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Joseph does the job for Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 08:52 14 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:52 14 October 2015

Tobi Joseph (11) scores the only goal of the game for Hornchurch against Phoenix Sports (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Tobi Joseph (11) scores the only goal of the game for Hornchurch against Phoenix Sports (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

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Ryman North: Hornchurch 1 Phoenix Sports 0

Joey May of Hornchurch sends Alistair Gordon of Phoenix Sports tumbling (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Joey May of Hornchurch sends Alistair Gordon of Phoenix Sports tumbling (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch will consider it to be a job well done as they held out for a slender win against Phoenix Sports last night.

Urchins went into the match on the back of a convincing 4-1 victory against Worthing in the FA cup on Saturday and, having beaten Phoenix 5-3 in the previous round and 4-2 in the league recently, started as strong favourites.

On a crisp autumn evening at Bridge Avenue, the match began by almost resembling volleyball as the ball levelled with the floodlights more often than the turf.

The best of the initial chances fell to David Knight, who was twice unable to control the ball in central positions either side of the 18-yard box.

David Knight of Hornchurch hurdles the tackle of Phoenix Sports' Lewis Mingle (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)David Knight of Hornchurch hurdles the tackle of Phoenix Sports' Lewis Mingle (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

And the hosts took the lead after 15 minutes when a disputed throw-in was launched into the area by Billy Coyne and, after bobbling in the danger zone, looped into the top right corner of the goal off Tobi Joseph.

Whether intentional or not, there seemed an air of inevitability to the scoreline.

A period of sustained pressure from Hornchurch followed with Dave Collis and Joey May having successive shots well blocked.

Hornchurch’s high line meant that Phoenix were reduced mainly to speculative balls over the top, all of which were comfortably dealt with.

Ricky Freeman of Phoenix Sports escapes from Hornchurch's Nathan Cooper (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Ricky Freeman of Phoenix Sports escapes from Hornchurch's Nathan Cooper (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

A beautifully weighted through ball then had Knight clean through on goal, but he managed only to blast his shot frustratingly over the crossbar.

The half closed with many fans cheering in premature celebration as a powerful low free-kick from Urchins captain George Purcell flashed narrowly wide.

Phoenix came out firing after the restart and looked much the better side in a second period which offered few in the way of genuine chances.

With the match delicately balanced, Hornchurch went about defending their defensive third with notable assurance as an increasingly desperate Phoenix were forced into several poorly executed long range efforts.

Neither goalkeeper was seriously troubled, though, during of the half and a third successive league victory will send Urchins to mid-table Wroxham in good spirits at the weekend.

Hornchurch: Mott, Coyne, Luke, Chouman, Cooper, Witherspoon (Thompson 55), May (Dove 83), Collis, Knight (Poku 72), Purcell, Joseph. Unused subs: Smith, Chafer.

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