Lewwis Spence inspires Hornchurch to late win over Merstham
PUBLISHED: 18:44 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:07 19 September 2020
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Isthmian Premier: Hornchurch 2 Merstham 1
After seven months, Isthmian Premier football returned to Bridge Avenue with Merstham the visitors – it was skipper Lewwis Spence that provided the winning goal for the hosts and stole the headlines as he got the better of Pierson with a goal that would contend for goal of the season.
Merstham got the game underway, both sides fighting for every ball early on, as they went toe-to-toe beginning a lively encounter. The Urchins nearly found themselves in front with Ronnie Winn putting an enticing ball across but Charlie Stimson just couldn’t poke it home – Pierson denying him.
Hornchurch had a few attempts after that initial chance with Merstham unable to get on the front foot. Quick thinking by Higgins with 12 minutes gone, putting Winn through 1-on-1 but again Pierson kept the scores level.
Just not clinical enough, Jordan Clark this time had the opportunity to put his side ahead but failed to keep his composure – the build-up though was very promising.
The visitors won their first set-piece of the game as a burst of pace from Mills saw him run in behind – winning a corner.
Rickie Hayles cleared the threat though. Stimson caused Merstham problems up the other end, winning a free-kick, but the ball in was below-par.
Relentless in their pursuit of a breakthrough, Hornchurch’s Ellis Brown found room down the right and whipped the ball in but Winn just got underneath it and couldn’t head home.
Hayles was called into action again though blocking a first Merstham shot from Nembhard, with Calvin Ekpiteta’s subsequent shot whistling over the bar.
Urchins skipper, Spence, conceded a free-kick on 30 minutes which Hill whipped in but it was far too deep to trouble the hosts. Merstham began to get into the game but the defence remained calm with Sutton doing well to dispossess Gougas in the area.
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Sam Higgins, who seemed to be picking holes in the opposition back line, was forced off through injury at 37 minutes – a blow for the Urchins – Joe Christou came on in his place.
All square at half time, the Urchins just couldn’t find the net after a hatful of chances – missing injured Dickson greatly. Merstham were growing into the game as the Urchins looked to be quickest out the blocks in the second half.
The hosts looked to get ahead through Clark after good play from Michael Johnson but the former was caught off balance in the box. The home supporters cheered their side on, as the team fought their frustration at missed chances. There had just been a lull in play after the break with neither side fashioning chances of worthy of note.
That was about to change as Jordan Clark was brought down right on the edge of the box – Christou and Spence stood over it. They so nearly took the lead with Joe Christou’s curling effort just a whisker away from the top corner – the closest either side had come to a goal.
The bulk of the entertainment was coming from the home terrace with little going on on the pitch, until a great move around the box earnt Hornchurch a corner on 65 minutes. And there was the goal! A great corner to the back post found Lewwis Spence who headed it back across the area to Jordan Clark who found the net – a well deserved goal.
The Moatsiders looked for a reply but Gougas’ cross just found the hands of Wright with ease.
Midfielder Ryan Healy replaced Bobby Mills with 12 minutes left on the clock in a bid to level the score.
Goalkeeper Joe Wright was called into action moments later, with a long throw into the box forcing him to deny Gougas in the air. There were penalty shouts with 80 minutes gone after Ige was brought down after a great run – referee though not convinced.
He was convinced though with the handball in the area moments later with Ekpiteta converting from the spot. The home side - dejected – had to find a winner but time was against them with under 10 minutes remaining.
They so nearly did with a great ball over the top from Nathan Cooper seeing Stimson in behind and he went for the audacious option in chipping the keeper but it just landed the wrong side of the bar for the number 9.
However, Lewwis Spence was about to pull off something more spectacular and submit his entry for Goal of The Season as the keeper was again off his line – so from the halfway line he got it over Pierson and into the net – prompting a roar from the home crowd. It really was something special.
The hosts held out and kicked off their campaign with a hard-fought 3 points. Overall, Spence stole the show and the victory after a solid display from the Urchins who deserved the win.
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