HARROW BOROUGH 1 HORNCHURCH 0
Normally a club gets an injury crisis, but today it was an illness crisis which left Hornchurch without Reiss Noel, Frankie Curley and Les Thompson.
Hornchurch got off to a slow start, and Joe Woolley had to rush out of goal to kick away when some slack defending allowed Jon Jo Bates a clear run at a high bouncing ball. Hornchurch quickly retaliated, when they were awarded a fee kick midway inside the home half, and Jon Hunt’s floated kick found Lewis Smith whose shot was comfortably saved by Jamie Jackson.
A promising move saw Woolley throw the ball to Elliot Styles, who touched on to Martin Tuohy who was immediately sent crashing down by Wayne Walters. The referee allowed play to continue and Smith sent the ball on to Tambeson Eyong, who played it into the goalmouth, where there was no one close enough to get a touch. Surprisingly no action was taken against Walters.
A further piece of poor defending allowed Rob Wooleaston to race clear, and it took a very quick piece of anticipation by Simon Glover who raced back to tackle on the edge of the area.
Hornchurch began to settle down and a James Love cross was deflected out for corner. Jon Hunt played the ball short to Lewis Smith for the first of what was a number of wasted corners.
It was Hunt who was continuously in the action and from one of his pinpoint passes Michael Spencer moved rapidly in from the left but hit his shot too high and over the bar.
Hornchurch almost took the lead when Tambeson Eyong broke through the middle and his goal bound shot hit a defender, looped over the keeper, and dropped on to the roof of the net, for another corner, which once again came to nothing.
Then it was the turn of Joe Anderson to break through, and his shot went for a corner, which, same as the previous one, was pitched too low and easily cleared.
Glover made a good opening when he took a pass from Rickie Hayles and slotted through to Spencer, who shot perhaps too hurriedly and the ball went wide of the post.
Then it was Hunt to Love whose run ended with a good low ball into the middle, where it was played out for a corner, which was again played short and then cleared.
Hornchurch then almost let Harrow through at the other end when Hunt lost possession in midfield, allowing Bates to run along the left before playing the ball back in front of Garry Jones, who hit his shot high and wide when well placed.
A Glover cross was then headed out for a corner, and Hunt swerved the ball over for Walters to outjump Tuohy and head to safety. The next move saw Smith send Tuohy clear through the middle, and although he neatly lobbed the keeper to put the ball firmly into the net, the flag went up for offside and the goal was ruled out.
Eyong split the defence wide open with an excellent run and cross and the ball rolled agonisingly past an outstretched Martin Tuohy. The half ended when home keeper Jackson rose well to hold on to a Hunt corner.
The second half saw Hornchurch playing into the wind which had risen noticeably during the half time interval.
A strong start saw Love cross dangerously close to goal where the ball was turned out for a corner. Hunt sent the ball over and Glover headed over the bar.
Harrow were confined to breakaways and from one of these Bates ran through and his shot was blocked by Styles at the expense of a corner. Garry Jones sent the ball across and Danny Buckle headed the ball high over the bar.
And when Lewis Smith tried one of his trademark runs, he forgot to take the ball with him and this allowed Buckle to have a clear run at goal, and for the second time in a matter of seconds it was Elliot Styles who ran back to block the shot and concede a corner which this time was taken by Rob Wooleaston and well fielded by Woolley.
Hornchurch, having some considerable difficulty playing into the increasing wind, almost took the lead when Anderson played the ball high into the goalmouth where Eyong rose well to head, and Jackson did well to tip the ball over the bar, for another Hunt corner, which was headed to safety by Danny Leech.
Rickie Hayles then headed away from a Buckle cross cum shot, and Leon McKenzie came on for Tambeson Eyong, and shortly afterwards Carl Rook came on for Simon Glover.
A Tuohy shot was turned out for a corner, which Hunt sent over and although the ball cleared the defence it also cleared the Hornchurch forwards. The ball was played deep upfield and eventually back to Joe Woolley, whose very poor clearance went straight to an unmarked JON JO BATES, who promptly accepted the gift and put the ball straight back and into the net for what proved to be the only goal of the match.
Hornchurch almost replied immediately when Hunt sent Smith away, but the shot was scrambled off the line.
With Hornchurch forced to attack, Harrow took advantage when they broke down the left, but Buckle headed high over the bar.
A Smith shot went for another corner, which Hunt again sent over and which was cleared by Leech, and a Hunt shot was then deflected out for another corner.
Harrow briefly looked dangerous when corners from Jones and Wooleaston were headed away by Styles and Hayles, whilst at the other end a McKenzie shot was touched around the post for another corner.
Fola Orilonishe replaced Michael Spencer and this allowed Hornchurch to open up the left flank, causing a number of problems in the home defence, and a Fola run ended with a fine shot and equally fine save for yet another wasted corner.
Rook almost played McKenzie through but Hornchurch’s hopes of getting back into the match took a serious knock when Elliot Styles received a very belated second yellow card for a tackle which had occurred some fifteen seconds previously and which did not even merit a free kick, let alone a card.
A player short and Hornchurch piled everyone forward, and crosses and shots rained in on the home goal. Almost on the stroke of full time Fola played the ball through to Smith whose goal bound shot was tipped around the post by Jackson, to ensure Harrow of the three points and safety from relegation.