Isthmian League Division North
Venue: Bridge Avenue
New Year’s Day (Mon 1st Jan 2018) 3pm KO
2017-18 Season: Match 49
AFC Hornchurch: Red & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
Brentwood Town: Sky Blue Shirts, White Shorts, Sky Blue Socks
Scott W Reporting (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
On the first day of 2018, I travelled to another new ground for me, Bridge Avenue to see leaders AFC Hornchurch take on the inconsistent Brentwood Town in another Isthmian League Division North encounter. The hosts were without the likes of Kenzer Lee and Eliott Styles as Leon McKenzie and George Purcell led the attack, with Theo Fairweather-Johnson and Tobi Joseph options from the bench. Brentwood, who have shown they have a result in them this term were led up front by Matt Price and Andy Freeman with skipper Matt Hall in midfield and forward Izzy Bademosi on the bench.
The visitors started strongly and went ahead on four minutes as forward Matt Price calmly slotted past home goalkeeper Sam Mott into the right corner. The hosts still didn’t stir as Town doubled their lead only three minutes later with full-back Jack Gardner’s speculative shot decieving Mott and finding its way in. Hornchurch found some urgency on 21 minutes as bustling target-man Leon McKenzie teed up strike partner George Purcell though the latter couldn’t get a shot away.
For the next few minutes, both sides traded chances with Price firing over for the Blues and Purcell also unable to find the target from 20 yards out for the Urchins. Brentwood also had to withstand pressure from the odd set-piece too though they extended their lead on the half-hour as winger Alfie Hilton’s ball found its way to Price who found fellow forward Andy Freeman who acrobatically lashed home to give the hosts the proverbial ‘mountain to climb’ in this match.
McKenzie headed over the bar five minutes before the interval though in my view, the Urchins endured a forgettable half in both penalty areas. Town had taken their chances at the right time and rightly led at the break.
Half-Time: AFC Hornchurch 0 – 3 Brentwood Town
Soon after the break, the hosts brought on Messrs Fairweather-Johnson & Joseph in place of defender Jed Chouman & winger Matthias Famino. The changes worked as seven minutes into the second half, Fairweather-Johnson’s shot was blocked for a corner, from which Brentwood conceded a spot-kick for an adjudged hand-ball which Purcell duly tucked away into the left corner, past visiting custodian Anthony Page to lessen the arrears.
The long second-half continued for the Blues as skipper Matt Hall had to clear one effort off the goal-line. Soon after, Fairweather-Johnson’s headed over from Purcell’s cross. Hornchurch ‘stopper Mott then reacted well to deny Freeman’s drive on the hour before minutes later being called into action again to deny Price’s lofted effort as Brentwood attempted to make the points safe.
Brentwood were defending fairly deep as the Urchins sensed they could get back into this encounter, having the majority of the play in the last 20 minutes or so, though Town held firm, led well at the back by central defenders Harry Gibbs and Brendan Cavalier. On a rare foray forward with three minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Izzy Bademosi was found very well by midfielder Theo Jones’ cross from the left flank and the striker made no mistake, slotting home past Mott.
The Urchins were far from done though against a tiring Blues defence as firstly McKenzie nodded home at the far post with moments remaining. Then in added time, the Urchins were awarded another spot-kick after Joseph was fouled in the area, which Purcell once again converted.
Unfortunately for the Urchins, they’d given themselves too much to do after the interval though the visitors were still relieved to hear the final whistle sound that ended a tough encounter here. Promotion rivals Bowers & Pitsea’s defeat means that Jimmy McFarlane’s side remain top of the pile by three points, while Brentwood’s triumph sees them up one to 19th place, nine points clear of bottom side Cheshunt.
Full-Time: AFC Hornchurch 3 – 4 Brentwood Town
Finally, I’d like to say thank you to AFC Hornchurch for their hospitality & wish both sides well for the rest of the season. And also, thanks to you for reading. Happy New Year!
Sam Mott (GK), Alex Bentley (Capt), Jay Porter, Jed Chouman (Tobi Joseph 47′), Nathan Cooper, Olumide Oluwatimilehin, Matthias Finimo (Theo Fairweather-Johnson 47′), Sean Roberts, Leon McKenzie, George Purcell, Bradley Warner
Goal-scorers: George Purcell [Pen 53′ & Pen 90’+1], Leon McKenzie [88′]
Booked: McKenzie, Bentley | Subs Not Used: Hursit, Livings & Collis
Anthony Page (GK), Jack Gardner, Connor Martin, Theo Jones (Ollie Bell 87′), Harry Gibbs, Brendan Cavalier, Alfie Hilton (Izzy Bademosi 75′), Matt Hall (Capt), Matt Price, Andy Freeman, Luke Foster (James Pugsley 67′)
Goal-scorers: Matt Price [4′], Jack Gardner [7′], Andy Freeman [30′], Izzy Bademosi [87′]
Booked: Gibbs, Hall | Subs Not Used: Wiggins, Mitchell
Referee: Elliott Kaye
Assistant Referees: Farai Hallam & Endrit Malaveci