EAST THURROCK UNITED 0 AFC HORNCHURCH 1
An unchanged squad, but with Tommy Black replacing Tambeson Eyong in the starting line up. A strong wind made for difficult conditions. Hornchurch had the benefit of the downfield wind in the first half and bombarded the home goal. East Thurrock made the first move of the game and this resulted in a free kick which Elliot Styles headed powerfully away. Hornchurch quickly found their rhythm and when Martin Tuohy played a good cross into the middle, only a last ditch block by Simon Pedie kept out Frankie Curley’s shot. Reiss Noel then made a similar block at the other end to stop a Michael Ramkin shot, with Joe Woolley completing the clearance, whilst a Sam Collins corner came to nothing when Noel headed away.
Hornchurch thought they had taken the lead when Rickie Hayles found Michael Spencer, who slipped the ball out to Lewis Smith. Lewis opened up the defence with a fine pass inside to Martin Tuohy, but with the large away contingent already shouting ‘goal’ the ball cannoned back off the inside of the post, and was scrambled out for a corner which Dave Collis fired across and Pedie cleared. Back came the ball, and Tommy Black won another corner, which Collis again took but the ball was cleared comfortably. But with the pressure now fully on, Lewis Smith made a spectacular overhead kick to find Frankie Curley, who played the ball across for LEWIS SMITH, who took his time and picked his spot for what proved to be the only goal of the match.
Lewis was denied soon after by Pedie who conceded a free kick in the process. Spencer took the kick and Richard Wray saved well. At the other end Styles conceded a corner from which Petri Elbi headed over. But most f the play was concentrated at the other end of the field.
The large away following, who made up the majority of the crowd of 255, were convinced that Hornchurch should have been awarded a penalty when Lewis Smith homed in from the left wing and was brought down well inside the area, but the referee allowed play to continue. Curley then headed away from a Collins free kick, and shortly afterwards Sam Collins hit his shot high over the bar and the ball was last seen heading towards the oil terminals.
Lewis Smith opened up home defence with a neat backheel to Martin Tuohy whose centre found Frankie Curley rushing in, and Frankie’s header skimmed the post. East Thurrock had another narrow escape when keeper Wray had to deal with a wildly hit back pass – the keeper cannot handle the ball from a pass back, and he could only kick the ball high into the air but then punched clear with Tuohy jumping high for the loose ball – the loud appeals for a handled back pass went unheeded. The half ended with a Sam Collins corner which was easily held by Joe Woolley.
Hornchurch began the second half strongly. Joe Anderson combined with Smith and Tuohy to win a corner. Collis sent the ball over and Frankie Curley headed goalwards, but the whistle went for a push by Elliot Styles. Lewis Smith was then brought down, and Collis took the free kick, which was well saved by Wray. Hornchurch almost found the net when Martin Tuohy raced through and rounded keeper Wray but his shot, from a narrow angle, was scrambled off the line for a corner, and this was followed by a further corner when the ball was again scrambled off the line from Dave Collis’ inswinging kick.
But the wind had increased markedly and East Thurrock took full advantage. Woolley had to rush outside his area to head away a wind assisted kick and Woolley then had to make his only real save of the match, diving to his left to hold on to a long range shot from the left wing.
With the home sided piling on the pressure, Tambeson Eyong came on for Tommy Black and Simon Glover replaced Dave Collis. Styles headed away a Collins corner, whilst at the other end Tuohy headed over from a long Rickie Hayles throw. Curley sent Lewis Smith away but Pedie reacted quickly to tackle as Lewis was about to shoot. Tuohy needed lengthy treatment when he headed over from Curley’s cross, and shortly afterwards was replaced by Les Thompson.
With the home side pushing everyone forward they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area after a tackle by Michael Spencer. The ball was hammered hard at goal but rebounded off the wall, and the follow up found Sam Collins in a dangerous position, but he was crowded out and could not get a shot in. Hornchurch had to play out five minutes of stoppage time, and they did this comfortably by locking up the play at the East Thurrock end of the field, and a Spencer corner, which was promptly played back into the corner, was enough to run down the clock.