Hendon’s play-off hopes are dashed by two defeats
18:46 22 April 2014
Hendon’s hopes of reaching the Premier Division play-offs were dashed with two defeats in three days over the Easter weekend.
Harbouring faint ambitions to finish the season inside the top five, Gary McCann’s side crashed to a stoppage-time 3-2 defeat against Grays Athletic on Saturday.
Two days later, Hendon were soundly beaten 3-0 by Bognor Regis Town. McCann’s side can now finish no higher than eighth.
Defeat to Grays on Saturday left a particularly bitter taste for Hendon, being the third match in succession in which they have conceded a decisive goal in injury time.
Christopher Benjamin gave Grays the lead during the first half, but Dave Diedhiou equalised, before Joel Nouble restored Grays’ lead with just seven minutes remaining.
Hendon hit back once more as Michael Murray converted a penalty to level the scores again. However, Benjamin grabbed his second in the dying seconds to win it for Grays.
Monday’s contest was a far more one-sided affair, as Hendon appeared to finally run out of steam. Ollie Pearce and Terry Dodd put Bognor in control at half-time.
Hendon keeper Danny McNicholas was sent off on his debut for violent conduct, and Ben Johnson converted the penalty to seal a routine win for Bognor.
McCann admitted his disappointment at his side’s late-season capitulation.
He said: “I have a very honest bunch of players, and they have given me all the effort I could have asked for but, once again, we have made some bad mental errors at key moments in the game.
“Coming to the end of the season, as with every team, there is a lot of tiredness and tired players are more likely to make mistakes. This has been our downfall in recent games.”
Hendon have confirmed that coach Junior Lewis will leave the club at the end of the season.
Lewis has been a coach at the club for three seasons, and achieved hero status as a player for his winning goal against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup in 1997.
A Hendon spokesman said: “Everyone at the club wishes Junior every success for the future”.