HORNCHURCH 1 WEST HAM UTD XI 2
The queues stretched right the way back to Bridge Avenue as hundreds poured into the ground for the first home match of the season, and inside they quickly snapped up all the programmes, not surprisingly as the new production is edited by Peter Butcher and is far and away the best for many years at the Bridge. Packed with information, and no padding, a credit to the new editor.
Everyone was able to get inside by kick off time, and both teams emerged to a packed ground, just as the rain began to fall heavily. On a very slippery surface, both teams took time to settle, and the visitors soon gathered momentum, when Sadler turned sharply to fire in a shot which Darren Behcet save at full stretch. The ball rebounded out to Dominic Vos, who played it inside to Dan Subuola, and his shot screamed over the bar.
Many thought Hornchurch had scored when Jo Flack turned quickly and hit in a hard drive, but the ball hit the post and stayed out of the goal. Jamie Richards then hit a first time shot over the bar, and Michael Spencer took a pass from Billy Coyne, cut in from the left and picked out Martin Tuohy, whose excellent drive was well saved by Gary Cowler.
With half time approaching, Hornchurch began to dominate, and they took the lead when JAMIE RICHARDS shot from thirty yards, and the ball screamed into the net. It could have been two a minute before half time when Elliot Styles hammered the ball goalwards, but it hit Jo Flack and looped over the bar.
With so many trying to get inside the ground, sales of the popular 50-50 tickets were lower than normal, as everyone was rushing to take up the few remaining vantage points under cover, but Max did his best to give away the £60 prize to the holder of ticket number 666 – but no one came forward.
As the rain poured down in the second half, Hornchurch almost scored when Jamie Dormer’s free kick found Elliot Styles whose header was well held by Gary Cowler. Kieran Sadler made a penetrating run though the middle and his shot went inches wide of the goal. And then West Ham introduced their secret weapon, in the shape of number 16 Danny Purdy. And within minutes they were level, when a long ball in from the left found JACK WERNDLEY and his shot from outside the area took a huge deflection wide of Darren Behcet and into the net. With Danny Purdy commanding he midfield, West Ham went in front when KIERAN SADLER hit a shot from from the left and into the net at the far post.
Ross Wall went close from a Tommy Black pass, and a free kick by Jonathan Hunt was headed narrowly wide by Paul Shave. Hornchurch forced three corners in quick succession, and Tambeson Eyong almost forced his way through the middle, and it was Tambeson again who crossed for Paul Shave to send a header just past the post. Hornchurch continued to press forward but the visiting defence held out as the rain at last eased and then stopped completely.