Isthmian League: Hornchurch 2 Horsham 1
PUBLISHED: 17:07 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:07 04 January 2020
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Hornchurch began the new year with a hard-fought win over Premier Division rivals Horsham at Bridge Avenue on Saturday.
Having ended 2019 with a 3-0 home win over Brightlingsea Regent, Mark Stimson's men came from behind to bank maximum points again and maintain their hold on a play-off spot.
Urchins had the ball in the net after only four minutes, but Arthur Lee was adjudged offside, and Matt Johnson had a glancing header from Mickey Parcell's free-kick well saved by George Bentley.
Charlie Harris curled a free-kick over the bar for Horsham, but the visitors opened the scoring on 23 minutes when a break on the right led to a good finish by Greg Cundle.
A shot from Harris was deflected behind for a corner, which Jordan Clark cleared, and Rickie Hayles comfortably dealt with another set-piece from Horsham.
The home side were then back on level terms on 27 minutes when Johnson won a corner, which Ronnie Winn swung in for Hayles to head home.
But Parcell was booked before the break, following a strong challenge, and teammate Clark had his name taken as well.
Daniel Uchechi made way for Marvin Morgan during the interval and the substitute forced a good save from Bentley with a header from Clark's cross, then diverted a shot from George Saunders wide.
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Morgan also saw a powerful header from a deep Saunders free-kick tipped over by Bentley on 57 minutes, before Lee and Bentley were booked following a clash and Morgan had another shot saved.
Urchins took the lead on 65 minutes, though, when a Saunders corner was fed back into the box and Chris Dickson produced a great finish.
And Dickson then played a cross in, which was cleared to Saunders who fired wide with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Remi Sutton made a great block to keep out a drive from Taurean McDonald-Roberts, before Hayles was shown a yellow card.
And McDonald-Roberts saw a late strike fly just past the post, before five minutes of stoppage time began and Saunders fired over following good work by Morgan and Joe Wright deny Will Miles from the last chance of the day.
Victory leaves fourth-placed Hornchurch seven points off top spot, with three games in hand, and they now turn their attentions to their FA Trophy second round tie with Aveley next weekend, when a place in the last 16 will be up for grabs.
Hornchurch: Wright, Parcell, Sutton, Lee, Hayles, Johnson, Saunders, Clark, Dickson, Uchechi (Morgan 46), R Winn.
Unused subs: Stimson, Hassan, Dutton, G Winn.