Hornchurch enjoy long haul trip
PUBLISHED: 08:39 18 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:39 18 December 2016
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Wroxham 2 Hornchurch 3
Hornchurch returned with maximum points after their 240-mile round trip to Trafford Park to face Ryman North basement boys Wroxham.
After a misty journey to north Norfolk, it was something of a relief to find that the worst of the fog had disappeared just past Norwich.
On a pitch that was heavily sanded and very soft, Hornchurch were once again without several key players, including George Purcell, Kenzer Lee, Paul Goodacre, Gary Cohen and Abs Seymour.
But Elliot Styles was able to take his place in the starting line-up after missing a couple of games through injury, while the Yachtsmen had strengthened their side with the midweek signings of Callum Robinson and Jack Newman, both of whom had played for Sudbury against Hornchurch in the league cup a week earlier.
Urchins took control from the start, with Leon McKenzie giving Ross Wall a shooting chance, which Robinson turned around the post.
A minute later Robinson was again in action, saving well from Jed Chouman, whilst a rapid run down the right wing by Abs Thompson ended with his shot going just over the bar.
The visitors maintained the pressure and McKenzie played the ball in to Wall, whose shot deflected off a defender for a corner.
And Hornchurch took the lead on 14 minutes when Junior Luke won the ball close to the halfway line and made ground before crossing to Wall, who turned and fired the ball hard into the net.
Urchins twice went close from corners taken by Chouman and they appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory, until JJ Da Cruz missed the ball in midfield and it ran on to Craig Bussens, who gratefully accepted the gift, ran forward and fired his shot past Sam Mott to level.
Wroxham came more into the match after that and Mott saved from Datacampol, before Hornchurch regained their composure and Robinson turned a Chouman free-kick around the post.
A McKenzie centre was also deflected out for a corner, while Luke picked up a booking for dissent.
Then, five minutes before half time, JJ Da Cruz gained possession and played the ball forward to Wall, who headed on to McKenzie and he immediately placed his shot hard into the net to put Hornchurch back in front.
James Morrish replaced Ben Osman for the second half, but Hornchurch had a first minute shock when Tom Rampling fired his cross-cum-shot across the face of the goal.
Styles blocked a well-taken free kick, but it was Hornchurch who had the better of the play and on 63 minutes some good interplay between Wall and McKenzie ended with the latter neatly gliding the ball home for his second and Hornchurch’s third goal.
McKenzie almost completed a hat-trick with a header from a Chouman free-kick, but the pattern of the game changed with Luke’s mistimed tackle in midfield, which led to his second booking and left Urchins a man short for the rest of the match.
Jamie Hursit came on for Thompson, who had ploughed through the soft sandy surface on the social club side of the ground, and a minute later Wroxham pulled a goal back when a long ball upfield caught the Hornchurch defence by surprise and Armani Schaar poked the ball past Mott from outside the area.
Urchins then had to withstand 10 minutes of Wroxham dominance, before Morrish almost found the net at the other end with a shot, and Wall made a 50-yard run from the left, which ended with his shot hitting the side netting.
The 10 men held on for the points, but manager Jimmy McFarlane might be concerned by the two defensive errors which led to the Wroxham goals and put his side’s 12-match unbeaten run under some unnecessary pressure.
Hornchurch now turn their attention to the visit of Aveley on Friday, December 23 for their last match before Christmas. Kick-off at Bridge Avenue is at 8pm.
Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Da Cruz, Styles, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (Hursit 77), Osman (Morrish 46), McKenzie (Hussain 87), Wall, Luke. Unused sub: Coley.