AFC HORNCHURCH 1 METROPOLITAN POLICE 0
Carl Rook was signed prior to the match but was not eligible to play today. He has previously played for Dover, Hastings 2003, Whitstable, Folkestone, Sittingbourne, Deal Town, Horsham in 2007, Tonbridge in 2008, where he scored 70 goals in 100 appearances in three seasons, then Dartford, scoring 9 goals in 51 appearances between 2009 and 2011, Tonbridge (loan), Eastbourne June 2011.
Hornchurch made no changes to the starting line up, though Elliot Styles and Leon McKenzie returned to the squad. Hornchurch kicked towards the windmill end and quickly forced a corner, which Michael Spencer played short to Lewis Smith, took the return pass, and fired the ball into the goalmouth, where Jamie Butler made the first of several fine saves.
Lewis Smith was denied a penalty when he went down under a tackle after running through from a James Love throw, and another Spencer corner was played too low and was comfortably cleared.
Police came back into the match as an attacking force when a Ty Smith free kick was deflected out for a corner by Reiss Noel, though Ty Smith’s corner came to nothing as Frankie Curley cleared.
Simon Glover combined with Lewis Smith to send Fola Orilonishe away, and Butler did well to run out of his goal to grab the ball on the edge of the area.
Curley headed away from a Sam Hurrell corner, and Hurrell’s next corner met with a similar fate, this time at the head of Reiss Noel. In between Orilonishe headed wide from a Martin Tuohy centre.
Joe Woolley was called into action to deal with a somewhat speculative cross cum shot from James Tyrell, whilst Stafforde Palmer flicked a shot wide from a cross by Hurrell.
A striking feature of all the Police attacks was that keeper Butler frequently came up as far as the half way line, often leaving his goal unattended, though with the strong wind blowing downfield it is highly unlikely that any home player could have played the ball far enough up field to take advantage.
A Hurrell run led to a free kick when Love and Noel tackled at the same time, and Ty Smith’s free kick was headed out for a corner Curley, who then headed clear the resulting corner from Ty Smith.
With a minute to go in normal time, Spencer played the ball through to Lewis Smith, who rounded keeper Butler but was then brought down. Butler was booked, and MARTIN TUOHY stepped up to slot home the penalty.
In the final seconds of the half, Butler made three excellent saves in quick succession, to thwart Tuohy, Lewis Smith and then Tuohy again, eventually tipping the ball out for a corner, which Spencer took and the half time whistle followed immediately the ball was headed away.
The second half almost saw goals at either end in the space of a few seconds. At one end Rickie Hayles blocked a goal bound shot by Palmer, and play switched to the other end, where Lewis Smith’s corner was headed goalwards by Orilonishe, and the ball was blocked on the line by Butler, and it bobbled around the goal line before finally being booted clear.
Then came a Smith spectacular, as the visitors decided to self destruct. It started when Eddie Smith was booked for a foul on Simon Glover, who was also booked, and within a minute Ty Smith was booked for a foul on Orilonishe. Not to be outdone, Lewis Smith ran up to add his own version of events, which were rewarded with a yellow card from a referee who did not appear to be over impressed with the alternative version. And Eddie Smith then upgraded his yellow card to a red with another foul, this time on Rickie Hayles.
Eddie Smith made a very slow departure, and when play was allowed to resume a Craig Brown shot was blocked by Hayles.
Frankie Curley had to go off with a foot injury, and was replaced by Jon Hunt, with Hayles taking the captain’s arm band. And it was Hunt who sent Tuohy away, only for Tuohy to fire narrowly wide, and when Joe Anderson slotted the ball across to Hunt, he quickly played it on for Lewis Smith, who was brought down. Lewis Smith took the free kick and Butler saved well.
A Ty Smith corner was headed away by Noel, whilst a Hunt corner found Lewis Smith who headed wide of the goal.
A Spencer centre then found Lewis Smith, whose header was well saved by Butler. Another Ty Smith corner was cleared, and the ball was played up field to Orilonishe, and then back to Anderson, whose first time centre was headed inches over by Spencer.
Leon McKenzie came on for Tuohy, but it was the Police who again came close when Jack MacLeod sent a through pass to Mu Maan. Woolley quickly ran out of goal to narrow the angle, and Mu Maan hit his shot past Woolley but also wide of the goal..
Butler held a Hunt corner, under heavy pressure, and Andy Tomlinson came on to replace Fola. A long up field kick by Woolley allowed Lewis Smith to cut in from the left, but Elliott Taylor tackled to concede a corner. It was Jon Hunt’s one hundredth appearance for Hornchurch, so it was perhaps fitting that it was Hunt who had the final say in the match, with a well flighted corner, which keeper Butler did well to hold.