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Romford complete league double over rivals Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 21:47 27 October 2015 | UPDATED: 21:47 27 October 2015

Romford manager Paul Martin (left) and Alex Goldstone (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Romford manager Paul Martin (left) and Alex Goldstone (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 8450 946026

Ryman North: Hornchurch 0 Romford 1

Romford earned a Ryman North double over their local rivals Hornchurch after grinding out a 1-0 win at Bridge Avenue.

George Woodward scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time after a mistake by Urchins goalkeeper Sam Mott.

Although Jimmy McFarlane’s side huffed and puffed throughout the second period, they couldn’t break Boro down.

It would have left Paul Martin delighted and the win takes Romford up 20 points for the season – a key tally for the club before Christmas.

There was a familiar feel before kick-off with various players having played for both clubs at Bridge Avenue.

Former Boro defender Nathan Cooper started for Hornchurch while Romford have various ex-Urchins involved.

Liam Burgess was in from the off and on the bench was young Joe Scott, once of the home side.

The opening exchanges were quiet and the only moments to note in the opening 15 minutes were two free kicks awarded to McFarlane’s side.

David Knight curled the first wide of goal and the second was fizzed over the crossbar by George Purcell as Urchins wasted those opportunities.

In the 22nd minute Michael Gooch was called upon when Alex Bentley brilliantly picked out Junior Luke on the left, but his cross was straight at the Romford custodian.

Boro captain Matt Frew was down receiving treatment after that but was able to carry on and as he did Hornchurch had their best chance.

Abs Thompson attacked down the right and his cross towards Knight was only cleared out to Purcell on the edge. He snatched at his effort and it was dragged well wide.

Urchins pushed after that and nearly opened the scoring a minute past the half an hour mark through Cooper.

Joey May’s corner to the back post was perfect for the Boro man and he headed goalwards, but it bounced off the crossbar and over.

Romford were continuing to defend well and briefly attack before the interval with Woodward driving past a few opponents before running into traffic.

It was a sign of things to come as Akwasi Marfo became influential towards the end of the half – first collected a pass from Ryan Boswell before cutting inside Elliot Styles and drilling wide.

That was an excellent chance for the away forward and he continued to cause problems for Hornchurch.

On the stroke of full time a slip by Like allowed Marfo to pick the ball up and he knocked it past Styles.

Urchins captain, cynically, blocked the Romford attacker and picked up a booking and gave the visitors a free kick around 40-yards-out.

It seemed like a harmless position, but Woodward’s curling effort caught out Sam Mott slightly and although he got back in time to catch the ball, it slipped through his grasp and found the bottom corner.

Romford led at Bridge Avenue and were suddenly 45 minutes away from completing a league double over their local rivals.

The visitors began the second period but it was Hornchurch pushing to get back on level terms and May was starting to dictate play in midfield.

It was his ball out wide to Purcell in the 57th minute that allowed the Urchins forward to cross dangerously into the box. Romford managed to clear and the threat was snuffed out.

McFarlane made his first roll of the dice two minutes later as Calvin Poku was introduced in place of Thompson.

Alex Bentley urged the forward to make the difference but seconds later it was the defender who kept his side in the game.

Mott came out and was caught in no mans land, Chinedu McKenzie managed to go past him and Bentley deflected the ball to Marfo before blocking his shot to prevent an almost certain goal.

It was a great bit of defending by the Hornchurch ace and ensured they remained in the game with 30 minutes left.

Boro midfielder Robbie Norris had to receive treatment afterwards after making a number of blocks in quick succession.

A flick on by Knight got Purcell a sight at goal, but his touch was too heavy and Urchins could only win a throw and that came to nothing.

With 20 minutes remaining, Hornchurch was facing the prospect of a second defeat in a couple of days after losing to Boreham Wood in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Harry Baker came on three minutes later, replacing Knight, with McFarlane desperate for his side to get back into the contest.

May whipped a decent free kick in afterwards, which Joseph headed wide and the seconds continued ticking away.

Martin introduced Scott for Burgess with nine minutes left and the former Hornchurch forward had a shot instantly, which failed to trouble Mott.

Romford then threatened in the 83rd minute and a late tackle by Joseph gave them a decent free kick.

Woodward passed it short to Marfo, his low effort was parried by Mott and despite calls for a penalty from McKenzie, Hornchurch cleared.

McFarlane brought on Charlie Dove afterwards but Boro were holding firm and defending extremely well.

Dove won a free kick for Urchins in the fourth minute of stoppage time and took it himself, but it was cleared and McKenzie ran the ball to the corner and the full time whistle was blown.

Martin’s side completed a stunning double over their rivals and will be full of confidence going into Sunday’s FA Trophy match at Ship Lane against Slough Town.

Hornchurch, meanwhile, will lick their wounds and look to bounce back in the Trophy on Saturday when they entertain Met Police.

Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Luke, Styles, Cooper, May, Thompson (Poku 59), Collis (Dove 86), Knight (Baker 73), Purcell, Joseph.

Unused substitutes: Chafer, Witherspoon.

Romford: Gooch, Boswell, Woodward, Cossington, Frew, Goldstone, Giddings, Norris, Marfo, McKenzie, Burgess (Scott 81).

Unused substitutes: Barry, Potter, Reynolds, Weemes.

Attendance: 226.

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