HARTLEY Wintney and Hendon played out an exciting match at Green Lane with the Dons taking the spoils 3-2 to maintain their place amongst the division leaders.

It was the visitors who took the initiative early on and three early corners had the Row under pressure.

However, on 10 minutes completely against the run of play Hartley took the lead.

A free-kick on the right found the head of Jack Ball whose header across goal found Mikey Campbell whose shot crossed the line despite the best efforts of Danny Boness in the Hendon goal.

Three minutes later Ricardo German created a chance for himself and his drive was tipped over by Adam Desbois.

The game flowed from end to end and on 15 minutes a good Row move saw Jack French feed Jack Beadle who set up Mikey Campbell who fired wildly over when well placed.

Two minutes later, Hartley had another good chance when a Webb corner found Jacques Kpohmouh who shot over when well placed.

On 21 minutes, the Row had another chance when Campbell set up Josh Webb on the edge of the box. The midfielders shot was blocked and Nathan Smart’s follow up went wide.

Three minutes later the Dons pulled level.

A good move through the left of midfield fed Marvin Morgan who played in Stephane Ngamvoulouwho forced the ball past Desbois.

On 41 minutes, Shaqualle Hippolyte-Patrick tried his luck from distance and his shot was saved by the well placed Desbois.

The Row came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and on 46 minutes should have went ahead.

A ball from the left found Luke King unmarked in front of goal.

The full back hit the goalkeeper with his first effort and saw his second effort saved.

On 51 minutes, Hippolyte-Patrick got in behind the Row defence and his low cross went across the front of the goal without any takers.

Five minutes later, the Row restored the lead after some pressure.

Luke King got in behind the Hendon defence and his cross found Mikey Campbell.

His shot was blocked but Jack Ball following up shot home from five yards.

Hartley came close to increasing the lead when a long throw from King found Jack Beadle who saw his effort blocked. Hendon pulled level on 63 minutes for a second time when good work by Marvin Morgan set up Hippolyte- Patrick who ran on to score.

Hartley had a chance on 65 minutes when a deft pass from Nic Ciardini set Campbell in for a one on one. Boness came out and saved well.

Play moved down to the other end and Hendon went ahead for the first time on 71 minutes. Conner Calcutt showed good determination down the left and his cross found Laste Dombaxe.

The midfielder fired a low shot at goal from 25 yards which found the corner of the net with Desbois appearing to be unsighted.

Hartley finished strongly and on 85 minutes a Smart cross was only partially cleared.

Josh Webb’s volley from the edge of the area went just over.

In the final onslaught a Steve Noakes throw was cleared to Josh Webb who saw his effort saved by a well-positioned Boness.

For the Row the first home loss of the season and the first loss against one of the top sides.

In a league where matches are decided on fine margins they will perhaps reflect on this one as the one that got away.

Hendon played a good open style of football which gave the opportunity of goals at both ends of the park. Unfortunately for Hartley they failed to take at least four gilt edged chances and at the other end conceded rather soft goals.

A good entertaining match for the big crowd to enjoy.

Afterwards, Hartley’s joint manager Anthony Millerick said: “I thought we shipped three very soft goals. They were all preventable. We are on a learning curve and at this level we must kill games off.

He added: “Obviously other clubs have bigger budgets but we still expect to do well against them. Jack Beadle had a good debut and Nathan Smart had a good game. In general disappointed that we lost a game we should not have.”

Hartley go again on Tuesday, when they travel to Thatcham for a League Cup tie.