Bostik North: Bury Town 1 Hornchurch 4
PUBLISHED: 07:44 27 August 2017
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Tobi Joseph made his first start for Hornchurch in 20 months and scored twice in their win at Ram Meadow.
It was in December 2015 that Joseph suffered a badly broken leg, in two places, against Bury and somewhat fitting that almost two years months later he was named in the starting line-up.
Manager Jim McFarlane was unable to take charge of this match and Colin McBride took over for one match as his replacement.
The match took a long time to get going with neither team able to create any openings in the first 10 minutes, with the main tactics for the home side being a series of very long throws into the Hornchurch goalmouth by Darcy De’Ath, though they offered little threat, apart from one that Ollie Hughes headed wide of the far post.
Hornchurch took the lead with their first attack of the half, when George Purcell ran along the left wing and Joseph neatly glided his low cross into the goalmouth into the net.
Bury began to press forward, with Bradley Barber putting a free kick several yards wide of the target, and Sam Mott tipped over a header from a Liam Wales cross.
But it was Hornchurch who again came closest to scoring when Purcell was just beaten to a Joseph through ball by Luis Tibbles.
Alex Bentley made a timely tackle on the ever-dangerous Noel Aitkens, and at the other end Ross Wall flicked on to Purcell, whose shot produced a good save by Tibbles.
From the resulting corner, Brad Warner played the ball to Purcell on the edge of the area and his hard volley went wide of the upright.
Warner sent a low cross into the middle where Tibbles just grabbed the ball as Wall moved in, and in quick succession Elliot Styles and Nathan Cooper both headed over as corners were floated into the goalmouth.
Mott made an excellent save from a Hughes header, but two minutes later, on 38 minutes, Bury drew level when Bradley Barber sent in a long free kick towards a packed goal area, and the Hornchurch keeper could only help it over the line.
Towards the end of the first half Hornchurch began to regain control, and when Mott launched a long kick upfield, Wall flicked on, and Tibbles just beat Purcell to the ball.
Almost on the interval, following sustained pressure, a Brad Warner shot came back off the post.
Nine minutes into the second half a Barber free kick was cleared out to the right to Wall, who quickly played the ball forward to Purcell on the right wing. Purcell crossed to Warner who neatly slotted home to put Hornchurch into a lead that they never looked like losing.
Hornchurch were now in command of the midfield and the third goal followed on 71 minutes as Warner took a third corner in succession and Joseph headed home his second goal of the day.
Purcell went close with a good run and shot and then sent with a magnificent volley into the far corner of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
But the fourth goal quickly followed, when a Bury substitute was dispossessed and the ball ran to Theo Fairweather-Johnson, who rounded the keeper and, under pressure from a defender, took the ball out towards the edge of the area, where he turned and neatly lobbed it over the heads of Tibbles and into the net.
In stoppage time Mott saved well from Hughes, and then from Barber, but by then the result was never in doubt.
Hornchurch return to Bridge Avenue to host local rivals Romford, who had a 4-1 win of their own over Tilbury, on Bank Holiday Monday, with the two sides also set to meet in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup at Ship Lane on Sunday September 3.
Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley (Hursit 66), Porter, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Joseph, Styles, Wall, Purcell (Tuohy 82), Warner (Fairweather-Johnson 76).