METROPOLITAN POLICE 0 AFC HORNCHURCH 2
It was the usual horrendous journey around the M25 – jams at the bridge, Clacket Lane and then the last ten miles to junction 10, which necessitated a quick re-think and a detour via junction 8. A hot sunny day, a strong wind, and an undulating pitch. No teamsheets, (no photocopier), no badges (no club shop), and no spectators, with just 85 inside the ground at kick off time. The crowd was officially 171, though it appeared to be considerably less, and the Hornchurch following, made up 90 percent of the attendance. And what must be a first at any ground, you could get powdered Bovril at the tea bar.
Hornchurch came out in their new purple / mauve/ lilac / violet (delete where applicable) strip, which was something of a surprise as the home side came out in blue, although there was no colour clash. And keeper Joe Woolley made his debut – Joe spent four years with Charlton Athletic, before joining Grays Athletic in 2008-09. He then played for Barkingside, winning the Essex Senior League Cup. Joe then had three seasons with Thurrock, where he was player of the year. In March 2011 he joined Harlow Town, and signed for Chelmsford City during the summer of 2011.
In the near deserted ground, it was the home side who kicked with the strong south westerly wind in their favour, quickly winning a corner which Tyron Smith floated across, but without creating any danger. Hornchurch soon began to come into the match as an attacking force, and a long throw from Joe Anderson found Aaron Gayle whose spectacular overhead kick was a fraction too high, the ball landing on the cricket pitch behind the goal. Frankie Curley introduced Tambeson to the Met with an excellent through ball, and Tam powered through the middle but his shot was blocked by Orlando Jeffrey.
Tam’s next sortie ended in the almost obligatory free kick, and with Lewis Smith lurking, it was Joe Anderson who stepped up to curl the ball around the wall, only for keeper Jamie Butler to make the first of many fine saves, to touch the ball around the post. Lewis Smith played the corner short to Dave McSweeney, and took the return pass, and promptly won another corner. With Hornchurch dominant, Martin Tuohy took a pass from Simon Glover and slipped the ball through to Eyong, whose run ended in a third corner in quick succession.
Anderson then sent over a long free kick which keeper Butler just grabbed as Tuohy homed in at speed., whilst a free kick by Elliott Styles found Frankie Curley whose shot was over the bar.
The Police came back strongly and Reiss Noel had to race across to concede a corner when Tony Finn threatened. Tyron Smith took the corner and Curley headed out for a further corner. Tyron Smith again sent the ball over, and this time it was Anderson who cleared. Tambeson had to come back quickly when the Police broke clear, and this led to another corner. Again it was Tyron Smith who sent the ball over and Joe Woolley made a clean catch.
Anderson sent a good pass out to Lewis Smith, who made ground on the left and put over a good centre, which Gayle headed just a little too high and the ball skimmed the bar. The half ended with yet another corner, this time to the Police, but Tyron Smith sent the ball over too low and it was headed away.
Hornchurch attacked strongly in the second half. A lengthy Eyong run saw him power through the defence, and Butler did well to keep the shot out, turning the ball around for a corner. Lewis Smith took the kick and this led to a free kick a few yards outside the area. this time it was Anderson who did the lurking, and Lewis who fired the free kick narrowly wide of the post. Joe Woolley was then called into action, and he responded well, diving to keep out a goal bound drive, and making a spectacular save to touch the ball out for a corner. Tyron Smith took the kick as usual, and then took another one when Glover played the ball out.
A good run through the middle by Stafforde Palmer ended with Reiss Noel cutting off his approach to goal and again conceding a corner. But this time Tyron Smith’s kick was quickly played out to Eyong, whose sixty yard run opened up the home defence. Tam then slipped the ball to Lewis Smith, out on the left, and Lewis quickly played it in to Martin Tuohy, whose first time shot went just inches wide of the post. Keeper Butler then rose well to catch a corner from Joe Anderson, and an Anderson run along the wing led to a good pass to Lewis Smith whose shot went for yet another corner. Back to the other end and it was Craig Brown who linked with Stafforde Palmer, and Elliott Styles came across quickly to concede a further corner, which this time was taken by Tony Finn, as the influential Tyron Smith had limped off a few minutes earlier.
But with Hornchurch powering forward, and with the Police unable to stop Tambeson Eyong. Enter Michael Spencer, who tore the home defence apart, and it was no surprise when Hornchurch took the lead, in a move which was built up from defence, and which ended when Jamie Butler was beaten to the ball by Aaron Gayle, who swivelled around the keeper and place the ball across goal for MARTIN TUOHY to glance home.
Tambeson then made another lengthy run and powered in from the right, to earn another corner. Spencer took the kick and Butler managed to tip the ball to safety. On came Jo Flack for Aaron Gayle, and again it was Michael Spencer who opened up the defence, with a lengthy run followed by a cross to Martin Tuohy, who turned and placed the ball in front of JO FLACK, who calmly placed it into the net.
The Police had the ball in the net shortly afterwards, but the flag was up for offside, and back came Hornchurch, with Tambeson racing through from inside his own half. Just how keeper Butler kept the shot out only he will know, but it was an amazing save. Dave Collis came on for Tuohy, and Hornchurch were content to play out the few minutes that remained, with the home side managing just one further attack which ended in the almost predictable corner.