THURROCK 0 AFC HORNCHURCH 5
Colin McBride joined Purfleet as a midfield player in August 1985. He made his debut for Purfleet on 24th August 1985 in the Essex Senior League. He made 227 appearances and scored 32 goals for Purfleet. He returned to Purfleet as manager in August 1997, and after 524 matches in charge, was told in a ten seconds phone call that he was no longer manager at Thurrock. Today, Colin was back at Ship Lane, standing just inside the turnstiles, wearing a red and white scarf – perhaps he had forgotten that the Urchins were playing in purple and white - and welcoming every Hornchurch supporter as they came into the ground.
Hornchurch were without Frankie Curley, who was serving a one match suspension, whilst Elliot Styles and Dave McSweeney were missing due to injury. There was a near gale sweeping downfield, and Hornchurch kicked towards the Motorway end of he ground in the first half.
Joe Woolley started what eventually turned out to be a rout when he played a long ball deep upfield for Tambeson Eyong to chase. Alfie Wren tackled to cncede a throw. Rickie Hayles took the throw and the ball was played back to him, and he was promptly stopped by a mistimed tackle from Johnny Glowacki. Jon Hunt took the kick and it was scrambled away, but the ball was quickly played back to Eyong was was felled by a mistimed tackle by Drewe Broughton. JON HUNT took the free kick, some 35 yards out and close to the touchline – there was only one place the ball was going to end up, and that’s exactly where it did end up – in the net. One nil, much to the delight of the 200 away following.
Thurrock made what was to be a very rare sortie into the Hornchurch half when Steve Ferguson ran along the wing, but Joe Anderson tackled to concede a corner. Reece Harris sent the ball over and Jon Hunt was ideally placed to clear. It was almost two nil soon after when Reiss Noel played the ball deep down the middle, and Martin Tuohy ran on, and, despite pressure from James White, lobbed the ball over keeper David Hughes, and the ball sailed high into the air, and crashed against the bar, before being scrambled away.
A Lewis Smith solo run ended with the ball just clearing the bar, whilst a Hunt – Eyong move ended in a corner. Andy Tomlinson swerved the ball into the goalmouth, where an overworked Hughes dropped the ball, and it was scrambled away. Ronnie Fletcher tackled well when Drewe Broughton almost broke through, to concede a corner, and it was Ronnie who then headed away when Reece Harris sent the ball over.
Hornchurch increased their lead on 35 minutes when Simon Glover won the ball in midfield and started the move which involved Tambeson Eyong, Lewis Smith and Rickie Hayles, before the ball reached MARTIN TUOHY, who calmly made ground, shrugged off two defenders, and neatly glided the ball past Hughes. And it was almost three just before half time when Hunt played the ball out of defence, and Joe Anderson came in from the left to send over a cross cum shot which skimmed the bar.
With the gale against them in the second half, a quick goal was needed. And it came just ninety seconds later when Hornchurch were awarded another free kick, just one of many. Jon Hunt took the kick and SIMON GLOVER headed home. Jon Hunt had a similar free kick shortly afterwards, but this time he put the ball too high and over the bar. And it was Hunt yet again, this time running through a panic stricken defence, and his shot went wide of the post.
Thurrock briefly came into the match as an attacking force, when Broughton hit a first time shot against the bar, and although Lee Boylan was first to the rebound, Reiss Noel blocked the shot. Joe Woolley then dived to save a hard shot from the left, whilst another cross was deflected over the bar, and Woolley dealt with the rsulting corner.
On sixty minutes Hornchurch won yet another free kick, twenty yards outside the area. Smith lurked, but then moved away, and Hunt, with everyone expecting a shot at goal, instead placed the ball neatly in front of LEWIS SMITH, who weaved his way through and calmly hammered the ball into the net. 200 Urchins greeted the goal with delight, whilst the home following was reduced by one when the first of their supporters left the ground, soon to be followed by three more, leaving just one in attendance
And two minutes later Thurrock captain Dean Cracknell was shown a straight red for a mistimed tackle on Andy Tomlinson, who was eventually able to continue but then had to leave the field, to be replaced by Michael Spencer. Hunt fired over from an Anderson cross, and then Les Thomson and Tommy Black came on for Rickie Hayles and Lewis Smith.
Drewe Broughton was booked for a mistimed tackle, and less than two minutes later he repeated the mistiming, this time on Les Thompson, and out came the second red card of the day. Hornchurch were by now so much on top that Thurrock were left chasing shadows, although the home side did manage one more corner, before Hornchurch decided that enough was enough and Tommy Black ran along the left and crossed for MICHAEL SPENCER to crash home the fifth.