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Strike pair lift Hornchurch

09:40 09 March 2014

Stefan Payne (9) scores the first goal for Hornchurch against Thamesmead and celebrates (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Stefan Payne (9) scores the first goal for Hornchurch against Thamesmead and celebrates (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 2 Thamesmead 0

Hornchurch bounced back from a poor performance against Grays Athletic to beat Thamesmead and get back on track for their push for the Ryman Premier Division title.

Early pressure from Urchins came to fruition when Stefan Payne found himself some space from a corner, trapped the ball and slotted the ball into the net.

And the hosts broke forward again through Payne, George Purcell and Carl Rook, with Purcell played through on goal after Mead pushed too many men forward.

Left with just the goalkeeper to beat, Purcell chipped the ball over Sam Mott but the ball just crept wide of the post.

Payne was also played through one-on-one with Mott moments later and was pulled to the ground, but to the fury of the Hornchurch management and crowd the referee told Payne to get up to his feet and there was no foul.

After a sloppy opening to the second half Tambeson Eyong picked up the ball in his own half and burst past the Mead defence on a superb run, which ended with his shot hitting the post.

Frustration growing among the Urchins coaching staff as the referee seemed to be giving a lot of decisions against the home side and a succession of free kicks for Mead led to the first real shot on Inigo Echepare’s goal which he tipped over the bar.

As the game entered it’s final 10 minutes Dave Rainford stole the ball from the last Mead defender and surged towards goal with three teammates in support, but he could not find the right shot or pass and ran straight into Mott.

The visitors had their best chance of the game from another free kick as Shamir Mullings first headed against the crossbar and the planted his head onto the rebound only for it to be cleared of the line by a Hornchurch defender.

Urchins made the most of their let-off to double their lead late on when Purcell fired a shot past Mott and through the net.

Most of the crowd thought the ball had gone wide, but it had actually passed through the back of the goal to the relief of boss Jimmy McFarlane.

He said: “He is one of the top referees I know but he just had a bad day.

“We still want to win the title. The playoffs are our minimum aim.”

For Hornchurch to fulfil their ambitions they will need to be less reliant on their two star strikers and hope the rest of the team can support them with goals.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Rainford, Spencer, Styles, Hayles, Curley, Eyong, May (Coyne 77), Payne (Bremner 86), Purcell, Rook (Folkes 77).

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