Hornchurch run ended by Thurrock
PUBLISHED: 21:52 03 January 2017 | UPDATED: 21:52 03 January 2017
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Thurrock 2 Hornchurch 0
Hornchurch saw their 14-match unbeaten run in Ryman North come to an end against title-chasing Thurrock.
Urchins had won 2-0 when the two sides met at Bridge Avenue back in August, but Fleet redressed the balance thanks to a goal in each half as they extended their own unbeaten run to nine matches.
The visitors arrived at Ship Lane on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win at struggling Brentwood on Saturday, their fifth win in six outings, and saw weekend matchwinner Leon McKenzie fire into the side netting on six minutes.
Ross Wall had a shot saved by Fleet keeper Bobby Mason three minutes later, after some complacency in the home defence, but Hornchurch midfielder Junior Luke was then booked on his return from a one-match suspension.
Captain Elliot Styles had the ball in the back of the Thurrock net from a free-kick on 17 minutes, only to be denied by an offside flag, before McKenzie had his name taken by referee.
And Urchins then fell behind on the half-hour mark when David Cowley’s cross was volleyed past Sam Mott by Joe Christou.
The scoreline remained unchanged in the time remaining in the first half, including four minutes of stoppage time, but Urchins had a great chance to draw level within three minutes of the restart only for McKenzie, who was seeking his 22nd goal of the campaign, to fire over from an Abs Thompson cross.
Luke skimmed the crossbar with another attempt on 51 minutes and Jed Chouman’s free-kick was saved by Mason four minutes later as the visitors pushed for an equaliser.
Manager Jimmy McFarlane sent Tobi Joseph on for Styles to boost Hornchurch’s attacking options, but Thurrock doubled their lead just past the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty and Jordan Clark stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
Mason produced further saves to deny Thompson and McKenzie and further frustrate Urchins midway through the second half, as Fleet banked the points to close to within two of leaders Maldon.
A first defeat in 15 league outings leaves Hornchurch two points off a play-off spot in seventh place ahead of their home meeting with lowly Waltham Abbey on Saturday.
Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Da Cruz, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (Coley 77), Styles (Joseph 59), McKenzie, Wall, Luke. Unused subs: May, Morrish, Hussain.
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