Nathan Cooper’s 3rd goal in successive games, a 6th clean sheet in the last 7 and a fantastic all round team performance gave the Urchins a superb 1-0 win against Maldon & Tiptree despite losing goalkeeper Simon Bloch to injury at half time.
HORNCHURCH 1 MALDON & TIPTREE 0
HFC – Bloch (Collis 46), Bentley, Porter, Styles ©, Cooper, Oluwatimilehin, Fanimo, Livings (Hursit 84), Fairweather-Johnson (McKenzie 87), Purcell, Warner
Subs – Joseph, Chouman
MT – Kurasik, Akoto, Claridge, Lock © (Renee 33), Pollard, Millende, Morgan, Millar (Brown 71), – Ogedi Uzokwe, Kinsayna, Gondoh (CLampin 59)
Subs – Kensdale, Rowland
Officials – Jamaal Home with Nick Fruin and James Whitworth
Scorer – Cooper 70
Booking – Claridge 62 MT (OFF)
Duration – 48.00 + 49.00
H – red & white stripes / black / black
MT – all orange
HORNCHURCH 1 MALDON & TIPTREE 0
Simon Bloch again started in goal, with Sam Mott still unfit following his injury at Tilbury. Kenzer Lee was also out with an injury. And manager Jim McFarlane gave a start to Nathan Livings, signed a few days ago from Harlow Town.
Hornchurch have at times failed to reproduce their away form at Bridge Avenue, but tonight they gave those supporters who do not go to the away matches a taste of how they play away, with a commanding and dominating performance over Maldon & Tiptree. It did not look good for Hornchurch when they lost Simon Bloch, but stand-in goalkeeper, Dave Collis, was the inspiration behind a magnificent second half display, and Maldon were somewhat fortunate to go away with just a single goal defeat.
Hornchurch threatened in the opening minutes, when Theo Fairweather-Johnson intercepted a pass and powered along the right wing, his cross being cleared by Joshua Pollard.
Maldon had their first scoring chance when Alex Bentley was penalised, ten yards outside the area. Joe Claridge took the free kick, and the ball was fielded by Bloch.
Hornchurch came back when Nathan Livings played a pass out to Jay Porter on the left, and his cross found Brad Warner who in turn touched on to George Purcell, whose hard first time drive sound visiting keeper Dominic Kurasik in fine form, diving to turn the shot out for a corner. This led to two more corners before the ball was finally cleared.
Bloch saved a Ryan Gondoh free kick, and a weaving run by Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe earned a corner at the other end. Another Ogedi-Uzokwe run resulted in a free kick, again conceded, perhaps a little harshly, by Bentley, but the free kick went straight into the arms of the waiting Bloch.
Livings, playing in midfield, sent a through pass to Purcell, who was thwarted by Kurasik.
There was a lengthy delay when Matt Lock needed treatment, and he was replaced by an unnumbered substitute, later found to be Johnville Renee.
Then came an even longer stoppage when Ogedi-Uzokwe challenged for a long ball and Simon Bloch needed treatment for a head injury, the match being held up for some considerable time.
Bloch eventually continued, although he did not appear to be too aware of what was going on, but Maldon were unable to take advantage thanks to some solid defending, and Hornchurch then surged upfield, winning a free kick, from which Elliot Styles rose above the defence, but his header was too high and over the bar. In stoppage time a Ogedi-Uzokwe shot beat Bloch and came back off the bar.
Surprisingly only three minutes was added for first half stoppages, and there followed a further delay at the start of the second half when Simon Bloch lined up at the wrong end. Bloch, clearly in considerable discomfort, was then substituted, the main problem being that there was no recognised goalkeeper on the bench. Most expected Elliot Styles to take over in goal, but instead it was Dave Collis, who not only became the stand-in keeper, but who also gave a performance that inspired the rest of the team, as they dominated the second half.
Millar tried a long-range shot but the ball was very wide of the target, and three minutes into the half Warner broke down the left wing and crossed to Purcell, and Kurasik made an excellent save. The ball was only partially cleared as far as Purcell, lurking just outside the area, and his second shot in a matter of seconds beat Kurasik only to miss by inches.
Millar tried another long-range shot, but the ball cleared the bar by a considerable margin, and back at the other end Kurasik made another fine save, this time from Warner who had weaved his way into a shooting position. Warner was then in action at the other end of the pitch, defending a cross from the right wing.
The ball was played upfield, and Matt Fanimo, 40 yards out, went racing towards goal, only to be left in a heap by Joe Claridge, the last line of defence, who was promptly shown a red card, leaving Maldon a player short.
Fanimo created havoc on the right wing, racing past the defender, and his cross found Theo Fairweather-Johnson, whose shot beat the keeper but went agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Fanimo again, this time picking out Warner, but the shot was wide of the far post.
A goal was very much on the cards, and it came when Warner left the Maldon defence floundering, his cross being deflected for a corner. Warner sent the ball deep into the goalmouth, and Nathan Cooper finished off from close range, setting off jubilant scenes both on and off the pitch.
Maldon had no answer, the closest they could get to a goal was when Collis saved from Oluwole Ansanya.
Hornchurch now dominated proceedings, and a Warner free kick found Cooper, whose header skimmed the bar.
Maldon had little to offer, although Jay Porter covered well to block a shot from Ogedi Uzokwe, and Dave Collis, earning loud cheers whenever he touched the ball, held on to a dangerous cross from the left.
Leon McKenzie came on for Fairweather-Johnson, and caused Maldon more than a few problems, especially as centre half Joshua Pollard was limping and Maldon had no substitutes left.
Jamie Hursit came on for Livings, and made his mark with two timely tackles, as an inspired Hornchurch played out the remaining few minutes to earn a well-deserved three points.