Thurrock 1 AFC Hornchurch 0
Match Report by Robert Wheeler
Thurrock FC booked their place in final of the Ryman One North playoff after a 1-0 victory over AFC Hornchurch on a cold Wednesday night at Ship Lane in front of a crowd of 481.
The Fleet started strongly with Remi Sutton putting in a good ball in to Mark Onyemah who fired a shot in from a tight angle forcing Hornchurch keeper Sam Mott into making a smart save.
Thurrock were dominating possession in the early stages knocking the ball about well and switching the play when they needed to. Leon McKenzie was booked for a rash challenge setting the tone for a game with lots of aggressive play from Hornchurch.
On the 12th minute Thurrock took the lead as Sutton side footed the ball in after a soft clearance from a Joe Christou throw. The men in yellow and green celebrated knowing that if they kept this up they were heading to the final.
Soon after Hornchurch were on the counter attack as Abs Seymour showed great pace down the left. His cross was deflected and held well by Bobby Mason.
Mark Stimson’s side were defending resolutely and were well organised. Hornchurch’s attacks were minimal and the long ball tactic was used frequently.
On the 26th minute Sutton who was having a great game played a one-two with Charlie Stimson before carrying his run into the box, he was brought down but no penalty was given.
The Urchins missed a great chance to equalise as McKenzie was gifted a great chance but his effort from close range went straight to Mason.
The pitch had been dampened by a shower early in the second half. The ball was skidding across the surface and the conditions were causing problems for the players as Mark Onyemah received the ball in a good position but lost his footing on the slippery surface.
Another chance for Hornchurch was wasted as Hornchurch’s tactics of using the height of their front players to their advantage nearly paid off but Martin Tuohy’s header was placed over the bar.
With the half-time score at 1-0 Thurrock were in a strong position and Stimson would want more of the same from his players and they would be in the final.
A change was forced at the break as George Winn who got a knock in the first half was replaced by Reece Morgan.
The second half mirrored the first with Thurrock trying to play football passing it well but Hornchurch’s plan of going long did not add to the spectacle.
Hornchurch’s defence cleared from a Thurrock corner when the ball fell to Jordan Clark who took an ambitious effort from long range on the volley. However the shot fizzed wide of the target.
Substitute David Cowley was showing great skill and was causing problems for the opposition's defence. Fellow substitute Reece Morgan was putting some dangerous balls in to the Hornchurch box from the right wing..
After a late half hearted penalty shout from the visitors Thurrock saw out the remaining 5 minutes of extra time to keep their dreams of playing in the Isthmian Premier next season alive.
Thurrock will travel to Maldon on Sunday in the playoff final kick off 3pm.
Team:- Bobby Mason, Ronnie Winn, Remi Sutton, Richard Halle, Mark Onyemah (Jack Barham, 90 ), Joe Bruce, Jordan Clark, Glenn Poole, Charlie Stimson (David Cowley, 56), Joe Christou, George Winn (Reece Morgan, 45)
Unused:- Connor Wheatley, Michael Pindy