Bostik North: Hornchurch 4 Romford 1
PUBLISHED: 07:30 29 August 2017
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Three goals at the start of the second half helped Hornchurch maintain their 100 per cent start to the 2017/18 campaign, as they beat local rivals Romford on a glorious Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Two from Brad Warner, plus goals from Kenzer Lee and George Purcell, meant the Urchins still sit at the top of the Bostik North table, scoring 13 goals and conceding only two in the process.
Despite Jamie Dicks’ goal for Romford, the home side will clearly have the upper hand when they play each other again in the FA Cup in just under a week’s time.
The local rivalry was evident in the early stages with both sides demonstrating their physical presence with strong aerial battles and aggressive 50/50 tackles, but referee David Harrison allowed the play to continue.
After 20 minutes, the game seemed to spring into life for the home side, as Hornchurch began to pile the pressure on Boro.
Tobi Joseph, who had started the game brightly down the right, tucked inside to meet a cross, and a clear push in the back was not given as a penalty, much to the disgust of the Urchins fans behind Jim McFarlane’s bench.
Purcell was the first to have a shot for the hosts, when his strike on the angle dragged wide of the right-hand post.
And Purcell was allowed another attempt a few minutes later, after Romford manager Paul Martin was given a talking-to for his protests against refereeing decisions, when Nathan Cooper’s long ball down the right was brought down well by the attacker and his left-footed shot was collected down low by keeper Stephen Reynolds.
Towards the end of the first half, the tackles increased in their ferocity. First, Elliot Styles had his name taken for a late challenge on central midfielder Manny Brown.
And Purcell was next to go into the book, as he went for the ball against the onrushing Romford goalkeeper and his late challenge was greeted by the Romford fans chanting for his sending-off.
After the restart McFarlane’s side were quick to reassert themselves and it paid dividends after just eight minutes as the ball was recycled from a throw-in and looped into the box over the Romford back four and Lee muscled his way to the ball and tapped it passed Reynolds.
Romford then found themselves in even more trouble, as a throw-in down the left was flicked on by Ross Wall to Purcell, who turned his man and whipped a delightful cross to the back post and striker Warner was free to nod the ball home for his fourth of the season.
The Urchins continued their dominance by adding a third from the penalty spot just five minutes later, as Joseph was brought down by Ryan Burt Allen and it allowed Purcell to slot the ball home and score himself his third of the campaign.
The Hornchurch faithful were in a joyful mood in the summer sunshine and could have been even more ecstatic as Joseph delivered a low cross from the right and only a smart stop from Reynolds kept Purcell from getting his second of the game.
Despite Hornchurch’s dominance, Romford gave themselves a lifeline as a free-kick was floated into the box and Dicks was on hand to have a header deflected over Sam Mott and into the back of the net.
Romford’s goal didn’t seem to create any doubt in the minds of the home side, though, as a Styles corner was met by Wall whose header crashed against the bar and out for a goal kick.
The Urchins continued to create chances right up to the final whistle, as substitute Theo Fairweather-Johnson found space on the edge of the box and his effort whistled over the bar.
They made it four just before full-time, as Warner scored his second of the afternoon, after he pivoted on the edge of the box and struck the ball cleanly past Reynolds to bring the chanting of the fans back to life.
Hornchurch: Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Joseph (Tuohy 85), Styles, Wall (Fairweather-Johnson 79), Purcell (McKenzie 74), Warner. Unused subs: Hussain, Goodacre.
Romford: S Reynolds, Burt-Allen, Cossington, Ishmail (Taylor 70), Vickers, Dicks, Adebayo, Brown (Clarke 66), Giwa, Jeakins, Modeste (Nzengo 66). Unused subs: Olukoga, Martin.