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Hornchurch hit back to sink Fleet

PUBLISHED: 18:00 29 August 2016

Elliot Styles of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Elliot Styles of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Ryman North: Hornchurch 2 Thurrock 0

George Purcell of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)George Purcell of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch bounced back from Ryman North defeat at Bowers to sink Fleet at Bridge Avenue on Bank Holiday Monday.

Urchins had come away empty-handed from the Len Salmon Stadium after a 3-2 loss to the league’s new boys, but scored a goal in either half back on home turf to get the better of their old rivals.

Hornchurch had beaten Thurrock in the play-off semi-finals last season, before losing to Harlow in the final, and Alex Bentley had an early chance saved by Darren Behcet after three minutes.

Sam Mott was called into action at the other end to keep out a Thurrock free-kick and George Purcell headed wide from an Abs Thompson cross, as the club’s all-time record goalscorer saw his wait for a first goal of the season continue.

Reece Morgan sent a snapshot wide of Mott’s goal on 12 minutes, before Joe Christou saw his effort from a corner cleared off the line by Bentley.

But Thompson then charged down Richard Halle’s clearance, only to volley the ball straight at Behcet from a tight angle.

Purcell finally opened his account in the fifth match of the campaign, though, when a Dave Collis throw-in picked out Thompson, who teed up the striker to drill a shot past Behcet eight minutes before the interval.

And Thompson went close to a second with two minutes remaining in the first half, firing just wide of the target.

Urchins came closer still to doubling their advantage in stoppage time as Purcell’s cross picked out David Knight, who saw his header was superbly saved by Behcet.

But they did not have to wait long after the restart to make it 2-0, as Collis saw his corner volleyed in at the far post by captain Elliot Styles on 48 minutes, for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Styles was shown a yellow card, along with former Urchin Glenn Poole, just past the hour mark and Collis also had his name taken.

But Collis then saw his free-kick headed goalwards by Kenzer Lee, with Behcet making a good save to deny the home side their third goal of the afternoon.

Fleet rallied and Mott touched a shot from Poole wide, before Halle’s header from the resulting corner was cleared off the line, again, by Bentley.

And a neat move ended with another header from Halle, which forced a great save from Mott on 74 minutes.

Junior Appiah then produced a strong run and cross, but Charlie Stimson could not profit as he failed to make good contact, before Collis delivered a free-kick on to the head of Nathan Cooper, who sent the ball just over the crossbar.

Jimmy McFarlane sent Ricky Freeman on for Knight in the closing stages, with Halle heading another chance wide for Fleet.

And there were late appearances off the bench for George Woodward and Harry Agombar as well as Hornchurch held on to their lead.

Hornchurch: Mott, Collis, Chouman, Styles, Cooper, Morrish, Bentley, Lee, Knight (Freeman 83), Purcell (Agombar 90), Thompson (Woodward 88). Unsued sub: Da Cruz.

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