AFC HORNCHURCH 3 BURY TOWN 1
On a pitch which held up well despite almost three weeks of rain, Bury looked the more dangerous at the start, when Sam Reed’s well flighted free kick was headed wide of the post by Sam Nunn.
Hornchurch replied quickly when Carl Rook took a pass from Simon Glover out on the right wing and sent in a low ball through to Joe Anderson, who was foiled by a timely interception by Nunn.
Rickie Hayles was penalised for a tackle on John Sands and Sam Reed’s free kick sailed wide of the far post.
Hornchurch had a great chance to open the scoring when Frankie Curley passed to Lewis Smith, who weaved through the middle and his shot was saved by Marcus Garnham, who dived full length to touch the ball around the post. Andy Tomlinson flighted the corner high towards the far post where neither Elliot Styles or Frankie Curley could get a touch..
Hornchurch began to take control and Glover sent Smith away on the right, where Connor Hall managed to deflect the cross away for a corner, which Tomlinson sent over deep into the goalmouth and Garnham punched away.
It was Garnham again in action when he made another excellent save from a hard Lewis Smith drive, and Lewis Smith almost gave Hornchurch the lead when he ran on to a James Love pass, turned in towards goal, outpaced two defenders and then hit in a hard shot which rebounded off the post and was scrambled clear.
Styles headed away from a Sam Reed free kick, and Hornchurch quickly came back, with a Tomlinson free kick which Rook played forward to Martin Tuohy, whose first time shot was well saved by Garnham.
At the other end a Clark free kick crashed into the defensive wall, whilst a Sam Reed free kick, after Lewis Smith had mistimed a tackle, was flighted wide of the post.
Hornchurch ended the half with another good move involving Smith and Tuohy which ended in a corner, which Tomlinson sent into a packed goalmouth, and Garnham was first to react as the ball bounced loose.
Immediately after the interval Bury almost took the lead, when Same Reed ran through, and his shot was touched against the post and out for a corner by Joe Woolley, who then dealt well with a shot from John Kennedy.
There was action at the other end when Woolley played a long clearance up field, for Lewis Smith to race through. Smith lifted the ball over keeper Garnham, and it seemed a certain goal as Smith followed the ball goalwards, only to be apparently pulled down by Connor Hall, who then managed to deflect the ball around the post. Despite the loud appeals for a penalty, a corner was given. Tomlinson sent the ball over, swerving it deeply into the goalmouth, and LEWIS SMITH touched it firmly over the line.
Four minutes later and it was Lewis Smith again, this time beating the offside trap and racing down the right wing, where he sent over a low cross for MARTIN TUOHY to calmly place the ball into the net.
Hornchurch appeared to have the match well in control but Bury pulled a goal back then they broke out of defence and BILLY CLARK fired in an unstoppable drive from the left wing.
A minute later Lewis Smith could have made it three for Hornchurch when he weaved through and his shot skimmed the post.
Russell Short was perhaps fortunate to escape with a yellow card after a badly mistimed tackle on Tomlinson, who limped off and was replaced by Michael Spencer.
Hornchurch went further ahead in a move which started from their own area, and Joe Anderson played the ball short to Lewis Smith, who set out on a long cross field run before finding Martin Tuohy on the right. Tuohy outpaced the defence and played the ball low into the middle for CARL ROOK to calmly glide it into the net.
Jon Hunt came on for Rook and although Bury briefly rallied, the best they could achieve was a corner which Hayles comfortably cleared.
And it was almost a fourth goal when Tuohy’s shot was cleared off the line, back to Curley, whose follow up met the same fate. And when Nunn conceded a free kick, and escaped with a yellow card, Lewis Smith fired the free kick a fraction wide of the post.
Tambeson Eyong came on for Tuohy, and Bury replied with two corners in stoppage time before, just ten seconds from full time, Connor Hall was booked for a foul on Eyong, and must consider himself fortunate to remain on the field as, although the incident was in the Hornchurch half, he was the last line of defence.