In a dominant Hornchurch performance it a took a 30 yard strike from Jed Chouman to finally break the deadlock and ensure the Urchins kept pace with the sides above them in the league.
HORNCHURCH 1 SOHAM TOWN RANGERS 0
HFC – Mott, Cohen, Bentley, Styles ©, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (Hussain 90+1), Wall, McKenzie (Tuohy 75), Coker (Joseph 60), Nesbitt
Subs – Coley, Da Cruz
STR – Conroy, Russell, Hall, Barker (Ramadan 76), Tennant, Groves, Carden, Horne (Kaye 64), Mulready, Charles, Swinton ©
Subs – Mochalski, Mason, Williams
Officials – Michael Heavey with Lior Koskas and Simon Higgins
Scorer – Jed Chouman 62
Booking – Mulready 39 (ST)
Duration 46.00 + 51.00
HORNCHURCH 1 SOHAM TOWN RANGERS 0
Hornchurch were without Ozzie Adeniji and Kenzer Lee, whilst James Morrish has linked up with Whitstable Town on a dual registration basis. Martin Tuohy was signed from Canvey Island in midweek.
On a bright and sunny day, Hornchurch, kicking towards the social club end of the ground in the first half, dominated throughout, but failed to capitalise on a number of chances, although the visitors rarely got close enough to the home goal to offer any kind of threat.
From a free kick it was Hornchurch who came close to opening the scoring, on ten minutes, when Teddy Nesbitt fired the ball over the defensive wall, and against the inside of the post, the ball then rebounding against Niall Conroy and thence out for a corner.
Abs Thompson, on the right wing, caused Soham plenty of problems, and from one of his devastating runs, his cross into the middle just eluded Leon McKenzie.
Ross Wall fired into the side netting from another Nesbitt free kick, as the calls for the referee to get his book out began to grow louder, and Nathan Cooper headed over from another Nesbitt free kick.
Tobi Coker went close, Conroy deflecting the shot out for a corner, and it was Coker who got onto the end of the corner, only to send his shot over the bar.
McKenzie went close, and Jed Chouman pulled his shot wide after Thompson had opened up the Soham left flank.
McKenzie ran on to a Thompson through ball but placed his shot too high, whilst, in a rare visiting attack, a long throw from Callum Russell ended up safely in the arms of Sam Mott.
Wall was the next to go close, from a Nesbitt pass, but when Coker conceded a free kick ten yards outside the area, the danger was averted when the ball was sent high and over the bar.
Shortly before the interval Joe Carden had a rare opportunity for Soham, but sent his shot wide of the target, and Simon Swinton sent a shot into the waiting arms of Sam Mott.
Hornchurch continued to press hard in the second half, Conroy saving well from Wall after Thompson had left the defence in tatters.
Thompson then moved inside, took a McKenzie pass, and Conroy turned the shot around for a corner.
Manager Jim McFarlane made an inspired substitution, bringing on Tobi Joseph, whose impact was immediate, when he won the ball in midfield and sent an inch perfect pass to Thompson, who again ran along the right and crossed, the ball being cleared by Joe Tennant.
Two minutes later Joseph started the move which led to a throw midway inside the Soham half, and Jed Chouman took possession, some thirty yards out, and he sent in a dipping shot which eluded Conroy and ended up in the net for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
Joseph then turned defender, heading away a rare Soham corner, and Martin Tuohy came on for McKenzie, who left the field to a warm ovation.
Wall directed a shot high and wide from a Thompson cross, and Tuohy ran on to a Thompson pass, and Conroy did well to keep the hard shot out of the net.
Two minutes later Tuohy again went close, the ball beating Conroy but rising over the bar.
Taj Hussain came on for Thompson as the match went into stoppage time, and it was Hussain who won a corner a minute later.
Jed Chouman, who had twice sent free kicks far too high and over the bar, almost added a second goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
Despite three minutes being indicated for stoppages, it was not until the 96th minute that the whistle signalled the end of the encounter, with Hornchurch keeping up the pressure on the leaders.