Bostik North: Hornchurch close in on title despite Cheshunt postponement with Heybridge Swifts success
PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 April 2018
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Two matches were scheduled over the weekend, but only one was played. We wondered whether our home match against Heybridge Swifts would go ahead, after heavy rain in the preceding days, but there were no problems with the pitch, and an inspection was not needed.
Heybridge needed to take the three points on offer in order to maintain their very late push for the promotion play-off places, whilst our own supporters, players and management were now looking towards winning the league.
On the day, our defence certainly needed to be on top form, with the dual threat of Juan Luque and Luke Callender up front for the Swifts, but neither really threatened our goalkeeper Sam Mott in the first half, and, perhaps not surprisingly, the match was settled with a sensational goal.
And the scorer was Connor Hogan, who took possession on the left touchline and a goal never looked likely from that position, but he curled in a shot that beat a packed defence and a very surprised goalkeeper, the ball ending up in the far corner of the net.
Heybridge attacked almost non stop for the first half hour of the second half, but Sam Mott had only one on-target shot to save, with Swifts forced to rely on Kreshnic Krasniqi, whose long throws caused a few problems, with several deflected for a seemingly never-ending succession of corner kicks.
But Swifts ran out of steam, and Hornchurch had little difficulty in playing out the final fifteen minutes, and could have increased their lead when George Purcell lofted the ball over the keeper but a shade too high and on to the roof of the net.
It was interesting to note the player of the match - the East Side supporters chose Nathan Cooper, the Isthmian League, who were filming the match, chose Jamie Hursit, and the Non-League Paper chose Elliot Styles - all three are defenders, and that possibly sums up the performance of our incredible defence throughout the season.
There was a special and loud round of applause when Dave Collis took the field to booster the defence for the final few minutes, for it was his one hundredth appearance for Hornchurch.
Collis is mainly known for his midfield and defensive capabilities, but many will remember him as the stand-in goalkeeper, when he played the entire second half in goal against Maldon & Tiptree on December 5, keeping a clean sheet in the progress.
With only minimal rain on Sunday and Monday it was something of a surprise to find that our match at Cheshunt was postponed, although several other games in the area met the same fate, and it will now be restaged on the final Tuesday of the season.
We now look forward to Saturday when we travel to Witham Town in our on-going search for three more points.
It was a dull and dismal day when we played Witham at Bridge Avenue in November, and it became even gloomier when, two minutes into stoppage time, Witham broke upfield, and Correy Davidson ran on to the cross to score the only goal of the game.
Witham were at the wrong end of the table at the time, and have since moved into a mid-table position, having won four of their last six matches, their defeats being against Heybridge Swifts and Canvey Island. It will not be an easy game.
Our next home match is next Tuesday, when we play Mildenhall Town, after the original match was postponed due to snow.
We travelled to Mildenhall in November, and won 6-0 with goals coming from Nathan Cooper, George Purcell, Sean Roberts and three from Leon McKenzie.
Mildenhall’s form has been erratic at times, for after they won 2-1 at Maldon, they went on to lose four of their next six matches, including a 7-1 defeat against Brentwood Town and a 6-0 loss at Haringey Borough.
We are currently on 92 points, and can only be caught by Bowers & Pitsea, who could achieve 95 points if they win all their remaining games, and Potters Bar, who could amass 94 points.
So we need four points from our remaining five matches to secure the title.