Tommy makes Blues pay penalty
Two out of three ain’t bad
Hornchurch produced another fine second-half display on Saturday to overcome local rivals Brentwood and avenge the defeat that saw them dumped out of the FA Cup last month.
And manger Jimmy McFarlane warns there is still more to come from his side.
“We were under a bit of pressure seeing as they’ve already beaten us this year and they’re the league below us,” he said.
“But I’m extremely happy with the way the boys performed and thought we more than deserved the win. There’s still more to come from this team.”
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After a frustrating league cup defeat at East Thurrock on penalties, it was vital for Urchins to regain some momentum, but it was the visitors who took the lead in the 25th minute.
A strong run from winger Nick Muir took him to the byline and his cross found former Urchin Dean Green in the box. Green’s first shot was blocked by Frankie Curley but he spun sharply and fired the rebound into the bottom corner.
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The goal stung the home side into life and just eight minutes later they levelled the scores.
A strong run from the impressive Michael Spencer took him to the edge of the box. The ball ran away from him slightly, but he managed to get to it before a Brentwood defender, resulting in a fairly easy penalty decision for referee Parker.
Tommy Black, having netted with a header in the previous week’s 1-1 draw with Billericay, stepped up and calmly sent Andy Hall the wrong way.
Petrit Elbi could have put Brentwood ahead again in the last minutes of the half, but Ronnie Fletcher rescued his side with a superbly-timed tackle.
Hornchurch were galvanised during the interval and, for the second week running, came out a different side for the second half.
Beginning to pile pressure on the visitor’s defence from the restart, the hosts were rewarded in the 55th minute when Ross Wall pounced on a loose ball in the box, only to be brought down by Brentwood captain Darren Blewitt.
The referee’s assistant flagged for a penalty, to the disbelief of the Brentwood players and coaches, but the decision stood.
Black, again, took on the responsibility, but this time failed to convert the chance, giving Blues a let-off.
The visitors tried to fight back, Elbi forcing another save from Bobby Smith, but it was the home side who continued to create the best chances.
Lewis Smith replaced Wall after 70 minutes and his assist almost gave Spencer a well-deserved goal, only the bar stopping his curling shot from putting the home side ahead once more.
Urchins eventually made the tie safe 10 minutes from time, yet again from the penalty spot.
Martin Tuohy raced after a ball played over the Brentwood defence and managed to beat Hall to the bounce, forcing the keeper to fumble the ball.
But Tuohy was brought down before he could reach the rebound and a third penalty was awarded before Parker showed Hall a red card.
Dee Okojie was withdrawn to enable reserve keeper Nick Pyne to come off the sub’s bench, but he was powerless to stop Black converting his second spot-kick of the game.
And Urchins managed to hold out for a well-deserved win in the closing stages, after a late scare which saw substitute Greg Enstone make a vital goal-line clearance in injury time.
Hornchurch; Smith; McSweeney, Fletcher, Styles, Hayles; Black (Enstone 90+2), Eyong, Curley, Spencer; Tuohy (Hunt 90), Wall (Smith 70).