In a fixture important to the play-off ambitions of both sides it was Hornchurch who came out on top running out 4-1 winners courtesy of goals from Abs Seymour, Leon McKenzie and a brace of headers from Kenzer Lee.
HORNCHURCH 4 PHOENIX SPORTS 1
HFC – Mott, Cohen, Nesbitt, Lee, Easterford, Styles © (Cooper 86), Bantick (Thompson 75) Chouman, McKenzie, Touhy (Purcell 78), Seymour
Subs – Wall, Hussain
PS – Phillips, Andrews, Probets, Bedford © (Bryon 70), Barry, Baker, Hopkins, Golding (Price 68), Power (Gordon-Young 15), Fairweather-Johnson, Pattison
Subs – Fitchett, Ansah
Officials – Gerry Heron with Olly Fyfe and Alex Stacchini
Scorers – Seymour 7 (H) – Fairweather-Johnson 18 (P) – McKenzie 19 (H) – Lee 40 (H) – Lee 74 (H)
Bookings – Styles 35 (H) – Bantick 47 (H) – Easterford 89 (H) – Thompson 90+2 (H)
Duration 47.00 + 50.00
HORNCHURCH 4 PHOENIX SPORTS 1
Despite the scoreline, it was the Hornchurch defence that took the honours, in a second half where play-off chasing Phoenix came back strongly, including a spell when they forced five corners in quick succession.
Hornchurch took an early lead when Sam Bantick intercepted a clearance and moved along the right wing, and his cross was converted by Abs Seymour at the far post.
Phoenix drew level eleven minutes later, when Dajon Golding centred from the left, and Theo Fairweather-Johnson headed home.
It took less than a minute for Hornchurch to regain the lead. Seymour played the ball deep upfield, and Gary Cohen was quick to intercept a Phoenix clearance. Cohen slotted the ball through and Leon McKenzie finished off in style to record his 38th goal of the season.
It could have been three when McKenzie linked up with Martin Tuohy, who in turn played the ball along to Bantick, but the shot went wide of the post.
Cohen and Bantick then sent Tuohy clear on the right, but his cross hit Ashley Probets and went out for a corner.
Sam Mott dealt with a Probets corner, and held on to two long throws from Russell Bedford, before Christie Pattison ran through, but, under pressure from Cohen, sent his shot wide.
Tuohy was a constant threat to the Phoenix defence, and he went close with a fine run past a retreating defence, but sent his shot too high and over the bar.
A Bantick shot was turned out for a corner, and Seymour sent the ball across, to Kenzer Lee, who headed home from close range at the far post.
As the half drew to a close, Bantick almost added a fourth, whilst another long throw from Bedford was turned away for a corner.
The second half started with a good run by Tuohy, whose cross found McKenzie, but his hard first time drive cannoned back off a defender to Bantick, whose follow up shot was deflected out for a corner.
Then came a spell of concentrated Phoenix pressure, resulting in five corners in quick succession, before Teddy Nesbitt finally cleared upfield.
Phoenix continued to press, but the fourth goal followed when a Nesbitt free kick was tipped over the bar by Steve Phillips. Seymour took the corner, and Kenzer Lee was again ideally placed to head home his second goal of the match.
Mott dealt with a free kick at the other end, where good defensive work by Lee, John Easterford and Styles prevented the visitors from getting any further shots on target.
Abs Thompson, George Purcell and Nathan Cooper all came on, but Phoenix had a chance to get back into the game when Easterford was penalised inside the area. Theo Fairweather-Johnson stepped up to take the penalty, and Sam Mott dived to save.
In stoppage time, Easterford went close with a header, and Purcell almost set up McKenzie in front of goal, only for Jack Barry to intercept the cross.