Hornchurch give hopes huge boost
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Conference South: Chelmsford 1 Hornchurch 4
Urchins gave their survival hopes a massive shot in the arm with a superb victory at Melbourne Park last night.
Buoyed by their 2-1 success over Bath at the weekend, which ended a 10-game winless run in the league, they raced into an early lead in their rearranged Essex derby.
The match was originally meant to take place on Monday, before another cold snap left the pitch frozen and the fixture was put back 48 hours.
But Urchins wasted little time in making their mark, as manager Jimmy McFarlane named an unchanged starting line-up from Saturday and saw Chris Bourne brought down in the box inside two minutes.
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Martin Tuohy stepped up to convert from the penalty spot for his 14th goal of the campaign and it got even better for the visitors on nine minutes as Frankie Curley picked out Kieron St Aimie in the box and he fired home a shot on the turn to claim his first goal since returning to the club.
Good work from St Aimie set up Tuohy midway through the half, but he was denied by a fine save from Stuart Searle.
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Lewis Smith and St Aimie were both off-target just before the break, but Urchins had Joe Woolley to thank for an excellent save early in the second half.
McFarlane made a couple of changes around the hour mark and saw his side move 3-0 up with 20 minutes remaining when Dave Rainford deflected a shot into his own net.
And although Anthony Cook pulled a goal back on 77 minutes, as his free-kick slipped under Woolley, Hornchurch had the final word.
Smith had been an attacking inspiration for Urchins over the course of the night and got his reward seven minutes from time as Wayne Gray flicked on a long clearance for him to thump a shot into the net for his 10th goal of the season.
Victory lifted Urchins up to 17th place, four points clear of the relegation zone, with eight matches remaining.
Their relegation rivals all have games in hand, but McFarlane’s men now have some momentum and will head to Dorchester in high spirits on Saturday.
Hornchurch: Woolley, Spencer, Bentley, May, Styles, Hayles, Bourne, Curley, Tuohy (Gray 63), St Aimie (Coyne 53), Smith (Love 85).