WE ARE GOING UP ! Hornchurch secured their return to the Bostik Premier in style hitting Witham Town for 6 with goals from Styles, Purcell, Bentley, Assombalonga and a brace from Warner.
WITHAM TOWN 1 HORNCHURCH 6
WT – Mason, Owusu, Whipps, Gyebi, Payne (Corlett 79), Kemsley, Mallett, Watson ©, Imbert (Gordon 67), Ronto (Osadebe 79), Davidson
Subs – Robinson, Wilson
HFC – Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Styles ©, Hogan (Livings 74), Oluwatimilehin (Bentley 61), McKenzie (Assombalonga 60), Purcell, Warner
Subs – Chouman, Collis
Officials – Thomas Hancock with Adam Steele and Douglas Lawson
Scorers – Warner 19 (H) – Styles 45 (H) – Whipps 58 (WT) – Purcell 60p (H) – Bentley 72 (H) – Warner 79 (H) – Assombalonga 90+2 (H)
Duration 46.00 + 48.00
WT – White / black / red
H – all yellow
WITHAM TOWN 1 HORNCHURCH 6
Hornchurch took some time to settle on a difficult pitch, and although Witham twice had opportunities to get back into the game, it was Hornchurch who eventually ran out comfortable winners on a warm Spring day.
Witham had the better of the opening ten minutes, although the closest they came was when Elliot Styles conceded a free kick following a tackle on Lewis Payne, but Correy Davidson sent the ball high over the defensive wall and over the bar.
Hornchurch defended a Witham corner with ease, and their first scoring chance came when George Purcell received the ball from a Brad Warner pass, but the ball bobbled awkwardly and the shot was sent wide of the goal.
Hornchurch went ahead on nineteen minutes when the ball was played across from the right, Purcell appeared to miskick, and the ball ran on to Brad Warner who slotted home from close range.
Leon McKenzie went close when he ran on to a long ball out of defence only to direct his shot too high and over.
Hornchurch had a narrow escape when a corner into a packed goalmouth was headed on, and Kenzer Lee cleared off the line, and back at the other end, where by now most of the action was taking place, Purcell went close, whilst a Jamie Hursit free kick found Nathan Cooper, and his header was went just wide of the goal.
Almost on half time a McKenzie shot was turned around the post for a corner, Warner floated the ball over to the far post, and Elliot Styles, who had minutes earlier received treatment for a head injury, headed home from close range.
Three minutes into the second half Warner opened up the defence on the left and crossed to Connor Hogan, whose shot cleared the bar, and shortly afterwards Purcell ran on to a Hursit free kick, his shot being deflected for a corner.
At the other end John Watson tried a hard shot that went over the bar, and Purcell almost found the net at the Witham end, his powerful run ending in a corner.
Witham pulled a goal back when Liam Whipps neatly finished off a Watson cross, but the come-back lasted just sixty seconds, as Hornchurch went back up field, George Purcell was brought down inside the area, and he hammered the penalty hard into the net for the third goal.
Witham goalkeeper Bobby Mason saved well from Connor Hogan, and manager Colin McBride, with Jim McFarlane looking on, made two substitutions, Chris Assombalonga coming on for McKenzie, and Alex Bentley for Olu Oluwatimilehin.
Bentley was in action immediately with a fine run and shot that was turned out for a corner, but Witham were handed a golden opportunity to reduce the arrears when Nathan Cooper was penalised for hand ball, a very harsh decision as the ball was fired hard at him from just two yards away.
Jake Gordon, who had only come onto the pitch four minutes earlier, stepped up to take the penalty, and Sam Mott dived to his right to turn the shot around the post. The corner was cleared, and less than sixty seconds later Connor Hogan chased the long clearance, beat Mason to the ball, and passed neatly to Alex Bentley, who made no mistake from close range.
Nathan Livings replaced Hogan, and within seconds of his arrival, he ran on to a Jay Porter pass but hit his shot a fraction too high.
It was now very much a question of whether Hornchurch could improve their goal difference and shots rained in on a nervous Witham defence, and it was no surprise when Purcell opened up the right side flank, and his cross towards the far post found Brad Warner, who headed home goal number five.
Mason made three good saves in succession as Hornchurch threatened to overwhelm the home side, and Mason made another fine save, from a rampant Purcell. As the match moved into stoppage time, Alex Bentley again ran along the right wing and hit a shot which cannoned back off the post to Chris Assombalonga who quickly followed up to score, to the very obvious delight of the large away following, who made up three quarters of the crowd.
Hornchurch now need one more point to become champions.