Grays Athletic 1 v 5 AFC Hornchurch
GRAYS were truly outclassed by a Hornchurch team who trounced Grays 5-1 in this local derby at Mill Field.
Grays knew that they would have their backs to the wall and so from the start fought hard as Hornchurch attacked.
There was good examples of back-tracking by Joao Carlos as well as Junior Baker hacking the ball away in a goalmouth melee.
Both teams were not that fluent but it was making for exciting football. Grays were slowly getting into the game when Hornchurch struck. In the 15th minute, a neat through ball beat the offside trap and saw Leigh Bremner with all the time in the world to chip the ball over keeper Lamar Johnson and in.
A minute later, it happened again, when Stefan Payne found himself in acres of space and was able to do the same and put Hornchurch 2-0 up.
Grays really looked like they were missing Leon Lalite and Jeff Hammond and perhaps Craig Pope as well as both goals were conceded in his sphere of influence.
Grays earned their first corner in the 30th minute but it came to nothing. Hornchurch looked as strong and fluent as they were in the Essex Senior Cup final in April.
The Blues were getting a real lesson from Hornchurch and did well to see off the first half without further damage.
However, it took the Urchins just four minutes to score the third. Leigh Bremner walked around Gonzalez, got to the by-line, passed square for Carl Rook to tap in.
They hadn’t stopped there. In the 61st minute, Hornchurch earned a penalty when Lamar Johnson up-ended Carl Rook. Payne took the penalty but it was well saved by the keeper. The ball rolled out but from the edge of the area, Payne then made amends by curling the ball beautifully around Johnson and into the net.
Grays rang the changes as some of the less experienced players looked a little shell-shocked.
A Jack West tap-in was scant compensation for the Blues in the 86th minute as Grays Ath will look to learn from the experience against possible promotion candidates.
Just to finish things off, Hornchurch added a fifth when Junior Baker turned into his own net.
Grays Ath: Johnson L, Flynn L, Baker J, Nightingill J (Anderson P 46), Ramos-Gonzalez A, Carlos J, Beaney K, Duru C (Fry D 80), West J, Cruickshank A, Maxwell A (Knight J 82).
Subs not used: East D, Hammond J
AFC Hornchurch: Echepare I, Bentley A, Spencer M, Hayles R, Styles E, Curley F, Eyoong T, May J, Payne S, Rook C, Bremner L
Subs: Purcell G, Yusuff A, Starkey P, Bourne C, Coyne B