AFC HORNCHURCH 1 CONCORD RANGERS 3
Hornchurch fielded a much weakened team, as several key players were missing – Dave McSweeney and Aaron Gayle are both out with injuries, and Jon Hunt has a broken wrist. Frankie Curley is serving a three match suspension.
Donny Barnard was signed from Harlow – Donny previously played 91 times for Hornchurch in 2007 to 2009 – and Les Thompson was signed after appearing in Capital League matches. Les Thompson played for junior side Newham Warriors before signing as a trainee with Bolton Wanderers. He turned professional in July 2007. He joined Stockport County on loan in October 2007, and played three times for Stockport. He joined Conference National side Torquay United on loan in January 2008, and made two appearances. He was released by Bolton at the end of the 2007-08 season, and had a trial with Gillingham in July 2008, playing in their friendly defeat against Birmingham City. He joined Yeovil Town on trial in August 2008, and joined Thurrock in September 2009. He has also played for Croydon Athletic.
When Steve King was booked after just one minute of play, it was something of a surprise, as he was not the player who was penalised for the foul tackle. In all Concord had four players booked, but the Riverside was ‘entertained’, if that is the correct word, by the comments coming from their bench, which surely leaves a bad impression.
Tambeson Eyong played much deeper than normal, and it was from a midfield position that he almost opened the scoring with a hard drive, which Dale Brightly managed to palm around the post. A free kick taken by Dave Collis, in the absence of Jon Hunt, cannoned back from the wall, and when Martin Tuohy won a corner, Collis swerved the ball over and Brightly punched the ball away, with Ashley Miller completing the clearance.
With the rain coming down in a deluge, and a strong wind, conditions became difficult, but Hornchurch went close from another Collis free kick, which was flicked on by Tuohy, and then followed a goalmouth scramble before the ball was eventually booted skywards and out the ground. The best move of the half started when Ronnie Fletcher placed a good pass up to Jo Flack, who touched on to Tuohy, who set up Lewis Smith, but Lewis was let down by his final finish and the ball went wide of the post.
Concord adapted to the conditions better than the home side, and they came forward and had the better of the territorial play. Harry Elmes was tackled by Fletcher who conceded a corner, which was taken by James Elmes and cleared by the joint efforts of Elliot Styles and Simon Glover. Kyle Asante then ran through but hit his shot wide of Joe Woolley, who had not as yet had a save to make.
But this changed on 32 minutes when James Elmes found himself unmarked and played a neat pass inside to KYLE ASANTE, also unmarked, and Kyle quickly turned to drive the ball into the net to give Concord the lead.
Hornchurch came back strongly and when Joe Anderson sent a good pass along to Tuohy, he flicked the ball onwards to Lewis Smith, but Steve King came across in time to block the shot.
TAMBESON EYONG has waited patiently to get his first goal, (apart from one in the Essex Senior Cup against Eton Manor), and at last it came, on his 62nd first team appearance. And it was magnificent. He gathered the ball close to the left wing, cut inside, and carried on, before hammering a low shot past the diving Brightly. Tam raced across the field in obvious delight, ending up alongside the East Side and earning himself a ticking off from the referee, who seemed amused by Tam’s celebration.
There was still time for one more Concord attack in the first half, and Joe Woolley made an excellent save from Ryan Ware’s swerving low cross into the goalmouth.
The second half was punctuated by stoppages and bookings – three more Concord players were shown yellow cards – and nearly eight minutes were added on. But despite sending over a series of crosses, chances were few and far between. Michael Spencer and Tommy Black came on for Ronnie Fletcher and Dave Collis, but it was Concord who went back in front when HARRY ELMES was first to react to a low cross into the goalmouth and he slid the ball home.
Hornchurch had to come forward but made little impression, and the third and decisive goal came when MATT MARSHALL headed powerfully from a corner, the ball going in via Woolley and Spencer, to round off a very disappointing afternoon at the Bridge.