Football: Jones finishes Hendon's run

Notts County 3 Hendon 0

HENDON HAD threatened to send Notts County the way of Leyton Orient, whom they defeated in an FA Cup first-round replay a year ago, but found the task beyond them at Meadow Lane. After holding the Second Division side to a goalless draw at home, the Ryman Leaguers resisted for an hour last night before three goals in 23 minutes eased County to a home tie with Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Gary Owers, who helped Sunderland reach Wembley in 1992, broke the deadlock before Gary Jones added two more in the closing 15 minutes as the Nationwide League team imposed their authority.

Hendon made a wasted journey last week, when thick fog caused the replay to be called off an hour before the scheduled kick-off. This time the teams had only steady drizzle to contend with, although it was enough to deter a thinly represented Nottingham public in a crowd of just 2,230.

Goal-shy County, struggling in the Second Division after winning promotion last year, had looked ripe for a giant-killing, more still after a fifth- minute injury to the midfielder Andy Hughes forced an early reshuffle. However, Hendon failed to capitalise on their best chances of the match, both of which came in the opening 10 minutes.

First, a well constructed move along the left flank was foiled when a timely block by Shaun Murray protected the goalkeeper Darren Ward from Freddie Hyatt's fiercely struck drive. Then, the striker Junior Lewis broke clear of the home defence only to be caught and dispossessed by Ian Richardson.

In the first half, at least, there was little to choose between the sides. A splendid stop by the goalkeeper Gary McCann denied County when the substitute Richard Liburd slid in to connect with Ian Hendon's cross, but this was a rare threat from the home side.

County failed to take advantage of another opportunity three minutes into the second half when Matt Redmile's header was cleared from under the Hendon crossbar by Gary Fitzgerald. McCann saved as Redmile made a second attempt from the rebound.

But their resistance ended when a move involving Jones and Liburd took the ball wide to Murray, whose squared pass from the left found Owers arriving on the 18-yard line. His powerful strike beat McCann with the aid of a deflection.

Jones effectively sealed County's win with a fine 75th-minute goal, his first in two months. Fed by Liburd's well-weighted pass, he tucked the ball inside McCann's far post with a diagonal shot from the right and added his side's third goal seven minutes from the end with a 25-yard lob after McCann had strayed off his line.

Notts County (4-4-2): Ward; Hendon, Redmile, Richardson, Pearce; Hughes (Liburd, 5), Garcia (Dyer, 88), Owers, Murray; Jones, Jackson (Quayle, 88). Substitutes not used: Beattie (gk), Fairclough.

Hendon (4-4-2): McCann; Howard, Bateman, Cox (Heard, 79), Clarke; Hyatt, Daly, Fitzgerald (Brady, 79), Pye (Kelly, 79); Whitmarsh, Lewis. Substitutes not used: Warmington, Gill (gk).

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn).

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