Jimmy McFarlane’s Hornchurch beaten at Hythe Town despite goal from Ricky Freeman
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
Pre-season friendly: Hythe Town 2 Hornchurch 1
Hornchurch were given a stern test by Ryman South outfit Hythe Town at the weekend and eventually lost their latest pre-season friendly 2-1.
Jimmy McFarlane’s men conceded at the start of both halves and although Ricky Freeman pulled one back, they tasted defeat.
With the news of eight hour delays on the approaches to the Channel ports, it was a somewhat anxious journey for Urchins fans.
As it happened, the only delay was at the Dartford Bridge, and the rest of the journey was on a crowded but moving M20 - until they reached the outskirts of Hythe, where the traffic was motionless for long periods.
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The ground is alongside a military firing range, but it was not in operation, and on a bright sunny day Hornchurch started slowly.
Urchins almost fell a goal behind the in the first minute when Alfie May ran through a static defence, but Sam Mott came off his line to smother the shot.
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Hythe went ahead three minutes later, though, when May played a long ball towards goal and Sam Adams took full advantage to poke the ball past a hesitant away goalkeeper.
The hosts enjoyed the territorial advantage for much of the first half, but the closest they came was when May headed a left wing cross over the bar.
McFarlane’s men found it difficult to penetrate the home defence, and it was not until the 35th minute that they created an opening.
Nic Brown fired wide of the post from thirty yards out, however, before two minutes later Dave Collis was substituted for Suley Zudhu.
Hythe also created few openings, the best being a long range free kick from Craig Cloke, which Mott did well to hold.
Three minutes into the second half and Hornchurch conceded a second goal, when May found Charlie Webster who fired home from close range.
Mott was in action when he punched away a Kenny Pogue shot, whilst Urchins slowly came more into the match as an attacking force with Zudhu showing the way with a well struck shot which Joe Mant did well to hold.
May went close on the hour but McFarlane then introduced JJ Da Cruz, but he played up front instead of in defence as in previous matches and the forward line looked far sharper as other changes were also made.
Mant saved from Nic Brown and a George Woodward free kick was touched around the post for a corner.
Da Cruz hit a shot wide of the post and Mant was in action when he dived to save a Josh Flynn shot.
Two minutes from time Freeman pulled a goal back with a fine solo run, after he had dispossessed Connor Hood.
It looked an impossible angle, but he ran in from the left and lobbed the ball neatly over Mant and into the net with Da Cruz lurking just in case the ball did not cross the line.
Hythe defended confidently the final two minutes to give Hornchurch their first defeat of the season.
Hornchurch: Mott, King (Thompson 46), Styles, Cooper, Woodward, Collis (Zudhu), Symons, Bentley (Dobson 60), Brown (Freeman 67), Knight (Da Cruz 61), Purcell (Flynn 83).