Hornchurch well beaten by Bowers
PUBLISHED: 19:26 22 April 2017
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Hornchurch 1 Bowers 4
Hornchurch ended the Ryman North season with a heavy home defeat against promotion hopefuls Bowers at Bridge Avenue, but had one eye on their play-off semi-final at Thurrock on Wednesday.
The visitors needed to win and hope that Haringey Borough lost in order to secure a play-off place. But Haringey took the final play-off place with a win over Norwich United.
Urchins, with a number of players rested or out with injury, needed to win and hope that Thurrock lost in order to finish third, but neither happened and they will have to travel to Ship Lane for their play-off in midweek.
Bowers had an early opportunity through former Hornchurch striker David Knight, but Sam Mott tipped the shot over the bar.
Hornchurch came back with an Abs Thompson run and cross, which found Ross Wall, but Martyn Guest saved the header.
The hosts then took the lead when Teddy Nesbitt was fouled midway inside the Bowers half out on the left and Alex Bentley floated the free kick into the middle, where Leon McKenzie beat Guest to score his 37th goal of the season.
Two minutes later Brad Warner fouled Thompson, picking up a yellow card in the process, and Abs Seymour saw his free kick touched over by an excellent Guest save.
Bowers applied some heavy pressure and Mott did well to turn a long-range shot from Lewis Clark over the bar, then dealt with the corner in fine style, turning the ball over the bar for another flag kick.
But he could do nothing to prevent Callum Leahy, unmarked and in front of goal, from heading home the equaliser for the resulting corner and Bowers continued to press as Warner headed over from an Ayrton Coley centre.
Guest came to the rescue when Thompson opened up the right flank again and his cross found Nesbitt, only for the Bowers keeper to save.
Then close to half time Bentley made ground on the left and McKenzie played the centre back to Nesbitt, with Guest saving well once more.
Three minutes into the second half a Seymour free kick was turned out for a corner, from which McKenzie’s header was tipped over the bar.
But that proved to be the end of any threat from Hornchurch, as Bowers took control and dominated the remainder of the match.
Mott saved a Warner free kick, but when Seymour conceded a free kick 10 yards outside the area, Warner stepped up to fire through a motionless defence to give Bowers the lead.
Six minutes later a similar Warner free kick was deflected for a corner, and Callum Manor came up to head the ball home in a packed goalmouth to make it 3-1.
Sam Bantick and George Purcell came on for the hosts in place of Nesbitt and Thompson, but they could make little impression on a confident visiting defence.
And when Knight threatened to break through at the other end, only a well-timed tackle by Gary Cohen prevented a possible fourth goal.
McKenzie went close from a Wall opening, but most of the play was at the other end, and Warner completed the scoring at a corner with a shot that deflected off Nathan Cooper.
Taj Hussain replaced Elliot Styles, and in stoppage time Guest saved well from Purcell, but Hornchurch could have few complaints about the result.
Hornchurch: Mott, Cohen, Bentley, Easterford, Cooper, Styles (Hussain 88), Thompson (Purcell 68), Seymour, McKenzie, Wall, Nesbitt (Bantick 68). Unused subs: Tuohy, Adeniji.