Hornchurch fall to a narrow defeat at Bishop’s Stortford

PUBLISHED: 18:12 26 September 2020

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during Hornchurch vs Dagenham & Redbridge, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 5th September 2020

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during Hornchurch vs Dagenham & Redbridge, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 5th September 2020

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Isthmian Premier: Bishop’s Stortford 1 Hornchurch 0

Hornchurch suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Bishop’s Stortford in their second Isthmian Premier Division clash of the season.

The Urchins made the relatively short trip to Bishop’s Stortford looking to make it two wins from two with Chris Dickson back in the squad but not fit enough to start.

They came into this one off the back of a 3-0 FA Cup victory over Bowers, however this would be a closer encounter, with Manager Stimson warning of a difficult game.

He said that he expected today’s opponents ‘to be up there and challenging at the top’ in the build up to their second league game of the 2020/21 campaign. A boost for the visitors was that Micky Parcell was back in action - a key player for the Urchins.

It was the away side that got the game underway, and despite the bitterly cold weather the away supporters were in fine voice. The first chance though went to Bishop’s Stortford as Davidson cut it back to Archie Jones, but the shot was blocked behind for a corner which came to nothing.

The hosts won another on the ten minute mark which Foxley whipped in and Parcell headed away – both sides solid at the back early on. Stortford in particular dispossessing Hornchurch on the edge of the box when breaking, which saw them win a free-kick, Spence halting the counter. It was played short to Marlow who was quite frankly nowhere near the target.

A great chance for Hornchurch on 20 minutes, as Hayles’ ball over the top saw Clark in behind with a golden opportunity; but after a great save from Giddens the Stortford defenders recovered and cleared the danger.

You felt he had to put it beyond the keeper from 8 yards as he may not have got too many like it over the course of the 90 minutes.

The game began to liven up a little as Davidson got in behind one-on-one with Wright, former Blues man, but a fantastic well-timed tackle by Hayles stopped him in his tracks. Frustration grew among home supporters as penalty appeals were waved away by Farmer following good build-up play.

Hornchurch were not doing themselves any favours with miscued clearances galore at the back.

Frustration soon boiled over with Winn making his way into the referee’s book with a rash challenge after he was denied a free-kick on the edge moments prior.

Two very evenly-matched sides were at battle as they fought for every ball in the September drizzle. A first shot on target for the visitors was held well by Wright and they were soon in shooting range again but a great Cooper challenge denied the attacker.

After a goal-line clearance from the resultant corner, the Blues won a free-kick 25 yards out – a few dramatic minutes as half-time beckoned – tense on Hornchurch’s part. Although that free kick didn’t faze anyone in a yellow shirt – it flew sky-high!

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The Urchins looked vulnerable at the back at times but could easily have been ahead themselves at the break, with Chris Dickson coming on at the break they were hopeful of a breakthrough. It wasn’t Dickson with the initial chance but Captain Spence – his effort just wide.

A great ball out wide from Joe Wright saw Parcell venture into the box 50 minutes in and square it to Clark but he couldn’t get his shot away. centre-back and captain, Henshaw, looked to wow on the edge of the box – volleying on the turn – but his effort sailed over the bar.

Poor communication at the back earnt the Urchins a corner which was equally poor however it was put behind for Spence to have a second try – better this time – Giddens tipped it over the bar! It wasn’t third time lucky for the away side though.

Steve Smith looked to influence the game on the side-lines as he sent Merrifield and Greene on - attempting to break the deadlock.

Great play and thinking from Brown in the middle of the park put Chris Dickson on the ball and through on goal but the linesman saved the Blues’ back line. A ball over the top then found Stimson but his effort a tame one in comparison to Brown’s powerful strike after he’d dispossessed the defender and skipped past two others – Giddens got down well though.

Hornchurch, beginning to create more chances, forced Giddens into yet another save just moments later as Cooper met Spence’s corner. Then, to add to the attempts tally, Stimson looked to take the lead after a good ball from Brown but he just found the wrong side of the post from 15 yards – the goal looked to be coming for Hornchurch.

But, then out of the blue, Stortford took the lead through skipper Henshaw who headed home a delightful cross from substitute Greene.

The Hornchurch forwards kicking themselves after having a hatful of opportunities to take the lead – those missed chances proving costly in such a tight game – 15 minutes remaining.

Matt Johnson came on for the corner, former Stortford man, as Stimson looked for a quick response to going behind but it was not to come from that set-piece.

With momentum now swinging in the home side’s favour, a great Greene-inspired move saw Wright forced into a save from close-range.

Ellis Brown spearheaded the Urchins attack as they continued to fight for the equaliser – winning yet another corner.

The second of two consecutive corners saw Jack Giddens’ reactions tested and he passed that particular test after Spence’s floating ball in saw a shot, deflected by Stimson, clawed off the line. A shot that looked destined for the net.

It wasn’t the finish Hornchurch were looking for; dominating, dangerous, bombarding the hosts’ box – quite the opposite. With the visitors staring into the eyes of defeat having had plenty of chances to be in a different situation on 90 minutes. With little to lose, Chris Dickson went for the spectacular in the box, however he was just unable to connect with the overhead-kick.

That wasn’t the last chance though as Sutton looked to equalise on the whistle: turning in the box he was denied by Giddens.

It wasn’t the result or dream start to the season Stimson’s men were hoping for but the performance wasn’t too far off one that could have achieved a victory. Hornchurch sit 13th after 2 games but it’s too early at this stage of the season to read into the league table too much - if at all.

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