HORSHAM 0 HORNCHURCH 3
It was red ball day – and players do not like red balls – this particular red ball lasted less than sixty seconds, and was last seen disappearing over a large horse chestnut tree.
Horsham kicked off with the strong wind in their favour, and down the slight slope towards the extra bumpy end of the ground, and won a corner in the first minute, which was also when the red ball made its exit, with just one Hornchurch player having touched it. Wayne Clark floated the (new) ball over, and Rickie Hayles cleared.
Hornchurch could have taken a second minute lead when a James Love throw found its way to Leon McKenzie, who however hooked his shot wide of the goal. And Hornchurch continued to press, when Joe Anderson made a long penetrating run on the left, before crossing low into the goalmouth, where no one could get a touch.
A good run by Simon Glover saw him likewise cross the ball, which again ran across the goalmouth, and Anderson gathered on the left to fire it back into the middle, where Martin Tuohy’s header was well saved by Michael Hunter.
Horsham could not take advantage of he strong wind, though Joe Woolley twice in quick succession had to leap high to keep out long clearances which threatened to bounce into the net.
A McKenzie – Lewis Smith – Love move ended with an excellent through pass to Tuohy, whose cross was deflected out for a corner by Charlie Farmer. Michael Spencer sent the ball across, and Simon Glover’s header was headed off the line to prevent a goal.
And it was Glover again who went close from a similarly flighted Spencer corner. In what was a rare sortie up field, Reiss Noel was forced to concede a corner, and Clark sent the ball over for Farmer, who, unmarked, headed powerfully into the side netting.
Hornchurch went ahead with a good move which saw Lewis Smith make ground on the right before crossing into the middle, where Leon McKenzie played the ball neatly back for MARTIN TUOHY to slot home.
Hornchurch dominated but without seeming to be able to penetrate the home defence. The closest they came was when Love was fouled out on the right and Spencer’s well struck free kick looked to be a certain goal until Hunter dived full length to save.
And close to half time Frankie Curley created an opening for Lewis Smith, who ran on but hit his shot too high and just over the bar.
The second half followed much the same pattern, with Hornchurch well in command for much of the time, but not able to get many attempts on target. McKenzie came close with two well struck shots, the first of which skimmed the bar, whilst the second went somewhat higher.
Horsham still tried hard to move forward but when Tony Nwachukwu went down with what looked like a pulled muscle, he was forced to go off and their attacks quickly petered out.
But just when it seemed it was going to be one of those days when nothing would go right, Love won the ball inside his own half and sent LEWIS SMITH away on one of his trademark runs. Lewis seemed to have little chance of scoring, and with McKenzie and Tuohy waiting in the middle unmarked, Lewis instead chose to fire home from a very narrow angle.
And a minute later Smith set off again, and this time played the ball inside to McKenzie, whose first time shot looked a certain goal, only for Hunter to make an excellent save to turn the ball around the post. Spencer took the corner but no one could get the final touch as it swerved across goal.
Anderson then played a long ball to Tuohy who touched back to McKenzie, who hammered his shot over the unguarded goal. But within a minute Tuohy made ground and crossed for LEON McKENZIE to fire home his first goal for Hornchurch.
Jon Hunt came on for Tuohy, and it was a short Hunt free kick to Lewis Smith which ended with Hunter making another good save, to turn the shot out for a corner. Hunt floated the ball into the centre for Curley, who directed his headed a fraction too high.
McKenzie almost had another goal, but his solo run ended with his shot going too high and over the bar.
Andy Tomlinson came on for Curley and Fola Orilonishe for Spencer, but Horsham rallied towards the end and won a corner, which was taken by Clark and headed away by Hunt.
And when Clark took a second corner, controversy followed, as Glover seemed to be pulled down as he jumped to head clear, and in the confusion, the referee decided that he had handled the ball. Wayne Clark stepped up to take the penalty, in the absence of regular taker Nwachukwu, and Joe Woolley dived high and to his right to make an excellent save.
Three goals, three points, and a performance which was far better than their recent home form.