HORNCHURCH 2 BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 2

HFC – Mott, Collis, Bentley, Styles © (Goodacre 48), Cooper, Morrish, Thompson, Lee, Knight (Da Cruz 56), Freeman, Coley
Subs – Woodward, Agombar, Hursit

BR – Bowles, Griggs, Jake Gould (Malton 54), Witherspoon, Josh Gould, Cripps ©, McDonald (Condon 65), Turner (Baker 88), Richardson, Kelly, Blackwell
Subs – Reakes

Officials – Tom Bishop with Ashley Hickson-Levence and Luigi Ngarella

Scorers – Freeman 36 (H) – Richardson 57 (BR) – Coley 65 (H) – Lee 80 (og) (BR)
Booking – Cooper 57 (H)
Attendance 144
Duration 47.00 + 49.00

HORNCHURCH 2 BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 2

Brightlingsea must be wondering how they ever managed to escape with a point in a match dominated by Hornchurch.

In the first half, Brightlingsea scrambled three shots off the line whilst another hit the post, as Hornchurch threatened to overwhelm the visitors.

After just five minutes, when already Abs Thompson had threatened twice on the right wing, Kenzer Lee saw his shot rebound off the post and the ball was scrambled to safety.

Brightlingsea, who took the field with a bewildering set of numbers – the outfield players were numbered from 36 to 51 – were rarely able to threaten the Hornchurch goal, the best they could achieve was a Phil Kelly shot which deflected slowly into the arms of Sam Mott.

They did however manage to win three successive corners, none of which caused any problems in the home defence, and the bulk of the first half action took place at the windmill end.

A Dave Collis throw found David Knight, and Ollie Bowles made an excellent save to turn the ball around the post.

Knight then headed over from a Thompson centre, and Ricky Freeman headed over a minute later, again from a Thompson centre.

As the pressure increased, Jake Gould conceded a corner to deny Knight, Collis floated the ball towards the far post, and Elliot Styles’ goal-bound header was deflected over the bar.

Ayrton Coley then sent a good ball over to Ricky Freeman, and his shot was scrambled off the line.

A goal soon followed. It started when James Morrish played the ball to David Knight, who in turn sent a pass to Ricky Freeman, who calmly rounded a defender, then another, before gliding the ball into the net.

Bowles was in action shortly afterwards, turning a hard Knight shot out for a corner. Collis sent the ball over towards the far post, and Styles headed a fraction too high and over the bar.

Styles needed attention shortly before half time, and three minutes into the second half he was replaced by Paul Goodacre, making his first appearance of the season after his slipped disc injury at the end of last season.

A minute earlier Thompson had left defenders trailing as he moved in rapidly from the right, only for his shot to hit the side netting.

Thompson repeated the performance four minutes later but this time his low cross into the middle was scrambled away.

Knight won another corner, Collis sent the ball high into the goalmouth, where Nathan Cooper, who had come forward in the absence of Elliot Styles, sent in a powerful header, which was deflected over the bar for another corner.

David Knight was then injured, although play continued for some lengthy time before he was allowed to receive attention, and he was stretched off, to be replaced by JJ Da Cruz, who played up front alongside Freeman.

Two minutes later, Cooper was booked for a challenge in midfield, and the free kick, which seemed to be going nowhere, ended up in the net for a surprise equaliser.

Hornchurch continued to press, and a Collis corner was scrambled off the line.

Hornchurch regained the lead when Sam Mott played the ball deep upfield and JJ Da Cruz touched on to Ayrton Coley, who set off on a long solo run, which ended when he calmly placed his shot wide of Bowles and into the net.

Brightlingsea, outplayed for long periods, then drew level again, when a speculative cross from the left ended up n the net, via Kenzer Lee.

JJ almost created a goal, but his shot was scrambled away for a corner, and Brightlingsea almost grabbed an undeserved winning goal, when, after winning two corners, Mott made an excellent save in stoppage time.