Hornchurch sink as violence flares
Dover take points as fans clash
Hornchurch 0 Dover 1
Barry Cogan’s wonderful 83rd-minute free-kick saw Hornchurch slip to their first defeat of the Conference South season as violence between fans erupted at Bridge Avenue.
But scenes off the field became more prominent as the two sets of supporters tussled, with punches thrown as the game failed to sparkle on the pitch.
Hornchurch made one change as Elliot Styles came back to skipper the side in centre midfield, with Frankie Curley serving a suspension.
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The home side started the brighter and almost took the lead in fortunate circumstances after four minutes when Shane Huke’s attempted clearance struck the post, before Lewis Smith’s free-kick was saved low down by Dover keeper Mitch Walker.
Nicky Forster’s visiting side continued to give free-kicks away in dangerous positions and it almost cost them as Joe Anderson curled an effort low looking for the corner, but instead it hit the stanchion behind the goal.
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Play began to be bogged down in midfield, with torrential rain leaving visible puddles on the athletics track around the outside.
Recalled captain Styles headed over from Sam Cutler’s corner and Martin Tuohy missed the opportunity of the half after 32 minutes when he was one-on-one with Walker, but the goalkeeper saved with his feet.
In the closing stages Dover began to shows signs of promise and Cogan forced Joe Woolley into a fine fingertip save.
The rain and thunder got worse throughout the second period and made conditions extremely difficult for all, and the only chances came when the influential Smith jinked his way into the box off the left hand touchline and shot goalwards, but Walker had it covered.
With little happening on the pitch, chaos ensued off of it when Dover and Hornchurch fans clashed as stewards tried to step in and stop the violence.
But as the game reached its climax the visitors claimed the points when midfielder Barry curled his shot into the top corner, with Woolley left helpless.
The home side pressed in the closing stages, with new signing Juan Onieva and Michael Spencer brought on after the goal, but the hosts could not find a way through the Whites defence.
Jimmy McFarlane’s side will be hoping to fare better on Monday when they make the short trip to fellow promoted side and Essex rivals Billericay Town. Hornchurch: Woolley, Bentley, Anderson, Glover, Goodacre, Noel, Cutler (Onieva 85), McKenzie, Tuohy, Smith, Styles (Spencer 83).