Thurrock FC 1 v 2 AFC Hornchurch
By Liam Carson
ANOTHER preseason game for the Fleet ended in defeat, though there were many things that can be taken from the match by Mark Stimson.
The sun shone on the turf at Ship Lane, creating a soaring heat which was making playing conditions very difficult.
Thurrock started brightly and Lamar Reynolds came close to opening the scoring after running clean through on goal however, Sam Mott, in the Urchin’s goal was there to palm the fierce shot away.
The bright start was nearly wiped away though when Hornchurch burst into the Fleet’s box. Their trickery drew a soft foul and from the spot, George Purcell stepped up to score but his spot-kick struck the woodwork.
Purcell nearly made up for his miss moments later but his speculative long-range effort flew wide of the goal.
Tom Davis in the Hornchurch midfield began to test his range midway through the first-half, one shot flew just wide while another was parried away by Andy walker.
The Hornchurch pressure kept meeting a resolute Thurrock defence, who were using the counter attack to their advantage. A mazy run from Reynolds was ended abruptly but unfairly according to the referee, Mr Oli Dolton, and from the free-kick, Lewwis Spence’s drive was palmed away.
Jack Paxman then had a speculative effort flash wide of the post after some impressive build-up play.
Into the second-half saw Hornchurch with all guns blazing. George Purcell was still trying to make amends for his early penalty miss.
Purcell’s solo run and shot were smartly stopped by Walker and minutes later he looped a shot over the bar, from eight yards.
The visitor’s continued to press for an opening and had a great opportunity after 55 minutes when Elliot Styles had a free header, but the defender could only head wide.
Within minutes the Urchin’s had their lead. Junior Luke sprang down the wing and slipped through the Fleet backline to score.
The lead lasted just 13 minutes as Charlie Stimson produced a memorable strike. The young forward grabbed the ball 25-yards from goal and picked his spot before curling it into the top corner of the net.
It was backs against the wall defending for the Fleet as they tried to remain on terms. Simon King, who produced an exemplary performance, showed just how resolute the defending was by diving in front of two fierce efforts.
Though it was substitutions that were the downfall of Thurrock as the Urchin’s brought Martin Tuohy and Chris Bourne into the match. The latter weaved and turned down the wing before crossing in for Tuohy to tap in.
Jack Paxman tried to get Thurrock back on terms late on but he dragged his shot wide before Bourne and Tuohy attempted their routine once more, however the routine finished differently as Tuohy’s shot drifted wide.