The Urchins staged a fantastic second half comeback as they came from 2-0 down to overturn Bury Town 3-2 with goals from Leon McKenzie and a brace from Ross Wall.
HORNCHURCH 3 BURY TOWN 2
HFC – Mott, Bentley ©, Da Cruz (Coley 46), Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (Cohen 88), Morrish (Styles 26), McKenzie, Wall, Luke
Subs: Joseph, Hussain
BT – O’Sullivan, Allan, Cusack, Kennedy, Debenham, Clements, Garrett, Read, Mayhew, Barber ©, Aitkens (Yaxley 68)
Subs – De’Ath, Yallop
Officials -Andreas Anastasiou with Alzate Guzman and William Davis
Scorers – Cooper 34 (og) (BT – Mayhew 59 (BT) – McKenzie 66p (H) – Wall 69 (H) – Wall 74 (H)
Booking – Luke 76 (H)
Duration 45.00 + 48.00
HORNCHURCH 3 BURY TOWN 2
Bury’s original attempt to play the match at Bridge Avenue was thwarted by a heavy frost, and they were delighted when they went two goals up in the rearranged fixture midway through the second half, only for Leon McKenzie to set the scene for a pulsating come-back, with three goals in ten minutes.
There were no changes to the side that had beaten Waltham Abbey three days earlier, but Hornchurch found it far more difficult against Bury, who started confidently, and Sam Mott had to move sharply to tip a curling shot from Remi Garrett around the post.
Bury continued to impress, and Mott was again in action, when he saved well from Garrett a few minutes later.
Garrett was causing a few problems and a well-flighted cross found Josh Mayhew, but an alert Mott was well placed to make the save.
A minute later a free kick found the home defence lacking, and Mott was called into action to make another fine save.
Mott then saved from Luke Read, as Bury continued to enjoy the territorial play.
Hornchurch began to come more into the game when a long clearance from Mott found Leon McKenzie, who could only direct his header over the bar.
Ross Wall then gave McKenzie an opening, but keeper Neil O’Sullivan narrowed the angle to make a good save, at the expense of a corner. Jed Chouman took the kick and Nathan Cooper headed over.
Hornchurch lost James Morrish with an injury, and Elliot Styles came on in his place.
Five minutes later, Nathan Cooper was in action at the other end, when, under pressure from Mayhew, he could only divert a cross from Garrett into his own goal.
Hornchurch quickly came back, with Junior Luke going close after Abs Thompson had provided the opening with a rapid run down the wing.
Hornchurch went close a minute later when Luke’s shot was blocked, but the clearance was returned to Ross Wall, who ran forward, and his shot beat O’Sullivan, only for the ball to drift wide of the far post.
Ayrton Coley came on for the second half, replacing JJ Da Cruz, with Luke dropping back.
Coley was quickly involved, when his run was cut short by Tevan Allen, and Chouman’s free kick found Kenzer Lee, whose header was wide of the goal.
Five minutes later Thompson opened up the right flank, but McKenzie fired his shot over the bar.
Bury increased their lead when Josh Mayhew scored from a Noel Aitkens cross, and it began to seem as if Hornchurch were heading for a home defeat.
On 64 minutes, Ayrton Coley broke through, and was brought down inside the area. Leon McKenzie made no mistake from the penalty, and Hornchurch were back in the game, which five minutes earlier had appeared to be beyond reach.
Coley made a similar run two minutes later, and again went down, but this time play continued, as Bury came under heavy pressure.
On 68 minutes McKenzie opened up the visiting defence, before slotting through to Ross Wall, who placed the ball past O’Sullivan and into the net to bring the scores level.
Six minutes later Kenzer Lee left the Bury defence in total confusion, and he crossed to Ross Wall, who put Hornchurch ahead for the third Hornchurch goal inside ten minutes.
Bury came back strongly, Mott saving from substitute Joseph Yaxley, and Hornchurch had to withstand some heavy pressure in the final few minutes, with Mott again saving well, and Elliot Styles making an important interception in stoppage time.
Three very hard earned points and Hornchurch remain in fourth place in the league.