In an eventful game the deadlock was finally broken when Teddy Nesbitt latched on to a Tobi Coker pass to notch his first goal for the Urchins midway through the second half.
HORNCHURCH 1 ROMFORD 0
HFC – Mott, Bentley, Nesbitt, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Styles ©, Wall (Coley 87), McKenzie, Coker, Adeniji (Cohen 88)
Subs – Morrish, Hussain, Da Cruz
RFC – Chafer, Boswell, Marfo, Ishmail ©, Mallett, Bichard (Browne-Wykes 81), Olukoga (Adebayo 70), Grimme-Yexley, Reynolds (McKenzie 76), Taylor, Akpele
Subs – Barry, Cossington
Officials – Andy Loe with Jack Bloxham and Philip Evans
Scorer – Nesbitt 61
Bookings – Taylor 7 (RFC) – Chouman 45+2 (H) – Bichard 45+3 (RFC) – McKenzie 51 (H) – Cooper 53 (H) – Mallett 57 (RFC) – Bentley 58 (H) – Adeniji 88 (H)
Duration 49.00 + 50.00
HORNCHURCH 1 ROMFORD 0
Hornchurch had an early scare when Leon McKenzie went down and could only continue after some lengthy attention.
Three minutes later Sam Mott was felled by a very heavy and late challenge from Chris Taylor. After some consideration, and a discussion with the linesman, Taylor escaped with a yellow card, when many expected a straight red.
Ross Wall had an opportunity to give Hornchurch an early lead when put through by McKenzie, but he put his shot wide.
On ten minutes Ossie Adeniji ran on to a long kick by Mott, and, under pressure from Akwasi Marfo, still managed to get in a hard and accurate shot, and Callum Chafer did well to keep the ball out of the net.
Hornchurch continued to press, and two minutes later Wall fed a good ball to Jed Chouman, but he directed his shot over the bar.
Play switched to the other end, and Mott tipped a Nick Reynolds shot over the bar after good work on the right by Ryan Bowell. The corner was cleared but the ball was quickly played back, to the left wing, where Greg Akpele sent in a hard first time shot, and Mott dived to make a fine save, turning the ball around the post.
Hornchurch could have opened the scoring shortly afterwards, when Chouman broke through, and Boswell was forced to concede a corner. Nesbitt sent the ball into the middle and Elliot Styles rose above the defence, but his header was wide.
The half ended goalless, despite Hornchurch pressure, but there were two bookings in stoppage time, firstly Chouman, and then Kai Bichard.
Four minutes after the interval, Wall went close following a Nesbitt corner, and then followed a succession of bookings, as the visitors defended desperately and at times over-enthusiastically.
A goal seemed inevitable, and it came on 61 minutes, when Tobi Coker sent the ball over from the right, and Teddy Nesbitt turned past a defender and placed the ball firmly into the net for his first goal since joining from East Thurrock.
Styles headed narrowly wide from a Nesbitt corner, and Chafer made an excellent save to deny McKenzie.
Romford were forced to come forward, and Mott saved from Reynolds, and an Akpele centre was cleared by the hardworking Kenzer Lee.
Chafer then had to rush out of his area to kick away from Wall, who had beaten the defence to a long ball, whilst Nathan Cooper did well to deny the visitors a chance to draw level.
Hornchurch came under some pressure in the final ten minutes, but Ayrton Coley, who came on for the final few minutes, almost made things safe for Hornchurch when he weaved through, but was denied by an in-form Chafer in the Romford goal.
In the final minute of stoppage time, Romford were awarded a free kick ten yards out, but after a considerable delay, the kick was comfortably defended, and Hornchurch were deserved winners in a match that at times threatened to boil over, and referee Andy Loe dished out plenty of lectures to the fired-up visitors.