Leon McKenzie scored his 21st goal of the season midway through the second half as the Urchins continued their recent excellent league form which now extends to 14 games without defeat.
BRENTWOOD TOWN 0 HORNCHURCH 1
BT – Otuyo, Sampayo, Greenslade, Owusu, Martin (Burgess 46), Cavalier, Milner, Rees, Ogunbayo, Freeman, Bowens (Erhabor 89)
Subs: Cordara-Soares, Ngandu.
HFC – Mott, Bentley, Da Cruz, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (Hussein 88), Wall, McKenzie, May (Morrish 68), Cohen (Joseph 77).
Subs: Styles, Coley.
Officials – Dele Stoimirin with Sean Rudd and James Kerten
Scorer – McKenzie 68(p)
Bookings – Cohen 31 (H) – Cooper 33 (H) – Owusu 67 (BT) – Owusu 68 (BT) RED – Morrish 74 (H) – Cavalier 80 (BT)
Duration 48.00 + 50.00
BRENTWOOD TOWN 0 HORNCHURCH 1
On a pitch that can best be described as exceedingly heavy, and on a gloomy day where the referee was frequently the centre of attention, and with alarm bells ringing loudly for much of the second half from the nearby Brentwood Centre, the only goal came from a Leon McKenzie penalty midway through the second half.
Manager Jim McFarlane made two changes to the starting line up, Joey May and Gary Cohen replacing Junior Luke, who was serving a one match suspension, and Abs Seymour, who has joined Billericay Town.
The first twenty minutes was played largely in midfield, with neither side able to make much headway on the incredibly heavy surface.
The first opportunity came on 21 minutes when Leon McKenzie played the ball out to the right to Abs Thompson, whose run took him past two defenders, and he played the ball into the middle, where Gary Cohen scooped his shot over the bar from close range.
Nathan Cooper successfully defended a Brentwood corner, and Hornchurch had two chances to take the lead, the first when McKenzie fired over the bar from a Thompson cross, and the second when Cohen cut in from the left but miskicked the ball wide of the near post.
Cooper embarked pm a lengthy run from deep inside his own half, only to be tackled by Connor Martin on the edge of the area, the result being a free kick for Brentwood and a surprise booking for Cooper.
When Hornchurch were awarded a free kick ten yards outside the area, Jed Chouman and Joey May both lined up, and it was May who took the kick, the ball deflecting off a defender and into the arms of Muhammed Otuyo.
Hornchurch had a scare in first half stoppage time when Ife Gunbayo was allowed to get a clear run at goal, but he scooped his shot wide of both Sam Mott and also wide of the far post when a goal looked inevitable.
And in the third minute of stoppage time Cooper made a timely tackle to deprive a home forward as he was about to shoot.
Five minutes into the second half a May free kick found Kenzer Lee who headed the ball back across goal, but there was no one close enough to accept the gift.
Brentwood had a similar opportunity shortly afterwards but the cross drifted across the face of the goal, before going out for a goal kick.
Thompson twice created openings with runs from the right wing, and his pass reached Ross Wall, who was promptly brought down by Sam Owusu. It seemed an age before the referee eventually pointed to the spot, and Owusu was booked for the tackle. Animated discussions between defenders and the referee ensued. Eventually Leon McKenzie, who had patiently waited, deposited the penalty firmly into the net. Owusu attempted to continue the discussions with the referee who then waved a second yellow in his direction, and Brentwood were not only a goal down, but also a player down.
James Morrish then replaced Joey May and play at last recommenced.
Hornchurch had an excellent opportunity to increase their lead when Thompson drifted past three defenders, and then played the ball sideways, but somewhere in between McKenzie and Wall, neither of whom could get a touch.
The attendance of 188 was made up mainly of Hornchurch supporters, who then gave a loud welcome to Tobi Joseph who came on for the final fifteen minutes, having missed over twelve months following his double leg break against Bury last season.
Tobi was quickly involved, and his first touch led to a corner. Hornchurch were content to play out time, and Taj Hussain came on for Thompson.
Brentwood rarely threatened, and in stoppage time Joseph made a solo run in from the left, directing his shot just a fraction too high and over the bar.