Bostik North: Potters Bar 1 Hornchurch 2
PUBLISHED: 08:50 10 September 2017
© 2017 Mandy Davies
Hornchurch made it five wins out of five while ending the unbeaten record of Potters Bar amid torrential rain in Hertfordshire.
Just as the match started, so the first drops of rain fell, quickly turning into a torrent and George Purcell fired in the first shot of the match, running on to Jamie Hursit’s cross-field pass and sending his hard drive past the far post from a narrow angle.
Hornchurch took the lead on seven minutes after a move that began with Brad Warner, who played the ball out to an overlapping Jay Porter on the left. The ball was sent into the middle, where Theo Fairweather-Johnson, on the edge of the area, turned sharply and volleyed home past a diving Berkley Laurencin.
Potters Bar went close with their first attack of the match as Maxwell Holland, who caused the Hornchurch defence a lot of problems in the first half, sent in a shot that was blocked by Kenzer Lee. The ball rebounded to Andrew Lomas, but his cross-cum-shot went a long way wide of the post.
The hosts began to exert strong pressure and a Michael Murray free kick was deflected around the post for the first of two successive corners, both taken by Cedric Nicholas, and from the second of these, Billy Lobjoit sent a hard shot wide of the target.
On 23 minutes Purcell ran in powerfully from the left wing, but his shot rose a fraction too high and over the bar.
Four minutes later Murray again sent in a free kick, but well off-target, and at the other end Warner fed the ball out to Purcell, but his shot was too high.
So far Sam Mott had not been called upon to make a save, thanks to some solid defending, and when Eoin Casey put in a cross, the ball went across the face of the goal, a little too close for comfort.
Mott then dived to his left to tip a free kick from Casey to safety and Murray put over a good centre towards the far post, which George Nicholas headed wide.
But on 44 minutes Potters Bar drew level, when Casey headed home from close range.
The rain stopped at half time and the second half started in sunshine, and it was Hornchurch very much in the ascendency, with first Leon McKenzie and then Fairweather-Johnson having shots cleared off the line.
Urchins were not to be denied and when Warner, deep inside his own half, played a long ball upfield, McKenzie outpaced his marker and sent in a hard shot from outside the area to put Hornchurch back ahead.
Jed Chouman, in command in midfield, sent in a long range drive that Laurencin turned out for a corner, and, as the pressure continued almost non-stop, Purcell had a shot tipped over the bar, and then saw a shot rebound to Nathan Cooper, whose follow-up met the same fate.
On 80 minutes Fairweather-Johnson moved on to a cross from Warner, and his hooked shot skimmed the bar.
Chouman sent a free kick wide, and Laurencin dropped an inswinging Warner corner into his own net, only for the goal to be ruled out, perhaps fortuitously.
Potters Bar grew increasingly frustrated, unable to mount any form of attack in reply, and as the match moved into a prolonged stoppage time, the referee was reaching for his card all too often.
And when Mathias Fanimo came on, his first touch saw him race clear, only to the scythed down on the edge of the area by Billy Baird, who escaped with only a yellow card.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, a red card was shown to Lobjoit, after the fourth yellow card in a matter of minutes, and Hornchurch sent Sean Roberts on during eight minute of stoppage time as the heavy rain returned.
Hornchurch head to Maldon on Tuesday looking to maintain their perfect start to the campaign.
Hornchurch: Mott, Hursit (Bentley 46), Porter, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Fairweather-Johnson (Fanimo 89), Styles, McKenzie (Roberts 90), Purcell, Warner. Unused subs: Tuohy, Hussain.