Isthmian League play-off final: Hornchurch 1 Cheshunt 2

Amadou Kassarate of Cheshunt celebrates scoring their first goal against Hornchurch

Amadou Kassarate of Cheshunt celebrates scoring their first goal against Hornchurch - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Hornchurch saw their hopes of promotion to National League South shattered by Cheshunt at a packed Bridge Avenue on Bank Holiday Monday.

Mark Stimson's men were ultimately beaten by Zack Newton's second-half wonder goal, as the Ambers booked a place at step two level for the first time in their history. 

The visitors settled quickly but saw Amadou Kassarate booked for a foul on Mickey Parcell on seven minutes.
Rowan Liburd flashed a shot wide on the quarter-hour mark, before Hornchurch's Ronnie Winn had his name taken for a foul on Joe Re.

Jordan Clark of Hornchurch and Joe Re of Cheshunt battle for the ball

Jordan Clark of Hornchurch and Joe Re of Cheshunt battle for the ball - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

And Cheshunt opened the scoring when Re's free-kick found Kassarate peeling away from his marker at the far post to head past Joe Wright.

Winn made way for Remi Sutton and Urchins saw Joe Christou pick out Tobi Joseph in the box, but after chesting the ball down his shot was deflected into the arms of Preston Edwards.

Wright had to get down to his right and push a low shot from Jamie Reynolds behind, when a long thrown-in from Newton was only half-cleared.

But Edwards was then forced into action to keep out Joseph's shot on the turn at the foot of his left post on 28 minutes.

Cheshunt went close to doubling their lead when a free-kick was headed back across goal and Taylor McKenzie saw his effort hooked away by a red-shirted defender from underneath the crossbar.

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And Hornchurch were back on level terms on 35 minutes when Ollie Muldoon found Liam Nash on the right and he beat his man to cross into the box, where Joseph's shot was blocked and the ball broke for Christou to fire gleefully home from 12 yards.

Joe Christou levels for Hornchurch against Cheshunt

Joe Christou levels for Hornchurch against Cheshunt - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

McKenzie was shown a yellow card for a foul on Joseph, with Edwards saving from Nathan Bertram-Cooper at the far post from the subsequent Nash free-kick.

But Cheshunt were awarded a penalty on 43 minutes, when Newton went down in the box, only for Liburd to see his spot-kick clawed away by Wright, diving to his right, to the delight of the home supporters in a crowd of 2,035.

Joe Wright of Hornchurch saves a penalty from Cheshunt's Rowan Liburd

Joe Wright of Hornchurch saves a penalty from Cheshunt's Rowan Liburd - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Both sides won corners in the early stages of the second half, with McKenzie heading well over for Cheshunt, and Wright did well to get down and smother when a long throw-in was flicked on by Newton.

Jordan Clark swept a left-footed shot just over the crossbar on 55 minutes, after Ola Ogunwamide had found space on the left and seen his cross cause some problems for the visiting defence.

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson gestures on the touchline

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson gestures on the touchline - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

And Nash's inswinging corner from the right, won by Joseph, flew across the face of the Cheshunt goal and out the other side just before the hour.

Nash was then picked out by Clark but his shot lacked the power to trouble Edwards, before he was crowded out at the near post moments later and Rickie Hayles put the corner into the side netting.

And Joseph made way for Sam Higgins in the second Hornchurch change of the day midway through the half, only for Cheshunt to regain the lead seconds later when Newton cut inside from the left and fired a stunning effort into the far top corner of Wright's net.

Hornchurch fans cheer their side on against Cheshunt

Hornchurch fans cheer their side on against Cheshunt - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Urchins had penalty claims ignored when Higgins went down just inside the box under a challenge from McKenzie on 70 minutes, while Ogunwamide saw a low cross from the left pass through the six-yard box and just beyond Nash with 13 minutes remaining.

And Christou had a shot well blocked after good work from Clark to tee him up in the box, before Ellis Brown was sent on for Parcell in the third and final change.

Ola Ogunwamide of Hornchurch and Chevron McLean of Cheshunt battle for the ball

Ola Ogunwamide of Hornchurch and Chevron McLean of Cheshunt battle for the ball - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Nash shot wide from a corner on 84 minutes, while Bertram-Cooper saw a header from Christou's right-wing cross comfortably saved by Edwards before the start of five minutes stoppage time.

Cries of handball were ignored when Clark's header hit a Cheshunt defender, with Hayles seeing his far-post header from Muldoon's resulting corner headed off the line, before Bertram-Cooper nodded another chance from Sutton's cross over the crossbar.

Sutton then saw a close range effort at the far post go back across goal and although Higgins turned a loose ball into the net, a free-kick had been awarded to Cheshunt, which proved the last kick of the game.

Hornchurch: Wright, Parcell (Brown 81), Bertram-Cooper, Hayles, Christou, Clark, Joseph (Higgins 65), Nash, Muldoon, Winn (Sutton 21), Ogunwamide. Unused subs: Ruff, Spence.