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Ryman Premier: East Thurrock 1 Hornchurch 2

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Two more goals from in-form striker Stefan Payne secured three points for promotion-chasing Hornchurch at Rookery Hill.

Payne had netted his 20th goal of the season in the midweek win over Enfield Town and moved ahead of George Purcell, who struck twice in that 3-0 triumph, with his brace against the Rocks.

And victory lifted Urchins above Bognor, whose home match against Billericay was postponed, and back into the play-off places.

Urchins had their first chance of note on seven minutes when Joey May played a short corner to Payne, whose shot was spilled by Rocks keeper David Hughes before he smothered the loose ball.

Inigo Echepare produced a great save to deny Jack Hopkins at the other end a minute later before the visitors opened the scoring in the 11th minute.

Alex Bentley’s pass upfield found Payne, who showed excellent control before unleashing a 30-yarder past the startled Hughes.

Purcell went close to doubling Hornchurch’s lead three minutes later, curling a shot just wide.

But Rocks then started to come into the game more, favouring attacks on the right side and delivering some decent crosses into the box.

The hosts failed to seriously test Echepare, though, and Urchins saw Payne fire wide from May’s corner on 35 minutes, before David Bryant missed the target at the other end.

Urchins forced a succession of corners before the break and they made one count on the stroke of half time as Payne headed home his second goal of the afternoon and 22nd of a productive campaign.

But Hopkins hit back four minutes after the restart when his long range effort sailed over the head of Echepare to give the home side hope.

George Purcell crossed for Phil Starkey to head over on 56 minutes, but Urchins had a let-off six minutes from time when Rocks had a long range effort ruled out by the officials.

Jimmy McFarlane’s men will look to keep their bid on track when they play host to lowly Cray on Tuesday.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Coyne, Bentley, Styles, Hayles, Curley, Starkey, May (Rainford 82), Payne (Eyong 87), Purcell, Bremner.

Unused subs: Rook, Lechmere, Bowditch.

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