HARTLEY Wintney suffered a defeat as they went up against Hendon, another team striving to avoid relegation. 

In the first half the Dons had the advantage of a strong wind and the slight slope. The first chance arrived for Hartley on seven minutes. A clever interchange at a short corner from Reece Wylie and Adam Laaref gave a chance to the latter who saw his shot blocked.

The home side responded and posed a threat with set pieces delivered by Leo Donnellan. On seven minutes a corner on the left from Donnellan was headed over by Joe White. The Row held a slight edge but unable to make progress against a well organised defence.

On 18 minutes a chance arrived for Hendon. Shaun Lucien made good progress down the right and his cross found Niko Muir who set up White who fired over the bar.

On 22 minutes Zidan Akers showed good skill to get behind the home defence and his parting shot was saved by the Hendon goalie Hafed Al-Droubi with Maxwell Mullins unable to convert on the follow up.

The Dons forced a corner on 27 minutes and a perfect delivery from Donnellan was missed by everyone before going wide. The remainder of the half saw the Row well on top. On 30 minutes Mullins and Akers managed to get beyond the Dons defence. Mullins could have squared to Akers who had an empty net.

Instead the young striker shot which Al-Droubi managed to parry upwards. Akers was unable to direct the follow up header on goal and in the subsequent play Laaref shot wide when well placed.

Hartley remained on top and were very unlucky not to go ahead on the stroke of half time. Pressure around the Hendon goal eventually saw the ball come to Akers on the edge of the area. A measured curling effort from the winger saw the ball crash off the inside of the post and come out.

Hartley continued to be the more creative in the second period but without the end product of a goal. On 50 minutes Akers crossed from the left to Anis Nuur who shot straight at Al-Droubi when well placed.  The Row remained in the ascendancy and on 63 minutes should have gone ahead.  Afo Soyemi beat the offside trap and although his parting shot lacked power it went behind Al-Droubi. A covering Hendon defender got back to clear.

There was something inevitable with the opening goal. Hendon having been on the back foot for most of the match claimed the points with one of their very few openings. A ball found its way into the Hartley penalty area. Joe White managed to shoot and Marcin Brzozowski managed to tip onto the inside of the post. The ball rolled along the line and Niko Muir tapped into the net. (1-0)

Three minutes later a long ball from the right  into the Row area found Dan Matsuzaka who headed wide. Hartley strove to get level but the Dons held on for a important three points.

For Hartley it was a game of missed chances in addition to spurning a number of good situations.  With results elsewhere not going in their favour the Hartley Wintney chances of avoiding relegation now hang by a thread.