AFC HORNCHURCH 1 WINGATE & FINCHLEY 0
On the hottest day of the year, both teams struggled in the intense heat. Hornchurch had a chance to take the lead in the first minute when Rickie Hayles took a long throw which was headed narrowly over by Frankie Curley. And Curley was then in action at the other end when he headed a Ross Parmenter free kick out for a throw. Kieran Street took the throw and the ball was flicked on to Tony Burke who scooped his shot wide of the post.
Hornchurch were stopped on the left when Lewis Smith was fouled, but it was Finchley who came close to scoring when John Megicke found himself in a shooting position, but he put the ball wide of the post. Rickie Hayles was causing the visitors problems with his long throws, and Frankie Curley went close when he connected with a header.
Hornchurch opened up the defence with a Joe Anderson goal bound centre which was blocked and the ball bounced back to Simon Glover whose first time follow up shot met with the same fate. And it was Anderson again who opened up the defence with a good pass to Martin Tuohy who tried a spectacular overhead kick, only for Gavin King to make a good save to keep the ball out. Leon Smith won a corner for Finchley but Reiss Noel headed to safety. Tambeson Eyong was a constant worry to the visitors but despite several good runs he could not break through the massed defence.
Curley won another free kick which Michael Spencer took quickly, sending Lewis Smith away on the wing, but the finishing cross curved behind the goal and out of play. A long Glover clearance found Eyong, whose run ended when his cross was cleared by Daniel Nielsen. Almost on half time – only three minutes were added on despite several lengthy stoppages – Glove and Tuohy combined, and Tuohy’s pin point pass found Lewis Smith in a good position, but keeper Gavin King reacted quickly to prevent what appeared to be a certain goal.
Hornchurch continued to press in the second half, and were rewarded when Eyong combined with Lewis Smith, to open up the right side of the field, and Tambeson was promptly brought down to win a free kick. Joe Anderson came over to take the kick, and his well placed shot beat the wall, but King dived to keep the ball out. RICKIE HAYLES was first to react and he placed the ball firmly into the net for what was the only goal of the match.
Leon Smith fired over for Finchley, and back at the other end a Smith – Tuohy combination earned a corner, which Spencer sent over but which was headed out by Nielsen. Joe Woolley was called into action when he rose well in a crowded goalmouth to catch a corner from the right, whilst an Anderson – Tuohy move on the left ended with a corner which Spencer sent over a fraction too low. A long Hayles throw was deflected for a corner and this time Spencer found Elliot Styles, who touched back to Hayles, whose shot was blocked and eventually scrambled clear. The ball was promptly booted up field and an alert Woolley rushed out of his area to head away.
Anderson conceded a corner when Tony Burke almost broke through and two successive corners from John Megicke were palmed away by Woolley. Eyong went off on a long solo run and his shot cannoned back off a defender, and Tommy Black came on for Martin Tuohy, followed soon after by Les Thompson for Lewis Smith. Black almost got onto the score sheet with a good run and shot, which resulted in a corner, which Spencer played short to Black whose cross was well held by King. Thompson shielded the ball well, before touching back to Anderson, who almost put Black clear. Spencer won another corner, but this came to nothing and in the intense heat both teams seemed happy to play out the remaining few minutes.