BURY TOWN 2 HORNCHURCH 1
Newly signed James Love made his squad debut, with Les Thompson coming into the starting line up in place of Tommy Black. James Love has played with Brentwood Town for the last two seasons, apart from a short spell when he was with Heybridge Swifts.
Heavy rain on the way down, coupled with heavy overnight rain, had left the playing surface in a quagmire, with large parts of the pitch very close to unplayable, and a strong wind added to the difficult conditions.
Hornchurch started confidently and had the better of the play. The first opportunity came inside the first five minutes when Joe Anderson placed a neat pass into the path of Lewis Smith. Lewis made ground before switching the play to the opposite wing to Jon Hunt, whose shot was deflected around the post by Marcus Garnham for a corner. Hunt sent the kick over too low and it was easily cleared.
A minute later Anderson intercepted a through ball and quickly played a pass to Simon Glover, who weaved past two players and took a quick return pass from Frankie Curley. Frankie turned the ball out to Michael Spencer on the left and from the resulting cross Curley met the ball with a good header which Garnham tipped over the bar for a – goal kick, to the surprise of the crowd.
Connor Hall was fortunate to escape a yellow card after a badly mistimed tackle on Jon Hunt, and Hunt’s free kick, sent deep into the goalmouth, was scrambled away by a somewhat disorganized home defence.
Hunt then intercepted a clearance and immediately turned the ball into the path of Les Thompson, who homed rapidly in on goal. Sam Nunn got in a tackle but Thompson carried on, and it was Garnham who eventually came to the rescue when he raced out of goal to kick wildly clear.
Until now, Joe Woolley had little to do, apart from fielding two headed back passes from Joe Anderson, and the closest Bury came was when Lee Reed fired very high and very side of the goal with a long range shot.
But this all changed when Sam Reed took advantage when Reiss Noel slipped and this allowed Sam Reed to break clear, but Noel quickly recovered to concede a corner. Lee Reed took the corner and sent in a deeply inswinging ball towards the near post, and SAM REED, amid a crowd of defenders, nodded the ball home.
Hornchurch quickly came back and almost leveled when Hunt sent an excellent through ball to Frankie Curley, whose shot, cannoned off keeper Garnham, bounced high and then slowly dropped over the bar. From Hunt’s corner, Rickie Hayles came in at the far post and Garnham made another good save to keep the ball out.
Hornchurch continued to press forward, and Michael Spencer raced through the muddy midfield and homed in on goal, and it was Garnham once again who kept the home side in front with a fine save.
A long kick by Joe Woolley led to a corner at the other end, but Hunt’s short corner to Lewis Smith was wasted and Connor Hall nipped in quickly to clear.
Lewis Smith then took a long pass from Elliot Styles, moved rapidly down the left, and crossed low into the goalmouth, to Michael Spencer, whose first time shot went over the bar.
In stoppage time in the first half, Reiss Noel was booked for a tackle that was no worst than any other tackle, but the referee, to a background of banshee screams from the home crowd, waved a yellow card. The away following was incensed, not so much with the yellow card, but more because Lee Smith escaped with a mere finger wagging in the same incident. Sam Reed took the free kick and Woolley made his only save of the half, when he rose to catch the ball as it came across from the left.
The pitch had deteriorated markedly as the match progressed, and large muddy patches began to appear, though the rain held off.
Hornchurch started the second half well, and a Rickie Hayles throw was deflected for a corner by Hall. Hunt’s corner kick was met by Elliot Styles, whose header was well saved by Bury’s player of the match, Marcus Garnham.
This all changed in a matter of seconds on 51 minutes. Elliot Styles got in a telling tackle to stop Kieran Leabon, and the home crowd howled as only a home crowd can howl. The referee ignored them, but just a couple of seconds later Reiss Noel made a similar tackle on Sam Reed, which the referee deemed was worthy of a free kick. The local banshees howled – just as well it was not a full moon - and the howls turned to ululation when the referee, after emerged from a mass of home players, waved a yellow, quickly followed by a red.
Away supporters were infuriated as the tackle was no worst than any other tackle.
Tambeson Eyong came on for Simon Glover, and straight away set off on one of his trademark runs from one side of the pitch to the other, before losing possession. Tam regained the ball, but lost it a second time.
Lewis Smith won a corner, which Hunt quickly took, and played the ball short to Lewis, but he could not get a shot in and was crowded out. A similar move led to a corner which was wasted as the ball went harmlessly across goal.
Bury began to take advantage of their numerical superiority, but the closest they came was when Woolley touched a shot around for a corner.
Aaron Gayle came on for Les Thompson, and Joe Anderson moved into midfield, with Michael Spencer dropping back, and Rickie Hayles covering the gap where Reiss Noel should have been.
It was Gayle who sent Curley away, and Bury decided there was only one way to stop Frankie – trip him up on the edge of the area. No yellow card, needless to say, and Hunt’s hard struck free kick rebounded off the player at the end of the wall. This almost led to a Bury goal as the ball was punted up field and Sam Reed ploughed through the mud in the middle. A goal looked likely but Woolley made an excellent save.
Hornchurch pressed forward, and although they left gaps at the back, the tactic proved correct. Bury struggled to keep out the non stop wave of purple, and when Lewis Smith set up Jon Hunt, Hunt’s first time shot was prevented from entering the net by Sam Nunn – but only the goalkeeper can handle the ball, and Nunn was not the goalkeeper. Penalty, and a yellow card for Nunn. Up stepped JON HUNT to fire the ball past the diving Garnham.
Andy Tomlinson came on for Jon Hunt as the pitch got heavier. Two minutes stoppage time was announced, and in a frantic few seconds, a Tomlinson free kick was sent into the goalmouth, where in rapid succession shots from Eyong and Curley were blocked, and the follow up by Michael Spencer crashed into the side netting.
In the fourth minute if the two minutes disaster struck of Hornchurch when the home side broke down the left side of the pitch and the resulting low cross was touched home by JOHN SANDS.
There was just time for Hornchurch to kick off, and the ball was played deep into the home penalty area, and Eyong just failed to get a touch, as the final whistle went, signaling the end of the match. It also signaled some disgraceful scenes as Tam was surrounded by home players. Stewards raced onto the pitch, and we waited to find out just how many red cards would be waved – none at all.