Hendon 0 AFC Wimbledon 2 . . .

Ryman League Premier Division . . .

Hendon slipped to just their second home league defeat of the season at a windy Claremont Road on Saturday afternoon.

In an entertaining game, played out in front of a crowd of 1,005, it was AFC Wimbledon who ran out 2-0 victors.

However, if the Greens had been able to take some of the chances they created, it could have been very different.

There was just one change to the starting line-up that won at Horsham seven days earlier, with Davis Haule being replaced by Belal Aiteouakrim, and it was Aiteouakrim who came close to giving the Greens an early lead inside the first minute, but his shot flew narrowly wide of the goal.

Both teams won corners in the first few minutes, but in the eighth minute the Wombles were given a penalty when the referee, who had an excellent game, ruled that Marc Leach handled the ball. Many observers from both sides felt that the decision was harsh.

Chris Hussey stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent the ball low into the corner of the net, having sent Luke Blackmore the other way. Ten minutes later, Steve Ferguson had a good chance to extend the lead when his headed effort was tipped wide by Blackmore.

Shortly afterwards, Hendon were awarded a free-kick in a good position after Aiteouakrim was fouled by Wimbledon skipper Jason Goodliffe. Leach stepped up, but his shot rebounded off the bar and Jamie Busby's follow-up flew over.

In the 36th minute, AFC Wimbledon had a second penalty shout, when it appeared that Daniel Webb was felled in the penalty area. However, the referee ruled that no offence had occurred and the game continued.

In fact, it took just another two minutes for the visitors to double their lead, and it was a well-worked goal. Webb worked his way to the byline and sent over a delicious cross that Romone Rose, who had managed to lose his marker, got up unmarked to head home.

Shortly before half-time, Wimbledon's Rob Quinn was booked for a nasty-looking challenge on Lee O'Leary. A melee ensued and both Hendon's Casey Maclaren and Wimbledon's Tony Finn were cautioned for their part in the proceedings.

As the game moved into first-half stoppage time, Hendon had a couple of good chances. Firstly, Aiteouakrim made a good run into the penalty area but was crowded out by the Wombles' defence, whilst the Greens were unable to take advantage of two fumbles by visiting keeper James Pullen, one of which saw a shot squirm under his body and require a goalline clearance to prevent a goal.

In the second half, Hendon took the game to AFC Wimbledon, and, whilst the visitors seemed content to stick with the long-ball option throughout the half, the home side got the ball down and consequently caused problems going forward and certainly won the battle in midfield.

Four minutes into the half, Danny Dyer sent in a low drive from distance, but Pullen was able to make an easy save. Meanwhile, at the other end, Ferguson shot wide. Ten minutes later, Busby had a 30-yard drive blocked on the edge of the area and the ball bounced away to safety.

Shortly after the hour mark, O'Leary delivered a through ball that ran just out of reach of Dyer. Had there been just a touch more accuracy on the midfielder's pass, Dyer would surely have been in on goal, as he had beaten the offside trap.

With 20 minutes to go, Hendon made a double change, sacrificing Leach and Dyer and bringing on further attacking options in the shape of Lubomir Guentchev and Davis Haule.

AFC Wimbledon's best chance of the second half came from a well-worked free kick, but Sam Hatton's strike failed to test Blackmore. The Hendon stopper did not have a save to make throughout the second half.

For most of the final quarter of an hour, the action was in and around the Wimbledon box, as the Greens tried to fashion a way back into the game.

Probably the best chance came in the 80th minute, when Guentchev worked himself into a bit of space and he drove a shot off the post with Pullen beaten. Brian Haule's follow-up would have flown into the net had Hussey not pulled off a great goalline clearance.

Two minutes later, it was Sam Page's turn to see his effort saved, when he headed a Guentchev free-kick straight at Pullen, and then Brian Haule was back in the action when he was nearly in on goal, but Pullen quickly closed him down and managed to grab the ball.

The Greens continued to pile the pressure on into injury time, and the final chance of the game fell to the younger Haule brother, but his shot was well saved by Pullen who tipped the ball wide for a corner.

"Obviously I'm disappointed with the result," said manager Gary McCann after the game, "but I'm pleased with our overall performance. We need to take our chances when they come along. We can take plenty of positives from the game and the players can hold their heads up high."

HENDON: Blackmore, Parker, Maclaren, Leach (D Haule 69), Page, Burgess (Hudson 90), Dyer (L Guentchev 69), O'Leary, B Haule, Aiteouakrim, Busby. Unused subs: I Guentchev, Wilmot.