HORNCHURCH 2 MAIDSTONE UNITED 0
No changes from the squad which sealed Aveley’s fate five days earlier, and today they repeated the performance which this time sent Maidstone down to the Southern division. Maidstone brought a large following with them, and they urged on their team from the start. For them, it was simple – they had to win, and Hastings needed to lose. A free kick by Ellis Green was well fielded by Danny Knowles, and a long throw by Alex Flisher was held on the line by Knowles. Hornchurch, kicking towards the windmill end of the ground, got into their stride and Jonathan Hunt combined with Dave McSweeney to play a good pass to Sam Collins, who glided the ball on to Martin Tuohy, who rounded Laurence Harvey but hit his shot over the bar. Tuohy then took a pass from Dave Collis, and slotted the ball ahead of Lewis Smith, but keeper Andy Walker came out quickly to grab the ball at the edge of the area.
Flisher fired a shot over the bar, whilst a Rickie Hayles massively long throw was touched on by Frankie Curley to Lewis Smith, who hit his shot past Walker but across the face of the goal. Ronnie Fletcher conceded a corner, which Green sent into the goalmouth and Elliot Styles headed powerfully away. A penetrating run by Flisher ended with Fletcher heading the cross out for a corner, which came to nothing. Hunt then sent an excellent pass to Lewis Smith who in turn found Martin Tuohy, whose shot was held by Walker on the line.
Maidstone piled forward in desperation, and Styles conceded a corner when Jay May almost broke through. Green sent the ball over and Fletcher headed out for another corner, which was again taken by Green, and this time cleared by Collis. A third corner in as many minutes was cleared by Fletcher, and Maidstone began to run out of ideas. Fletcher fed a good pass to Smith, thence on to Tuohy, and again to Curley, whose shot was saved on the line by Walker. A Hunt corner was played back by Smith to Hunt, whose sent the ball back into the goalmouth where Harvey cleared.
Martin Tuohy received an elbow in the face and needed lengthy attention, and it was in the fourth minute of stoppage time that Hornchurch at last got the break through they had threatened to get. Jonathan Hunt started the move with a good pass to Lewis Smith who held off a challenge and played the ball through to FRANKIE CURLEY, who ran on and glided the ball past Walker to open the score.
Maidstone supporters were despondent and even more so when they heard that Aveley had taken a two goal lead at Hastings. Maidstone came forward at the start of the second half, and Colin Richmond found Green on the left. Green made ground and crossed into the goalmouth where Fletcher headed away for another Green corner, which came to nothing. Although it was a bright sunny day, a dark cloud of gloom settled over the visitors, and on 51 minutes their fate was sealed. A foul in midfield and referee Keith Yeo allowed Lewis Smith to take a quick free kick, and the ball was played out to Jonathan Hunt on the left. Hunt carried on and played the ball low into the goalmouth for MARTIN TUOHY to tap home.
Michael Spencer came on for Rickie Hayles, and Hornchurch now dictated the game. Smith to Spencer and Michael’s first time shot was well saved by Walker. And then it was Spencer to Hunt to Tuohy, and Walker made another good save from the resulting cross. Fletcher played a long pass to Smith whose shot was deflected for a corner by Lye. Hunt played a quick short corner with Smith and then hit in a hard shot which went narrowly wide of the post. Maidstone briefly retaliated with two corners, which first Fletcher and then McSweeney cleared, and Ashley Taylor-Forbes came on for Hunt. Another Maidstone corner was cleared, and whilst at the other end a Tuohy shot was blocked. Maidstone had little left to offer and Hornchurch were comfortably in command. Smith sent Tuohy away and Walker raced out to clear. Taylor-Forbes also gave a shooting chance to Tuohy but this was also blocked.
Brian Haule came on for Tuohy, and it was a Spencer – Curley move which led to a good shot by Curley which was blocked by Dan Stubbs. The ball rebounded to Elliot Styles, but his follow up shot was wide. In stoppage time Maidstone forced one more corner, but throughout the made, and despite some periods of seemingly heavy pressure, Danny Knowles did not have to stop a direct shot on goal.