Hendon boss Gary McCann had many emotions after the safety-securing draw with Staines Town.
He said, “I am so proud of this group of players. They have given me everything over the past few weeks.”
As for the delay to the kick-off, McCann noted, “This was really difficult for us because it was only an advantage if the other results went our way. Five minutes before half-time we were safe and we didn’t give a hooey, then Burgess Hill scored their late winner and suddenly we were back in the relegation zone.
“It meant that we went into the dressing room with massive pressure on us and this was one of the most testing half-time team-talks I have ever had to give. We had to make a change and send on the more offensive-minded Keagan Cole for James Harper.
“It was fitting that one of the players who have been with me for a long time – one of my players – Casey Maclaren who scored the equaliser. He had been dropped deeper to play in James’s position, but he still had the energy and anticipation to get into a goalscoring position, something you don’t expect from your deep-lying midfielder.
“Once we had scored, I thought we continued to dominate the game and we really should have gone on to win. But so long as the game was level we couldn’t take too many chances.
“It was very tense as the game came to an end, but there could have been a real sting in the tale when we conceded those two late free-kicks.”
Talking about the run to safety, McCann said, “The squad has been magnificent, the old, new and borrowed players. We gave the changing room a target to achieve safety in the final ten games and even though we exceeded the target by two points, the original total would not have been enough. Once we had lost to Leatherhead, I reassessed our situation and the players responded diligently.
“It has been an incredibly difficult couple of seasons as I have rebuild the squad on numerous occasions and with this run, I have not had a chance to really enjoy the wins, performances or assess the situation. Now the season is over, I can do that for a few days, which I will do. The thoughts then move to next season.
“For a manager the end of one season is not the end of the work. Yes, we can take a week or two off, but that is all. The hard work of preparation for next season begins now and to avoid the difficulties of the last nine months a settled squad is paramount.”