AFC HORNCHURCH 1 WEALDSTONE 1
Player news – Jon Hunt is likely to be out for another two weeks with a broken wrist. Jo Flack has been released. Rickie Hayles, after briefly playing for Thurrock, and then East Thurrock, has been signed, and went into the starting line up. Dave McSweeney returned after injury, and Frankie Curley returned after a three match suspension, and took over as captain.
In a match largely dominated by Hornchurch, Wealdstone held on and grabbed a point thanks mainly to an excellent display by their goalkeeper, Jonathan North, who made several fine saves, and who also set up the equalising goal, having seconds earlier saved what seemed a certain goal at the other end.
Hornchurch started confidently, with Dave McSweeney combining with Frankie Curley to send Martin Tuohy away on the right, and Martin’s cross was turned out by Lee Chappell for a corner. Michael Spencer sent the ball deep across goal and Tuohy headed narrowly over the bar. Tambeson Eyong moved inside and touched on to Tuohy, whose through ball sent Lewis Smith racing clear, but keeper Jonathan North ran out quickly to gather at the edge of the area. When Tambeson was fouled by Alan Massey, who was booked, Spencer still had to wait to take the free kick as the referee decided that one booking was not enough and proceeded to book Sean Cronin and Martin Tuohy as well. Eventually Spencer was able to take the kick and North did well to gather the ball under pressure from Frankie Curley.
With a strong side wind, both sides had their long thrower in constant use – Lee Chappell for Wealdstone and Rickie Hayles for Hornchurch. It was a long Hayles throw that was headed inches wide of the post by Martin Tuohy, whilst Reiss Noel headed away from an enormous Chappell throw. Curley to Eyong, and the centre was turned out for a corner, but Spencer over hit the ball and it was cleared by James Hammond. Joe Woolley then punched clear from a Chappell throw, whilst a good through pass by Lewis Smith sent Tuohy clear, but North came out to narrow the angle and the eventual shot went just wide of the post.
A Spencer run enabled Lewis Smith to get in a shot which was deflected out for a corner, and back at the other end, Curley conceded a free kick dangerously close to the edge of the area, and David Hicks hammered in the free kick, which cannoned back off of Frankie Curley. Shortly before half time Hicks put another free kick, also conceded by Curley, who was booked in the process, wide of the goal.
Hornchurch continued to have the territorial advantage in the second half, and Lewis Smith was brought down when heading for goal. No card was waved, and Smith took the free kick which sailed just over the bar. A Hicks free kick was deflected for a corner by Reiss Noel and Hicks sent the resulting corner across the goalmouth. Joe Anderson, whose positioning and passing were outstanding throughout the match, sent Lewis Smith away, and another free kick was the outcome as Lewis was again chopped down. Spencer took the kick, Massey only partially cleared, Eyong fired it back, and the ball rebounded to Smith whose hard shot was blocked. Keeper North grabbed the ball and promptly sent it up the field where Kurtney Brooks played it on to Scott McCubbin, but it was Tambeson Eyong who had raced back to cover and clear.
Anderson, now finding great gaps in the visiting defence, slotted through to Smith, but his finish was poor and North saved comfortably. The pressure was intense, and a goal was overdue. It came when Woolley threw the ball to Joe Anderson, who sent a long clearance up field, and Tuohy shielded the ball neatly to touch on to LEWIS SMITH who cut inside and hammered a low shot into the net.
Wealdstone briefly came back when Noel conceded a free kick against Jake Parsons, on the edge of the area. Hicks took the free kick and the ball hit the wall before going out for a corner which Hicks took, and Woolley pulled down. Hornchurch then almost increased their lead. It started with a McSweeney cross which North kept out of the goal by tipping the ball over the bar. Spencer’s corner was played into the area for Lewis Smith, whose vicious shot was not only saved by North but the keeper actually held on to the ball. North then immediately sent it high up field, and this opened up a space on the left, and the resulting low cross into the middle was touched home by an unmarked RICHARD JOLLY.
Simon Glover nearly set up a goal a minute later with a neat pass to Tuohy, whose curling shot was well save by the inspired North. Then it was Smith to Tuohy, and this time his shot rebounded off a defender. Tommy Black came on for Simon Glover and it was Tommy’s pass to Tuohy which resulted in another corner. Spencer sent the bal over but Massey rose well to head away with Curley and Tuohy threatening. In stoppage time Wealdstone won a corner, and Elliot Styles was sent on to booster the defence, but the ball was cleared up field and the match ended with Hornchurch again pressing the massed visiting defence.