The Urchins opened their league campaign with a 3-0 win over Soham Town Rangers as an early Warner strike was enough to give the hosts a half time lead. Soham improved after the break but a Purcell freekick and a Wall header sealed the points.
HORNCHURCH 3 SOHAM TOWN RANGERS 0
HFC – Mott – Hursit – Porter – Lee – Cooper – Bentley – Fairweather-Johnson – Styles © – McKenzie (Wall 67) – Purcell (Joseph 84) – Warner (Chouman 89)
Subs – Tuohy – Goodacre
STR – Pope – Buddle – Gardner – Norman – Endacott © – Hobbs (Bankole 79) – Russell – Clayton – Allan – Tricks (Hall 72) – Carden
Subs – Maina – Mochalski – Conway
Officials – Rick Bloy with Eddie Smith and Kane woods
Scorers – Warner 6 – Purcell 73 – Wall 83
Booking – Purcell 60 (H) – McBride 84 (H) (ordered to leave the bench)
Duration 47.00 + 48.00
HORNCHURCH 3 SOHAM TOWN RANGERS 0
Elliot Styles, making his 500th competitive appearance led Hornchurch to a convincing win over Soham, although, after taking an early lead, they had to survive a strong rally in the second half before two further goal made things safe.
After two minutes Hornchurch almost took the lead when Theo Fairweather-Johnson ran on to a George Purcell pass, and his shot was saved, and Brad Warner’s follow up attempt was cleared off the line.
Hornchurch did not have long to wait for their opening goal, which arrived four minutes later when Brad Warner ran on to a long clearance from Sam Mott, and although goalkeeper Joshua Pope got there first, he was dispossessed and Warner slotted home.
With Soham back peddling, Fairweather-Johnson played through to Purcell, but Pope made a good finger tip save, and a minute later dived at the feet of Purcell to grab the ball.
With no let up for an overworked Soham defence a Jamie Hursit free kick reached McKenzie, but, surrounded by defenders, he scooped his shot over the bar.
McKenzie again went close, from a Fairweather-Johnson pass, and then Fairweather-Johnson featured prominently in defence when he blocked a hard Callum Russell free kick, needing treatment before being able to continue.
Soham came more into the game as an attacking force, with Russell causing problems with a series of very long throws into the goalmouth, although most were dealt with by Nathan Cooper and Kenzer Lee, without troubling Mott.
Almost on half time Hornchurch nearly paid the price for failing to convert their many chances, when Mott made a fine save from Daniel Hobbs.
The second half saw Hornchurch having to defend, as Soham won three corners in the space of five minutes, and Mott twice fielded long throws from the ever-dangerous Russell.
Lewis Endacott, who had a minute earlier gone close with a header from a corner, then saved the day at the other end when he cleared a Jay Porter centre that was heading towards the waiting McKenzie.
Elliot Styles then rose high to head through to Purcell, who raced clear but he directed his shot too high and over the bar.
Mott saved well from a Russell free kick, but was fortunate when another free kick, conceded by Purcell, who picked up a yellow card in the process, reached Joe Carden, whose shot beat Mott and came back off the post. Mott was in action two minutes later, turning a Carden shot around the post, with Styles heading the corner away and Hursit completing the clearance, and it was beginning to look as though Hornchurch might rue their earlier missed opportunities.
Purcell opened up the left flank and fed this cross to Warner, but his hard first time volley went wide.
Harry Norman was given a lecture but not a yellow card when he conceded a free kick ten yards outside the area, and George Purcell stepped up to fire the free kick around the wall and past Pope for the second goal.
It was now very much one-sided and it was no surprise when Ross Wall moved quickly on to a Purcell free kick for the third goal.
Tobi Joseph replaced Purcell and was immediately in action with an excellent tackle to deny Russell, but the final minutes were mainly played out at the other end of the pitch, with Hornchurch good value for their three goal win.