AFC HORNCHURCH 1 EAST THURROCK UNITED 0
Player news – Jon Hunt was out with flu, Frankie Curley and Martin Tuohy were both suspended. Lewis Smith and Frankie Curley will miss the next match, due to suspension. James Love, who made his playing debut today, came through the Brentwood youth teams, making his debut in 2009 at the age of 17. He had a short spell with Heybridge but returned to Brentwood in January 2011. Troy Powell-Quarry played for Tottenham Hotspur before joining Maidenhead in 2008, and had a trial for Reading, and for Norwich, before joining Bracknell Town in 2009. He joined AFC Hayes (Brook House) in 2009, and Dagenham & Redbridge in 2010, then Eastleigh in 2011. He played for Harrow Borough earlier this season.
The first few minutes were punctuated with several stoppages, two of which involved Reiss Noel, who, after receiving two spells of lengthy attention on the pitch, and a further period off pitch, was replaced by James Love – Rickie Hayles moved into the centre of defence and James Love went to right back. It was Noel who accidently created the first moment of danger for Hornchurch when his misplaced back pass went out for a corner, and an unmarked Simon Peddie moved up to head the corner over the bar.
Hornchurch missed a good opportunity to take the lead when Simon Glover played a long ball out to the left to Les Thompson, who opened up the defence with an excellent pass into the middle, only for Tambeson Eyong to miss his kick and the ball rolled harmlessly out of play.
After Noel was taken off, Love had to field a corner from the left, but defence was turned into attack when Love’s clearance was touched on by Eyong to Andy Tomlinson, who in turn passed back to Love, thence on to Lewis Smith, who scuffed his shot well wide of the goal.
Love was again in action when he turned a free kick from Tom Stephen out for a corner, which was comfortably cleared by Tomlinson, and up to Michael Spencer, whose shot went harmlessly across the face of the goal and out of play for a throw in.
A long Rickie Hayles throw came to nothing, whilst at the other end Elliot Styles headed clear from a Greg Cohen free kick.
Lewis Smith won a corner which Tomlinson floated over, and Hayles went up with Richard Wray, who was able to punch clear, with Hayles then needing attention after he landed heavily.
A Tomlinson corner was easily cleared and then Smith sent a good pass through to Thompson who hit his shot wide of the post. Woolley was in action at the other end, to punch away a corner, but the biggest surprise of the half was that only two minutes were added on for the numerous lengthy stoppages.
After what was something of a non event first half, the second half was much better, though it was the visitors who at times dictated the midfield play and who also won several corners, none of which ever looked threatening.
Woolley held a long range free kick from Tom Stephen, but Hornchurch struggled to get into an attacking position. This changed when Eyong and Thompson combined well to force a corner. Tomlinson took the kick and Elliot Styles got in a good header which Wray did well to hold right under the bar.
Troy Powell-Quarry came on for Les Thompson, and Petrit Elbi came on for East Thurrock in place of Kye Ruel. It was Petrit who was quickly into action with a hard shot that cannoned off a defender and out to Kris Newby, whose follow up shot was blocked and the ball went out for a corner, which Styles headed away.
When Simon Glover was brought down, a long Rickie Hayles free kick was well held by Richard Wray, and Hornchurch began to settle into an attacking rhythm.
And when Glover slotted the ball along to Lewis Smith, Lewis beat the offside trap to race towards goal, but his well directed shot was equally well saved by Wray.
Following an East Thurrock corner, Love cleared the ball to Anderson, who sent Lewis Smith away and racing towards goal. Lewis was sent crashing to the ground, but the anticipated penalty never happened as the referee allowed play to continue, this being just one of a number of decisions which irritated the crowd.
Lewis Smith took a good pass from Anderson before crossing to Tomlinson, whose first time volley from outside the area went narrowly over the bar, as Hornchurch began to find gaps in the visiting defence.
Wray punched away a Tomlinson corner, and Tommy Black came on for Simon Glover. With pressure mounting, a long kick by Woolley found Lewis Smith, whose excellent shot was touched around the post by Wray, who then rose to punch Black’s corner over the bar, and then rose again, this time to punch away Tomlinson’s inswinging corner from the right.
As the match went into stoppage time Anderson and Tomlinson combined to give Smith an opening, and Wray again did well to save the goal bound shot. The ball rebounded to Black, whose follow up cannoned off a defender.
With just fifteen seconds remaining, and with most of the crowd again resigned to the loss of two points, Joe Anderson won the ball in midfield and slotted it through to LEWIS SMITH, who raced away and hammered a hard shot into the top corner of the net, to ensure three points, and to keep up the pressure on Lowestoft and Billericay.