CANVEY ISLAND 4 AFC HORNCHURCH 1
The food at Billericay was excellent; the food at Canvey was awful, lukewarm and insipid. The pitch at Billericay was awful; the pitch at Canvey was excellent. The match officials at Billericay were very good; the match officials at Canvey were less than very good.
Three highly controversial decisions turned the match from a comfortably afternoon stroll at the Essex sea side to a heavy defeat. On a dull and overcast day, before just a handful of spectators, officially 428, though it looked a lot less, Hornchurch dominated the first half, and could have had the match comfortably won by half time. Hornchurch could have gained an early lead when a quick throw by Joe Woolley to Joe Anderson led to a defence splitting pass to Michael Spencer, whose centre found Jon Hunt, but his header was saved by James Russell.
A quick Hunt free kick gave Martin Tuohy an opening, but his shot hit the side netting. And Russell twice saved well from Hunt scorners, before Hornchurch took the lead with a move that started with Woolley throwing the ball out to Anderson, who combined with Spencer and Lewis Smith, before the ball was played into the middle for MARTIN TUOHY to crash home.
A Rickie Hayles tackle prevented Dobinson from getting in a shot, and this led to a corner which Dumas sent over, and Frankie Curley was ideally placed to head clear. Elliot Styles was booked for an innocuous challenge, and Noel headed away from a Dumas corner, and Hayles – for the tackle on Dumas – and Noel – for kicking the ball away – went into the book within a split second of one another. The free kick which resulted was taken by Dumas and Woolley turned the ball out for another corner.
Russell saved well from Curley, whose shot looked to be going into the net, whilst at the other end a Kevin Dobinson shot was tipped over by Woolley. Russell made a good save from Smith following an exchange of passes between Anderson and Spencer, and almost on half time it was Russell again who came to the rescue for Canvey when the tipped a shot from Lewis Smith over the bar.
The one goal half time lead did not reflect Hornchurch’s overall dominance of the match, and the second half started in similar fashion when a Smith run set up Hunt, only for Russell to make another excellent save to turn the ball out for another corner. Canvey were rarely able to launch any attacks of their own, though from a corner by Ashley Dumas, Bradley Woods-Garness got in a good header which Woolley tipped onto the bar, and Reiss Noel completed the clearance.
And when Tuohy played the ball out to Lewis Smith on the left, what seemed to be a certain goal was hooked off the line by Steve Sheehan. Hornchurch should have scored when Lewis Smith opened up the right side of the field to set up Martin Tuohy with what should have been a comfortable goal, but Russell managed to cover and saved Tuohy’s slightly scuffed shot. And then it was Tuohy through to Hunt, and Russell dived to save a certain goal, tipping the ball around for a corner. Canvey briefly came into the match when Kevin Dobinson combined with Leon Gordon, but Reiss Noel was quick to cover and play the ball away to safety.
And then came the turning point. Martin Tuohy was fouled close to the half way line, and when the referee allowed play to continue Martin pushed the Canvey player, who went down in a spectacular heap. The inevitable over reaction by the home side followed, and the referee immediately waved the red card at Tuohy, before disappearing amid an infuriated Hornchurch protest, led by Frankie Curley, who was incensed by what many considered to be a farcical decision – let’s be quite clear about this – if the referee had correctly awarded the free kick to Hornchurch, then anything that followed would not have happened. Yes, Tuohy pushed the home player, but at the worst it merited a yellow card.
And three minutes later Canvey were level when KEVIN DOBINSON poked the ball home after a goalmouth scramble. Hornchurch settled down again and a Hunt free kick reached Hayles, whose header was well saved by Canvey’s player of the match, James Russell, who turned the ball out for a corner. And it was from the corner that Canvey went ahead, as the ball was quickly cleared up the right wing and crossed into the middle for JASON HALLETT to score.
Then came controversial decision number two – Ashley Dumas had already been booked for a minor offence, but then, just minutes later, he hammered the ball upfield after the whistle had gone for a Hornchurch free kick. So why no yellow card? Would he have been given a yellow card had he not already just been booked? Why was Reiss Noel booked for a similar offence?
Tommy Black and Les Thompson came on to give some more width up front, but in doing so the defence was left open at times. And then came controversial decision number three. Tommy Black won the ball on the right and crossed hard into the middle. A lout appeal for hand ball, inside the area, was ignored – spectators behind the goal say it was a clear-cut penalty - and Canvey, with Hornchurch committed to attack, ran the ball upfield and JAY CURRAN converted.
Ashley Dumas again escaped getting a second yellow when he again appeared to kick the ball away after the whistle had gone, but it mattered little as a long clearance up field allowed BRADELY WOODS-GARNESS to score the final goal, almost on the final whistle.
Quote (Rob Burgess) - Possibly the most one sided 2nd half display i have seen until the sending off, Canvey couldn't get the ball off of Hornchurch but we didn't take the chances.The Sending off was a joke tbh, the over reaction of the Canvey players was nothing new, their crowd had been baying for blood from the first whistle.
Quote (Simon Philpott) - Hornchurch played the better football and end up losing. Sending off was the turning point. Two of Canvey's goals came from breakaways from Hx attacks when we were already down to 10 men. Not going to fault the players, just one of those games. Canvey and Horsham are bogey teams for us. I think someone at Canvey must practice Voodoo because they look a poor side and still won.