WINGATE & FINCHLEY 1 HORNCHURCH 2
The seemingly short journey around the North Circular Road turned into a nightmare when it took an hour to cover one mile at Bounds Green. Arriving at Finchley just a few minutes before the start, Hornchurch supporters were greeted with a mild sunny autumn day, with a pleasantly strong wind sweeping downfield.
Proceedings commenced with a Joe Anderson shot which cannoned off a defender, followed by a long throw from Rickie Hayles which Frankie Curley headed narrowly over the bar. Tambeson Eyong embarked on a run along the right flank which ended with a cross to Martin Tuohy, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Michael Spencer floated the ball across but Dan Nielsen cleared. Reiss Noel headed away a long throw but the home side almost took the lead when a long ball from keeper Gavin King was intercepted by Spencer, but he was dispossessed in midfield and the ball was played on to Josh Cooper who ran on but was forced wide by Joe Anderson. A minute later the home side took the lead when Joe Woolley saved from Leon Smith but the ball ran to MARK HENRY who placed it firmly into the net.
For a time Hornchurch had to defend, and when Rickie Hayles conceded a corner it was Frankie Curley who headed the ball to safety. A Henry cross was played out for a corner which Ross Parmenter sent over, and Elliot Styles cleared. At the other end a Spencer corner was headed over by Styles. Another Parmenter corner was cleared, before Joe Woolley saved with a feet when Leon Smith fired in a shot from close range. The ball rebounded back to Mark Weatherstone whose first time cross was cleared by Simon Glover.
Hornchurch began to dominate and Tambeson Eyong raced through the middle, was tripped, but the referee allowed play to continue and Tambeson managed to stay upright and his shot was blocked. The ball ran to Martin Tuohy whose follow up was also blocked and LEWIS SMITH followed up to score. Reiss Noel then moved up field but hit his shot too high , and a Lewis Smith free kick was well held by King. Close to half time a long wind assisted free kick from Kieron Street almost caught out Joe Woolley, who held on to the ball underneath the bar at the second attempt.
With the strong wind in their favour in the second half, Hornchurch dominated for much of the time. A long Hayles throw found Spencer who put his shot wide of the goal. A Frankie Curley run ended in a similar fashion, whilst a Tuohy cross was turned out for a corner. Spencer sent the ball over, Lewis Smith had his shot charged down and the ball ran back out to Hayles, who fired narrowly wide.
Hornchurch had an excellent chance to go in front when Martin Tuohy raced through, only to be brought crashing down by keeper Gavin King. Loud appeals for a penalty, from both players and the away following massed behind the goal, were ignored by the referee. Hornchurch were by now well on top and a Tuohy shot went out for a corner, which once again Spencer took, but which was comfortably cleared.
Les Thompson came on for Tambeson Eyong, and took up a more midfield position, frequently dropping back when defenders overlapped. King punched a dipping Spencer free kick out for a corner, which led to a further corner, which was headed over by Styles.
At the other end a Parmenter run ended with a good tackle by Thompson to concede a corner. Parmenter sent the ball over and Noel headed away. Thompson then won a corner at the other end of the pitch. Spencer sent the ball over, Curley headed it back into the goalmouth and it was eventually scrambled away for another corner, which curled behind the goal in the strong wind. Simon Glover intercepted a Murat Karagul pass and quickly sent Lewis Smith clear. Lewis touched through to Les Thompson who was tackled by Kieron Street.
Aaron Gayle replaced Martin Tuohy, and a Curley – Spencer move ended with a good save from King. With time running out, it was Les Thompson who inadvertently started the move which led to the winning goal, when he was penalised in midfield and a free kick awarded to the home side. Kieron Street played it deep into the Hornchurch goalmouth, and Joe Woolley caught the ball in fine style, and promptly played it deep up field, where Aaron Gayle flicked on to LEWIS SMITH who calmly placed it into the net.
In the three minutes of stoppage time Hornchurch kept the ball firmly locked up in the right corner of the pitch, and the home side could do nothing about it, other than to get two of their players booked.