AFC HORNCHURCH 3 MARGATE 0
One enforced change from Saturday – Leon McKenzie was unwell and Fola Orilonishe came into the starting line up, with Les Thompson coming into the squad.
On a clear night, when Venus was at 90 degrees to the crescent moon, both sides started cautiously, and the best either could manage was a speedy run down the left wing by Tom Murphy, whose low cross into the goalmouth was well held by Joe Woolley.
This led to the first Hornchurch sortie into the Margate area, when Woolley played the ball long up field ahead of Fola Orilonishe, who was foiled by a quick thinking Simon Overlands who came to the edge of the area to gather.
Hornchurch almost took the lead when Simon Glover found Joe Anderson, whose right footed shot from outside the area dipped alarmingly and just a fraction over the bar.
Hornchurch began to get into a more flowing stride and took the lead when Reiss Noel broke up a Margate attack and sent the ball to Rickie Hayles, who switched the play to the left with a cross field pass to Anderson, who made ground before crossing high into the middle, where Frankie Curley headed the ball back across goal for MARTIN TUOHY to head home.
A Fola shot then went narrowly wide of the far post, whilst another Fola shot was blocked, and the ball ran out to Curley, whose follow up went close but not close enough.
Lewis Smith had already made a couple of his trademark runs, before setting off once again and firing in a hard drive from the left, which skimmed the far post.
Margate briefly came back when Murphy made another lengthy run along the left flank, and his excellent cross met with an equally fine save from Woolley.
Dan Stubbs won the first corner of the match, and Woolley jumped high to gather the swerving ball as it came across, before Hornchurch went further ahead following a move which started with a length Orilonishe run. Fola opened up the defence with a fine pass out to LEWIS SMITH, who cut inside and fired the ball hard past Overlands.
Smith almost returned the compliment to Fola shortly afterwards, when he opened up the defence with an excellent cross which Orilonishe fired just inches wide of the post. Hornchurch continued to press, though the best they could manage were two corners, both taken by Michael Spencer, neither of which cleared the head of the first defender.
The second half started in the same fashion, with another Spencer corner, which again was cleared by the first defender, whilst Margate’s first sortie into the Hornchurch half ended when Anderson broke up the move inside his own area, and passed to Orilonishe, who sped down the wing for over 90 yards, before his eventual cross was cleared by Dean Pooley.
Fola repeated the performance, albeit with a much shorter wing dash, and this time he picked out Lewis Smith, whose shot was well saved by Overlands.
Smith next decided to try his luck with a long run on the right side, which resulted in a corner, and this time Spencer’s kick drifted across the goal mouth.
A Margate corner came to nothing, thanks to a timely clearance by Reiss Noel, and the ball was played up field, and finally to Tuohy, whose neat chip went over Overlands, but also just over the bar.
Tuohy then won a corner, which Spencer took, and again the ball failed to clear a packed defence. Margate had introduced Matt Bodkin and Thomas Bradbrook, and they linked up well for Bradbrook to fire a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth, where Woolley saved well.
Smith then combined with Fola to set up a promising move, and Fola’s hard shot was saved brilliantly by Overlands, only for the ever alert MARTIN TUOHY to follow up to stab the ball home.
Andy Tomlinson came on for Spencer. And Jon Hunt for Orilonishe. After a brief Margate rally, which earned them a corner, and a close call when a shot almost deflected into the net, a Hunt cross led to a corner at the other end. Hunt’s corner met the same fate as earlier corners, as the ball was cleared up field. Les Thompson came on for Lewis Smith, who had twice in as many minutes engaged in animated conversation with the referee over a couple of decisions, and Hornchurch had no difficulty in playing out the final few minutes, to take the three points, and also to make it three matches in succession without any bookings.