Bostik North: Hornchurch 1 Heybridge Swifts 0
PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 April 2018
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Hornchurch moved to the brink of promotion with another slender home win at Bridge Avenue.
An early Kenzer Lee goal had been enough to see off promotion hopefuls Potters Bar a week earlier, before a 6-1 romp at Brentwood on Easter Monday.
And one goal was all that was needed again on their own turf as Urchins edged past Swifts to move 15 points clear of third-placed Bowers & Pitsea, who came form two goals down to draw at Maldon.
Heybridge went close from an early corner, with the ball header over, but George Purcell then fired a shot on the turn from 18 yards over the crossbar at the other end.
James Baker was booked for a foul on Chris Assombalonga on 18 minutes but the visitors then saw Samuel Ashford test Sam Mott with a shot on the turn midway through the half.
Jack Cawley was too high with his effort for Heybridge and Urchins opened the scoring on 33 minutes when the ball was cleared upfield to Connor Hogan, who curled a lovely shot over the head of Jake Jessup and into the far corner of the net.
Swifts went close to a reply soon after but Elliot Styles produced a superb defensive header to deny them and the ball was fired back across the face of goal.
Juan Luque was shown the second yellow card for Heybridge, for a foul on Purcell shortly before the break, as the home side maintained their slender lead.
Luque went close to levelling six minutes into the second half, but his shot was just past the far post.
And Urchins were grateful to Kenzer Lee for a great headed clearance from a dangerous Harrison Chatting free kick just before the hour as Swifts continued to press.
Chatting fired another effort wide from 25 yards, but the home side weathered the storm and sent Leon McKenzie on for Assombalonga with a quarter of the match remaining.
And good work by the newcomer set up a chance for Purcell to double Hornchurch’s lead on 74 minutes, but the club’s all-time leading scorer saw his lobbed effort go over.
Mott tipped another Luque effort over his crossbar with nine minutes remaining and a Heybridge free-kick evaded everyone in the box, before Nathan Cooper cleared a corner.
The home side held on to their slender advantage through five minutes of stoppage time and another win at lowly Cheshunt on Tuesday will see them clinch promotion.
Hornchurch: Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Styles, Hogan, Roberts (Oluwatimilehin 69), Assombalonga (McKenzie 66), Purcell, Warner (Collis 89). Unused subs: Livings, Palmer.