AVELEY 2 AFC HORNCHURCH 3
A full moon is always guaranteed to bring out something unusual, and in this case it was the local yob population, who made themselves thoroughly unpleasant throughout the match. It also brought out a crowd of 301, which for the most part consisted of Hornchurch supporters.
Hornchurch made one enforced change from Saturday, as Dave McSweeney was nursing an injury and Ronnie Fletcher came into the starting line up. Frankie Curley is serving a three match suspension. Darren Behcet has now joined Maldon & Tiptree, whilst Sam Collins has moved on from Concord, and has joined East Thurrock.
Hornchurch kicked up the slope in the first half and the Purple People Eaters were quickly on the offensive. Reiss Noel headed away Aveley’s initial charge and the ball fell to Tambeson Eyong, who made his trademark power run down the right, and his hard hit cross cannoned away for a corner. Jon Hunt floated the ball over and ELLIOT STYLES headed home.
And a minute later it could have been two, when Hunt’s curling free kick rounded the wall and skimmed the post. Despite having to face the gale, Hornchurch continued to dominate, and when Martin Tuohy slipped a pass out to Eyong, the resulting run ended in another corner. Hunt again sent the ball over, and Dave McCartney rose to catch the ball. A third Hunt corner followed and this time it was Tony Russell who made the clearance, but when Tuohy’s run ended in yet another corner, Hunt this time sent the ball across goal, where no one was able to get a touch. Tambeson continued to terrorise the home defence and he almost found the net with a powerful shot. This was Tam’s 61st appearance in the first team, and he has still to open his account in league matches, but surely once the first goal comes, others will follow.
Aveley briefly rallied when Reece Morgan won a corner. Joey May sent the ball over and it was headed high over the bar. Aveley again came forward and Joe Woolley saved well from Ellis Remy’s header. With Hornchurch seemingly coasting towards half time, the pattern of play changed completely within two minutes. It started when Aveley were awarded a free kick some distance outside the area, and ELLIS REMY, with the gale in his favour, hammered the ball over the wall and into the net,
And two minutes later Sherwin Stanley’s long throw was not cleared fully and the ball was returned into the middle for ELLIS REMY to put the home side into the lead.
Changes were made at the interval – Dave Collis and Michael Spencer came on for Simon Glover and Aaron Gayle, who had picked up an injury shortly before half time when he fell awkwardly following a tackle. Hornchurch now had the strong wind in their favour and Aveley were again forced onto defence. Just four minutes into the second period, and a Hunt free kick was headed on by Dave Collis, and the ball fell to LEWIS SMITH out on the left side of the pitch. Lewis weaved his way goalwards, and fired in a hard shot which eluded the packed defence and crashed into the net.
It almost became three when Tambeson linked up with Collis, whose centre found Jon Hunt in the middle, and Hunt’s header was tipped over by McCartney for a corner. Hunt’s corner went across goal without anyone getting a touch. A long clearance by Ronnie Fletcher was carried by the wind and turned into a shot, which McCartney fielded.
Joe Sanderson linked well with Spencer and Smith but Ryan Andrews was in the right place to intercept the resulting cross, and when Aveley were awarded a free kick, Joey May’s accurate shot was caught by Woolley who immediately threw the ball out to Eyong, who turned defence into attack by switching the play to Hunt, who flicked on to Tuohy, and McCartney did well to keep Tuohy’s shot out of the net. Anderson then sent Tuohy clear and although Martin sent the ball invitingly across goal, there was no one able to reach it in time to prevent it from running out for a goal kick.
Ronnie Fletcher started a move which opened up the home defence when he played a long call up to Tuohy, who switched play to the other side of the field with a first time pass to Lewis Smith, who sent the ball over to Michael Spencer, who hit his shot over the bar with just McCartney to beat.
Aveley enjoyed their best spell of the half when hey set up a prolonged attack. It started with a free kick which Woolley punched away, only for the ball to be hammered back. It cannoned off the underside of the bar, and although Styles partially cleared, back came the ball yet again, and it was Woolley who prevented it from entering the net. The pressure was immediately eased with Woolley’s long throw out of defence, and it was Lewis Smith who took up the running, and his cross into the middle found MARTIN TUOHY, who made no mistake against his old club. Jo Flack came on for Martin Tuohy, and Hornchurch had no difficulty in playing out the final minutes. They almost increased the lead when Eyong made another run and crossed for Lewis Smith, whose shot was deflected around the post. Spencer took the corner, and Dave Collis was ideally placed to take the half clearance on the edge of the area, and his shot went a fraction too high.
Hunt intercepted a clearance and picked out Spencer, whose shot was saved well by McCartney, and Lewis Smith had a chance to make it four when he ran through, but his final shot was wide of the goal.