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Hendon beat basement boys Cray Wanderers before holding leaders Wealdstone

Leon Smith (front) in action for Hendon. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk Leon Smith (front) in action for Hendon. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
1:33 PM

Hendon have not given up on reaching the play-offs after beating basement boys Cray Wanderers on Saturday before holding league leaders Wealdstone to a goalless draw last night.

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The four points that have been secured in the past week leave the Greens three places outside the top five – although it remains to be seen what will happen with second-placed Maidstone, who, as it stands, will be unable to win promotion due to their 3G pitch.

Cray looked to defend at Earlsmead on Saturday, but they have conceded more than three goals per game this season and the Greens broke the deadlock after 12 minutes.

Former Wingate & Finchley striker Leon Smith ran onto a pass 30 yards from goal and, seeing space ahead of him, advanced to the edge of the box before drilling a powerful shot past Darren Behcet.

The Wands’ defence improved but they offered little threat at the other end of the field, and the chances kept coming for Hendon as Ugo Udoji narrowly avoided an embarrassing own goal and Michael Bryan saw his lob over the advancing Behcet cleared off the line.

Cray improved after the interval and Paul Vines headed against the bar before Joe McDonnell produced an excellent save to stop Moses Ashikodi’s drive – and Giannoulis Fakinos then volleyed straight at him.

Dons substitute Jose Figura nearly scored within two minutes of coming on, seeing his header saved, but the visitors were only one goal down in the final minute – and the home side then conceded a free-kick on the edge of their box.

Unfortunately for Cray it was a poor effort, allowing Hendon to break – and when they consequently won a free-kick at the other end, they showed the visitors how to do it .

Michael Murray sent a perfectly-weighted delivery into the danger area, and Maclaren arrived late to slide the ball home at close range and put the game to bed.

Gary McCann’s Greens were at home again two days later, but this time they were hosting the team at the very top of the table, Wealdstone.

The 575-strong crowd – the vast majority coming from the Stones – was Hendon’s largest home crowd since they left Claremont Road in September 2008.

Both sides had penalty appeals turned down but the defences were generally on top and chances were at a premium in a largely uneventful 0-0 draw.

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