AFC HORNCHURCH 1 CANVEY ISLAND 2
Hornchurch threw away three points after dominating the first half, and then conceding a farcical goal, to go in level at half time when they should have been comfortably ahead. Hornchurch kicked towards the windmill end in the first half and almost took the lead in the first minute, when Frankie Curley headed inches wide from Michael Spencer’s free kick. And a further chance was missed when Simon Glover slid the ball in front of Martin Tuohy, who raced towards goal and then cracked his shot narrowly wide of the post.
Canvey came under heavy pressure and Hornchurch swarmed up field. Tambeson Eyong played a good cross into the centre and then tried a similar run, but this time Ashley Dumas played the ball out for a corner. Spencer floated the ball deep into the goalmouth and ELLIOT STYLES powered his header into the net.
Eyong made another good run before putting the ball out to Ashley Taylor-Forbes on the left, and Ashley turned inside but hit his shot over the bar. Lewis Smith then sent Taylor-Forbes away and Ashley played the ball inside to Tuohy, whose hard drive skimmed the post. A Spencer free kick found Tuohy whose shot was deflected inches wide of the goal for a corner, which Spencer sent into the middle and Curley went close.
Canvey drew level in controversial circumstances. Dave McSweeney made a perfect tackle ten yards outside the area, but he who shouts loudest wins the free kick, and the referee stopped play and booked McSweeney. The free kick was floated into the goalmouth, where it seemed an easy catch for Darren Behcet, but inexplicably he missed the ball completely and a surprised and delighted DANNY HEALE was left with a simple chance right in front of goal. This seemed to upset the rhythm of the Hornchurch side and they allowed Canvey to come into the match, though the best they could achieve was a corner which Reiss Noel cleared and a cross which was dropped by Behcet for another corner.
The second half was a very disjointed affair, with lengthy stoppages during which the referee handed out even lengthier lectures left right and centre, whilst producing cards when they were least expected and not producing cards when they were eagerly anticipated. Martin U=Tuohy again went close with a shot which James Russell touched around the post for a corner, and Russell was again in action when he had to grab a long ball from Darren Behcet with Lewis Smith homing in at speed. Behcet made a good save from Leon Gordon to concede a corner, and then Canvey went ahead when keeper Russell punted a long ball up field and ROB KING was allowed far too much space, when he ran on and scored with a well placed drive. The scorer then ran into the crowd to celebrate with a handful of visiting supporters, but escaped getting a yellow card, with the referee ignoring the linesman who had indicated the offence.
A disgraceful scene right in front of the Canvey bench occurred shortly afterwards, and after a confab between the three officials, no action was taken, to the obvious relief of the offender who was fully expecting a red card, which would and should have left the visitors a player down. Yet just a minute later Simon Glover and John Easterford were booked for a comparatively minor incident.
Hornchurch came back, and almost levelled when keeper Russell missed a cross and then touched it onto the cross bar, and Martin Tuohy just failed to touch the ball into the net. Russell then saved well from Spencer’s free kick, to concede another corner. Spencer put the ball over and Russell did well to palm it away. Jon Hunt and Jo Flack came on, for Glover and Lewis Smith, whilst Aaron Gayle was already on for Taylor-Forbes, and Hornchurch pounded the visiting goal.
A corner on the right was taken by Hunt and Elliot Styles headed powerfully into the net, but the referee disallowed the goal and booked a surprised Frankie Curley instead. Another Hunt cross led to a corner which Spencer sent over and Jo Flack headed inches over the bar. Despite there being numerous stoppages and considerable time wasting, just four minutes were added on. Canvey briefly broke the pressure with a corner of their own, but Hornchurch came back strongly and Jo Flack went close before the same player met a Spencer cross, and headed downwards, only for the ball to bounce high and over the bar.
Three points lost in a match which Hornchurch should have won with ease.