AFC HORNCHURCH 3 KINGSTONIAN 0
The news that Reiss Noel was out with a groin injury, along with Jon Hunt and Dave McSweeney, meant that Donny Barnard was called into the starting line up, and Ronnie Fletcher came back into the squad.
On a day when temperatures rose to almost tropical proportions Hornchurch kicked towards the windmill end and the pattern of the game was quickly established – a prolonged siege on the K’s goal. But it was KFC who had the first attempt at goal, when Donny Barnard was penalised for a tackle and Ali Chabaan fired in a hard free kick from the edge of the area. Joe Woolley saved well, and in fact this proved to be K’s only shot on target for the entire match.
Simon Glover started the first home attack with a good pass through to Lewis Smith who made ground and crossed the ball into the middle, where it went across the goalmouth without anyone being able to get a touch. Tommy Black then sent Lewis Smith away and Rob Tolfrey made the first of many fine saves to keep K’s in the match. Black next sent a good pass out to Joe Anderson on the left side of the field and Joe played the ball across to Martin Tuohy, who met it on the volley, the goal bound shot rebounding off a defender to safety. Smith then played a good pass back to Glover, whose penetrating centre was well held by an already overworked Tolfrey. Tommy Black was creating havoc on the right and from one of his many runs he slipped the ball inside to Lewis Smith, who hit his shot a fraction too high and over the bar.
Elliot Styles, who won just about everything that came his way, needed a long spell of attention following a high tackle by Simon Huckle. A long Rickie Hayles throw led to a corner which Michael Spencer played short to Lewis Smith, and Tolfrey did well to keep Smith’s dipping cross cum shot out of the goal. KFC had a rare attack when Bobby Traynor intercepted a Lewis Smith pass and broke clear but he was stopped by an excellent Rickie Hayles tackle.. Ali Chabaan then shot well wide when he received a long pass out on the right. Hornchurch quickly resumed their non stop attacking play when Joe Woolley threw the ball to Black, who combined with Martin Tuohy to set up Lewis Smith – once again it was Tolfrey whose fine save kept the ball out of the net. The half ended with a rare Kingstonian sortie up field which led to a corner by Neil Jenkins, but Elliot Styles headed away, and Frankie Curley completed the clearance.
Could Hornchurch keep the pressure up, and find a way through the packed KFC defence? The second half started with Kingstonian coming forward, and a Traynor shot was blocked by Styles. But in the face of heavy pressure the visiting defence was becoming increasingly wild, and the home following was calling for the referee to wave a few cards around. Tommy Black almost opened the score with a hard drive which Tolfrey saved, Bashiru Alimi received a red card shortly afterwards following a second yellow.
Two minutes later Sam Clayton was shown a yellow card – with may calling loudly for a card of a different colour – when he brought down Michael Spencer who was in full flight towards goal. Lewis Smith took the free kick, on the edge of the area, and Tolfrey touched the ball around the post for a corner. Tom Bird and Allan Tait then came on for K’s in a desperate attempt to stem the wave of attacks, but a goal now seemed inevitable. Joe Anderson played a good pass down the wing to Lewis Smith and Neil Jenkins headed away. Back came the ball and Jenkins cleared wildly to concede a corner – it could so easily have resulted in an own goal. Spencer sent the ball over, and a loud hand ball appeal was ignored. The ball was promptly played back again and MARTIN TUOHY just as promptly deposited it firmly into the net. Kingston’s Gary MacDonald was immediately booked for protesting, but when play restarted it was a non stop red and white wave heading in the direction of the visiting goal.
The second goal must rate as an all time classic. It started with a Tommy Black throw in, and ended when LEWIS SMITH stroked the ball calmly into the net. The move started deep in the Hornchurch half of the field, and the running order was - Black throw - Barnard - Curley - Hayles - Barnard - Tuohy - Black - Barnard - Tuohy - Spencer - Anderson - Spencer - Glover - Anderson - Glover -Spencer - Smith.
A Black – Smith – Black move almost produced a third goal, only for Tolfrey to save well from Tommy Black, to turn the ball out for a corner. But Hornchurch could not be denied and following a series of Anderson – Smith moves it was inevitable that a long ball would be placed into the now packed goalmouth, and this time it was FRANKIE CURLEY who crashed the ball into the net.
Time for a few changes and Aaron Gayle, Les Thompson and Tambeson Eyong came on for some shooting practice. Michael Spencer was brought down in full flight by Chris Page, but the referee sensibly decided that the tackle looked worst than it really was, and Hornchurch had to settle for a free kick, which Lewis Smith place too high and over the bar. Aaron Gayle went close and Tambeson Eyong was brought down when steamrolling through the panic stricken defence. And When Rob Tolfrey fumbled a ball close to goal it was Les Thompson who fired it hard across the face of the goal, and there was no one to touch it across the line.
Kingstonian’s misery was complete then their team coach got jammed in the car park, between the car park barrier and the adjacent tree, and it finally managed to break free after a series of ‘left hand down a bit’ shouts from the many home supporters who were watching – the coach was followed out of the car park by a long convoy of cars some minutes after the end of the match.