Pre-season: Canvey 2 Hornchurch 1
PUBLISHED: 15:48 29 July 2018
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Hornchurch were edged out by Canvey in their Isthmian Shield meeting on Saturday.
The heatwave that had lasted for over a week had eased to a comparatively mild 24 degrees, but there was a very strong downfield wind, which at times reached 45 mph.
Urchins, playing into the wind, withstood a spell of early pressure from Canvey, twice clearing inswinging corners, and blocking a hard shot from Ryan Melaugh, before they launched an attack of their own, only for Nathan Livings to be brought down.
Dave Collis took the free kick and Kenzer Lee came in behind the defence, but directed his header wide.
Hornchurch began to come to terms with the difficult conditions and took the lead on 19 minutes when Nathan Livings turned sharply and volleyed the ball home from 20 yards.
But Canvey used the near-gale force wind to their advantage and took the lead with two almost identical goals in the space of two minutes.
The first came from ex-Urchin Martin Tuohy, whose long-range shot sailed into the net, and two minutes later Nathan Cooper lost possession and Mitchell Gilbey, from a similar position, sent in an unstoppable shot from 30 yards out.
Canvey clung on to their lead, and went in a goal ahead at the interval.
With the wind at their backs for the second half, Hornchurch ensured much of the play was conducted in the Canvey half of the field, and Harry Palmer had to be alert when he had to field three corners in the space of a minute.
Palmer saved well from George Purcell, and was again in action two minutes later, saving from Theo Fairweather-Johnson, who had moved on to a square pass from Purcell.
The same duo made the next opening, with Palmer this time saving Fairweather-Johnson’s header, as Hornchurch increased their momentum.
Palmer saved again from Purcell, and Leon McKenzie sent in a curling shot that went the wrong side of the post
A Purcell free kick from 35 yards out beat the wall, but hit the foot of the post before being scrambled away, and Palmer saved yet again, this time from McKenzie.
A Jamie Hursit free kick was headed away, and McKenzie again went close, but as the minutes ticked away, Canvey came back into the game with two breakaways, neither of which troubled Callum Chafer.
In the five minutes added on for stoppages, Hornchurch were unable to penetrate a packed home defence, who held out to take a narrow win, which they deserved, if only because they had defended well, and had taken the handful of chances that came their way.
Hornchurch return to Bridge Avenue to host Arsenal under-23s on Tuesday before visiting Bury Town in their last pre-season friendly on August 4 ahead of the new Bostik Premier season.
Hornchurch: Chafer, Collis (Hursit 71), Porter, Lee, Cooper, Clark (Hogan 75), Livings (McKenzie 59), Spence, Warner (Fairweather-Johnson 59), Purcell, Coker. Unused subs: Saunders, Peter.