2017/18 Season – Match 3
Venue: Lower Road
Date: Saturday 15th July 2017 4pm KO
Hullbridge Sports : Blue & White Striped Shirts, Blue Shorts, Blue Socks
AFC Hornchurch : Red & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Scott W reporting (Follow me on Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, Hullbridge Sports welcomed Isthmian North side AFC Hornchurch to Lower Road. Hullbridge knew that they would be in for a tough test from a side that made the Isthmian North play-offs last term.
The visitors had the better of the early-going, with both sides having efforts on goal, being denied by the opposition’s ‘keeper. After the quarter-hour, the Urchins were inching further forward on a more regular basis, having a succession of corner kicks in the space of a few minutes as the Hullbridge defence had to withstand heavy pressure.
With that in mind, it was no surprise that Hornchurch took the lead midway through the first half as forward Tobi Joseph hit a sweetly-struck curling effort past the Hullbridge ‘keeper into the right corner from 20 yards. Jimmy McFarlane’s side swiftly doubled their advantage just two minutes later as new signing Bradley Warner grabbed a tap-in from close range but made no mistake in putting it away.
In the moments after the second goal, the visitors hit the woodwork and also missed a one-on-one chance with the ‘keeper. They didn’t have to wait long as it turned out as only just after the half-hour fellow new signing Theo Fairweather-Johnson harried a Hullbridge defender into an error and slotted home to make it 0-3. To be fair, it could’ve been more as the home side struggled to create clear-cut opportunities as well as retaining possession.
Half-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 3 AFC Hornchurch
The second half began with predictably both sides making changes. One of the changes for the Urchins, George Purcell was certainly in the mood to make things happen. Only seven minutes into the half, a Purcell corner was headed in by Kenzer Lee.
On balance, the Hullbridge changes did make a little difference with Ronnie Pallett being a focal point in attack with captain Jimmy Cox dropping a bit deeper in the second half.
Purcell meanwhile was a threat, mostly on the right flank for Hornchurch. That said, midway through the second half Purcell collected a good ball on the left-side of the 18-yard box and blasted a drilled effort past the ‘keeper. With 73’ on the watch, there was a moment of controversy, as substitute Leon McKenzie’s header was blocked on the goal-line by a Hullbridge defender, there was a strong suspicion that it was hand-ball which did get a reaction (from a few Urchins players & fans) when the referee didn’t give it.
Whether it was a howler or not, it didn’t really affect the course of the match though, as the strong, physical Hornchurch side put in a dominant performance going forward and were decent at the back as well. For Hullbridge, they have a few more pre-season matches to come with Grays Athletic visiting on Tuesday (18th July) – they will need to improve in that match. Hornchurch visit VCD Athletic next Saturday (22nd July).
Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 5 AFC Hornchurch
Joseph 22’, Warner 24’
Lee 52’, Purcell 67’