AFC HORNCHURCH 1 LEWES 0
Player news – Troy Powell-Quarry has joined Aveley. Aaron Gayle has been released. Leon McKenzie has joined, from Grays, having spent three seasons at Thurrock, before joining Bromley Fola Orilonishe is on loan from Sutton Utd, where he was a regular in their team for two seasons, prior to which he was at Thurrock. Reiss Noel and Frankie Curley will both be available for selection after serving one match bans, but Lewis Smith will miss the next two matches, having now received ten yellow cards.
Hornchurch have received five red cards this season, and have only drawn one and lost four of those matches. Opponents have incurred five red cards against Hornchurch, and all those matches ended in wins for the Urchins – enough said.
Manager Jim McFarlane regarded this match to be the match of the season. And, as Jim put it, ‘If we win today, then next week will also be the match of the season, and every one after that.’
Hornchurch lost the toss and kicked towards the restaurant end of the ground, into the face of a strong wind, but they made Lewes look very much an average team, as they threatened to overcome the conditions and overwhelm the visitors. Less than a minute had gone when Fola Orilonishe touched the ball back to Joe Anderson, whose cross was headed narrowly wide by Martin Tuohy. And in their next move Leon McKenzie combined with Orilonishe and Anderson, to again open up the visiting defence, and this time it was keeper Pawel Szelemej who came t the rescue with a fine catch as Tuohy homed in. and Szelemej repeated the performance with another good catch, this time from Orilonishe’s dipping centre.
Tuohy went close with a shot on the turn after Tambeson Eyong had sped past Lewis Hamilton, and then Tuohy returned the compliment to Eyong, forcing Hamilton to concede a corner. Jon Hunt sent the ball across and Steve Robinson headed clear. Fola mad a lengthy solo run from inside his own half but his final shot was wide of the post, and Hornchurch could have taken the lead when Tuohy went clear, only to be sent crashing to the ground, but stand-in referee Mr Evetts allowed play to continue, ignoring the loud appeals for what many considered to be a certain penalty.
But Hornchurch kept up the pressure and were rewarded when Rickie Hayles broke up a move in midfield, and laid the ball across to Orilonishe, whose pass up field was back headed on by McKenzie. Max Hustwick seemed to have won the race for the ball, but MARTIN TUOHY anticipated the pass back to the keeper, and calmly rounded Szelemej to stroke the ball into the net for what proved to be the only goal of the match.
Tambeson won a corner which Hunt sent over, but the ball was cleared, and Tuohy almost increased the lead with a neat flick from Orilonishe’s cross, but Szelemej saved well. Close to half time Jon Hunt received the ball from Eyong, and Jon’s lobbed shot curled over the defence but landed on the roof of the net.
If the first half was a steady stroll against average opposition, the second half was very different, thanks to the weather. The wind completely turned around and Hornchurch again found themselves facing it, no longer a strong wind, but more like a gale. And to make things worst, the rain that had fallen throughout the first half now turned into a monsoon. Elliot Styles headed away a Harry Harding corner, as Lewes took full advantage of the weather in their backs.
A long clearance by Simon Glover reached McKenzie, whose carved the visiting defence apart only for his shot to rebound off of Matt Somner, and back to Hunt, whose follow up shot was deflected out by Steve Robinson, and keeper Szelemej rose high to catch the resulting corner.
A good run by Fola opened up the defence and his cross was met by Martin Tuohy who headed narrowly over.
Jack Walder was fortunate to remain on the field after what can best be described as a badly mistimed tackle on Leon McKenzie, who was also booked for what the referee considered to be retaliation, whilst Walder also escaped with a weakly waved yellow.
McKenzie took a pass from Anderson and neatly set up Tuohy, who however slipped over on in the deluge and the chance was lost.
Lewes, with the monsoon at their backs, won a corner, and Harding floated the ball over for Walder, whose header was headed off the line by Michael Spencer. The ball was played back to Harding, but his shot went yards wide of the goal.
Rickie Hayles then broke up an attack and slid the ball in front of Eyong, whose 50 yard run ended when Hamilton tackled to clear.
Andy Tomlinson came on for Jon Hunt, and Hornchurch had a nervous moment when Joe Woolley dropped Harding’s corner, but Hayles was quick to play the ball away to safety.
Christian Nanetti fired high and wide, whilst at the other end Glover sent Fola away on the left, where Charlie Leach covered well to tackle and clear the danger.
Les Thompson came on for Orilonishe, and as the monsoon turned to a steady downpour and then to just steady rain, so Hornchurch regained the initiative. In a defence splitting move, Tuohy touched back to Tomlinson, whose first time shot went inches over the bar. And a long Eyong run ended with Tambeson shooting just wide. Thompson then forced Szelemej into making the save of the match to deny what appeared to be a certain goal.
James Love came on to replace Martin Tuohy to ensure that the remaining few seconds were not going to give Lewes any chance of getting anywhere near the home goal, and Hornchurch will now move on to the next match of the season, at Kingstonian.
Fixture change – the Capital League match against Cheshunt is now scheduled for Tuesday next, having been brought forward two days as the council are carrying out work to the running track.