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George Sessions at Bridge Avenue
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 2 Hampton & Richmond 3
Hornchurch’s inconsistent home form continued as Hampton & Richmond Borough edged a five-goal thriller in the Ryman Premier Division to dent the home side’s hopes of a top-three finish.
The play-off position is far from guaranteed either after Ben Harris’ hat-trick earned the visitors victory as, although George Purcell and Rickie Hayles got Urchins back on level terms, Hampton consigned the hosts to a seventh home defeat in the league this season.
Urchins made the worst possible start as they conceded twice in a three-minute period early on to leave themselves an uphill task.
The first Hampton goal was shockingly poor as far as Hornchurch were concerned as Frankie Curley lost the ball in midfield and Hampton’s Harris beat keeper Inigo Echepare to the ball and won his side a penalty.
Harris fired his spot-kick straight down the middle to punish Echepare’s hesitant sweeping and doubled his side’s lead three minutes later when Phil Starkey committed himself against the speedy Luke Wanadio, and the winger raced into the box before Harris calmly converted.
In an action-packed opening 15 minutes the scoring wasn’t over as Purcell handed Hornchurch a lifeline with a stunning, swerving free-kick for his 30th league strike of the season.
The hosts should have levelled shortly afterwards but Hampton keeper Rodney Chiweshe blocked Chris Bourne’s close-range effort after Purcell had flicked Stefan Payne’s cross to the back post.
With half time looming Chiweshe once again came to Hampton’s aid as he brilliantly saved from Payne and a minute after the interval, Hornchurch would have wondered how they weren’t on level terms.
Payne crashed a header against the crossbar before it agonizingly dropped on the line and the ball was cleared after Tambeson Eyong somehow failed to find the telling touch.
Martin Tuohy had a great chance after Purcell played him through, but despite initially showing good composure the Urchins forward slotted wide.
With 64 minutes played Hornchurch did find an equaliser, though, and through an unlikely source as defender Hayles powerfully headed home Bourne’s free kick.
However, despite getting back on terms, Urchins failed to build on that goal and instead the flow of the game become disjointed.
Tom Hickey did fire over for Hampton before Harris completed his treble with an intelligent flick to give the away side the lead with just ten minutes remaining.
And although Hornchurch won several corners and throws during the final exchanges, a clear-cut chance failed to materalise and defeat drops Urchins to fourth in the table ahead of Monday’s derby meeting at Canvey Island.
Hornchurch: Echepare, Starkey, Bourne (Bremner 73), Styles, Hayles, Curley, Eyong, Phillips (May 60), Payne, Purcell, Tuohy (Rook 83).