Barkingside make Hornchurch work hard for win
PUBLISHED: 19:19 14 November 2015 | UPDATED: 21:32 17 November 2015
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Ryman North: Barkingside 1 Hornchurch 2
Hornchurch battled to a slender win over Barkingside in a tempestuous derby at a windswept Cricklefield Stadium.
The rearranged match was settled by a brace from forward Dave Knight as Hornchurch made it five wins from six in Ryman Division North.
The match was punctuated by long balls early on, as the wet, windy conditions did not lend themselves to a passing game.
And it was from a long ball forward that the home side fashioned the first chance of the match, when the skilful Jonathan Nzengo burst forward in the opening minute to release Baff Addae who was denied by a good save from Sam Mott.
The visitors quickly found their footing and showed just why they went into the match sitting fifth in the table by fashioning a number of early opportunities. Joe May dribbled his way into the area on 10 minutes ,but failed to pull the trigger, then two minutes later Knight was caught marginally offside after being threaded through by Abs Thompson.
Another long ball then saw Knight spring the offside trap and pick out Tobi Joseph, but he could not show the same clinical finishing which saw him bag a brace against Dereham a week earlier and the chance was snuffed out by the Barkingside defence.
Defender Billy Coyne then saw a free-kick fly narrowly over the bar after Joseph was brought down outside the area.
Barkingside manager Gus Gulfer could sense his team’s vulnerability and grew increasingly exasperated on the touchline.
Tensions reached boiling point and Gulfer rowed with the referee as he sought to get treatment for towering forward Luke With, who was was then given a stern talking to over the use of an elbow before promptly being booked for lashing out at centre-back Alex Bentley, who marshalled him well throughout despite With’s height advantage.
The referee struggled to maintain a grip on the match and after a particularly feisty midfield battle, play was interrupted as both teams clashed in a melee by the centre circle which resulted in bookings for May and the home side’s Darren Gray.
Hornchurch continued to threaten through the tireless running of Knight and Barkingside old boy Calvin Poku, who sought to latch on to the long balls pumped forward by Mott and his defenders.
And clever link-up play between May and Thompson almost bore fruit for Urchins, but Alfie Wren came across to clear the danger for Gulfer’s side.
Jonathan Adebayo worked hard on Barkingside’s right, bombing forward earnestly from full-back to try and create inroads, but the majority of the first-half opportunities fell to Hornchurch.
Thompson might have opened the scoring on 38 minutes, but dallied over his chance and allowed Adebayo to tackle, before Poku’s classy touch created an opportunity from wide, but Barkingside’s Paul Wright came out to block his effort.
Knight, who was getting in behind the home defence, had an effort saved well by Darren Behcet after latching on to a long goal kick from Mott which had been allowed to bounce.
And though Tyrone Scarlett saw an effort saved by Mott after he had cleverly engineered some space for Barkingside on the stroke of half time, the hosts were fortunate to be still be on level terms at the break.
Hornchurch picked up from where they had left off in the second half and a powerful run from inside his own half by Joseph set up Knight, who beat a defender before dragging his shot just wide of the post.
Then, following a counter-attack which saw Hornchurch break with a four-on-two advantage, Knight had the ball in the net, but the striker was adjudged to be offside when he needed to be more disciplined.
The match then exploded into life with a flurry of goals midway through the half.
Firstly on 65 minutes Adebayo was penalised for a challenge and from the resulting free-kick Coyne was felled in the area.
The referee pointed immediately to the spot and despite Behcet’s attempts to delay and distract him, Knight thumped home the penalty confidently to give his side the lead.
Barkingside tried to hit back, but were punished for committing too many men forward just two minutes later when another Hornchurch counter-attack led by a strong run from the athletic Poku saw him beat Bechet to the ball, leaving the goalkeeper stranded, before he squared to strike partner Knight who seemingly took an age to finish, but eventually slotted home for his 13th goal of the season and his second in as many minutes.
The home team halved the deficit almost straight from the restart when the ball was flicked on in midfield and Addae outpaced the Hornchurch defence and stabbed the ball past an onrushing Mott from just outside the area.
But although Barkingside tried to push for an equaliser in the closing stages, Hornchurch responded well and controlled the match by pressuring the home defence without creating many chances.
And despite Mott denying Scarlett and then With, Hornchurch finished the match the stronger and ran out deserved winners to move up to second place ahead of their trip to Cheshunt on Tuesday.
Barkingside: Behcet, Adebayo, Wright, Nikoloaiu, Wren, Spencer, Nzengo, Gray, With, Scarlett, Addae. Subs: Salmon, Toussaint, Bunga, Birch, Shelton.
Hornchurch: Mott, Coyne, Luke, Bentley, Cooper, May, Thompson, Collis, Knight, Poku, Joseph. Subs: McKenzie, Dove, Witherspoon, Baker, Chafer.
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