Shots survived an early scare to recover and progress in the FA Cup, thanks to a second half double strike from Danny Hylton.
With injuries to wingers Adam Mekki and Alex Rodman, Shots manager Dean Holdsworth gave a first home start to Kieron Cadogan and was also able to bring back top scorer Craig Reid. Despite the good form of Shots regular keeper Jamie Young, Holdsworth also gave a rare start and a home debut, to Southend loanee Glenn Morris.
Ryman League Hendon made a determined start and were strong in the tackle. They gave away a handful of free kicks in the opening ten minutes and Shots very nearly took the lead from one of them. Herd launched a long ball forward which was flicked on before landing in amongst a crowded area. Reid was onto it in a flash and swept the ball toward goal, only for it to rebound off the post. It then fell to Vincenti who similarly struck his own effort against the same post and somehow Hendon survived.
On 18 minutes, the visitors had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead following a clumsy late tackle by skipper Ben Herd on the edge of the area. Michael Murray had an excellent chance to curl home a 22 yard free kick but a deflection took the ball behind for a corner which came to nothing.
Cadogan was enjoying himself on his home debut and was perhaps the brightest Shots player over the opening half an hour. On 22 minutes, Herd made atoned for his earlier mistake by curling an excellent delivery into the box, Cadogan rose to head goalwards, but his effort went just wide.
Unfortunatley Michael Rankine, was having a game to forget. Nothing went right for the big centre forward and there were groans from the crowd when time and again Shots attacking moves ended with a miss-controlled pass or a poor effort.
On 28 minutes, Shots worst nightmare came true. Dean Cracknell let fly from fully 35 yards with a dipping right foot half volley which simply flew over Morris and into the net! 1-0 Hendon
In all honesty, The Shots could not complain. Their opponents had worked harder and appeared to want it more. Frustration began to creep into Shots play and evidently the home supporters were feeling it too. Little was coming off for Holdsworth's men and when rare openings were created, they were spurned. Hylton shot over from 30 yards and Vincenti couldnt connect properly with either of two headed attempts.
Boos rung out around the EBB as the teams went off at the break and after seeing their side score just two goals at home in seven and a half games this season, who could blame the Shots faithful.
A change was required, both in personnel and fortune! Holdsworth brought on Josh Payne for Rankine. Vincenti was pushed out wide and Hylton joined Reid up front.
Initially though, the frustration continued. First up a three or four minute delay for treatment to a Hendon player. Then Shots needlessly giving away the ball in midfield, two defenders getting in each others way and needlessly giving away a corner. Briathwaite then found himself totally unmarked from the corner, only to head wide. A let off for Shots, for whom the game could have been all over.
Huge relief all round on 57 minutes, Rose and Cadogan involved, Hylton stooping to head the ball home from 10 yards. 1-1. The Shots began to settle and control the game. Their attacking moves were far better constructed as a result and further openings were created for and by Vincenti, who looked comfortable on the left side, where he has played on several occasions now.
Cadogan remained the brightest of the Shots players and on 70 minutes, having started an attack, he almost finished it too. The ball was only half cleared to him, but his rasping drive was always fizzing over.
On 77 minutes, a golden chance for Shots to wrap the game up. Hylton did well down the left and Rose met it with a flying volley - well over. Minutes later, Rose returned the favour, crossing for Hylton, who should have done better with his unmarked header - just wide of the post.
It had been a scrappy, performance from Shots, lacking any real cohesion, but with just 6 minutes left, they wrapped the game up. Hylton again with the finish, a neatly struck shot from inisde the area, following patient build up play. Several players were involved in the move, but it was Craig Reid who laid the ball back and Danny poked home his third goal of the season.
There were five minutes added time played, in which only Payne threatened to add to the score when he cleverly lifted the ball back over a defenders head, before volleying just wide.
So, Shots scraped through and extended their unbeaten run to three matches now in all competitions. However, they won't kid themselves that there isn't still plenty to work on if they are to make upward progress in their quest to retain League football at the EBB.
Shots: Morris(G), Herd, Bradley, Brown, Tonkin, Cadogan (Morris) Vincenti, Rose, Hylton, Rankine (Payne) Reid (Donnelly). Subs not used: Young, Anderson, Branston, Munns. Att: 1822 (182 visiting fans)