Romford 0 AFC Hornchurch 1
Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Report by Gary Redwin
Romford were unluckily knocked out of the FA Cup by local rivals Hornchurch in a tense battle at Ship Lane.
With the game being switched to a Sunday as landlords Thurrock were also drawn at home, a bumper crowd was in attendance to witness this FA Cup First Qualifying Round local derby. Both teams enjoyed periods of possession without creating too much and the defences were on top. Set plays were going to be important and Hornchurch were awarded an early free kick in a dangerous position but George Purcell fired well wide.
However, a short time later in the eighteenth minute former Boro centre back Nathan Cooper came back to haunt his old club by losing his marker and heading home a corner at the near post. The hosts should have been awarded a penalty in the twenty-second minute when from a corner, James Ishmail was wrestled to the ground in the box but the referee ignored Romford pleas despite the directives for them to clamp down on these sort of offences. Jamie Dicks, scorer of Romford’s goal in the defeat against Hornchurch on Bank Holiday Monday had a free kick saved ten minutes before half time and Hornchurch counter attacked with Tobi Joseph blazing way over when through on goal.
Former New Zealand International Adam McGeorge was booked early in the second half for Romford after a late challenge, before they created their best move of the match. Dicks played a neat one two in midfield before finding Chris Taylor out wide and his dangerous cross was headed narrowly over the crossbar by a Hornchurch defender with two Boro forwards lurking just behind. Romford were now camped in their opponents’ half but the stubborn Hornchurch defence stood strong, reducing the hosts to long shots that were either off target or blocked.
Boro lost the experience of McGeorge in midfield when he had to go off injured, but his replacement Ola Giwa won a free kick just outside the box only for Dicks’ powerful effort to go wide.
With Romford committing more men forward gaps were inevitably appearing at the back and Gooch had to be alert to save testing long distance shots from Purcell and Warner. Nick Reynolds came on near the end to pose more of an aerial threat and in stoppage time Gooch came right up to the halfway line to flight an excellent free kick into the box, which was flicked towards the bottom corner but a defender just got enough on the ball to deflect it wide. From the resulting corner Danny Cossington outjumped everyone, but his header went agonisingly past the far post with the keeper beaten. The referee blew up soon after and it was a relieved Hornchurch in the next round while Romford will have to think what might have been.
Romford: Michael Gooch, James Ishmail (Nick Reynolds 86’), Hugo Atkinson, Danny Cossington, Tom Vickers, Jamie Dicks, Jonathan Adebayo, Adam McGeorge (Ola Giwa 61’), Chris Taylor, Ben Clarke (Craig Jeakins 71’), Jonathan Nzengo.
AFC Hornchurch: Sam Mott, Jamie Hursit, Jay Porter, Kenzer Lee, Nathan Cooper, Jed Chouman, Tobi Joseph (Theo Fairweather-Johnson 73’), Elliot Styles, Ross Wall, George Purcell (Leon McKenzie 87’), Bradley Warner.
Scorer – Nathan Cooper (19’)