premier Division this year, which has resulted in their first three games of the season being postponed.

As a result East Thurrock, who were due to play Farnborough on Saturday, had no game whereas Hendon had a six-hour round trip to face Needham Market – a game they won 3-0 – and then only a two-day turnaround before Monday night’s game.

McCann added: “I can’t lie and say it didn’t have a bearing on the performance. It’s not just affecting us but other teams in the league, too. All the uncertainty is good for no-one, so that issue must be sorted soon.

“You could tell in the first half we were jaded, whereas East Thurrock had energy and tempo to their game.

“It took us 35 minutes to get into the game, and we found it hard to adjust from the hot, sticky pitch on Saturday to the wet, slick surface at Earlsmead.

“With that said, after the break only one team looked like they were going to win the game. I didn’t think we’d done enough to win but we were certainly much improved after the break and didn’t deserve to lose it.

“It was a real sucker punch to lose in the manner we did, but sometimes you have to put your hands up and say fair play, as their winning goal was rather special.”

Next up for Hendon is a trip to face leaders Leiston on Saturday, followed by a ‘home’ game against their landlords Harrow Borough, who share the Earlsmead ground.

“There is no let-up in this league. We’ve got another long road trip which will be demanding for us, but it’s a welcome opportunity for us to get back to winning ways,” said the manager.

“We’ve now got two games in quick succession, which if we win would very much get us back on track in terms of the targets we set before the season started.

“I think we’ve done well considering the challenges we’ve had to overcome, with suspensions and injuries, and before Monday night we were well on track with those targets.

“That defeat will serve its purpose though if it gives us the bolt we need to push on up the table.

“That said, the level of performance on Monday – particular in the first half – is not something I accept, especially as we have aspirations of getting promoted, so I’ve made that clear to the boys.”

Meanwhile, the draw for the first qualifying round of the FA Cup has been made and the Dons will visit the winners of the tie between AFC Sudbury and Ware on Saturday September 12.

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