Hornchurch vs Cray Wanderers

Isthmian Premier – Tuesday 9th April – Match Report

Hornchurch                2

Nash 19, Avgoustidis 81

Cray Wanderers        0

Cray Wanderers final midweek Isthmian Premier League game of the season ended in defeat as Champions Hornchurch added another three points to their total with a goal in each half from Liam Nash and Thomas Avgoustidis and make it five without a win for Cray.

Cray in 16th place were looking to bounce back from Friday’s home defeat to Hashtag United and from that side into the team came Alfie Evans and Ellis Brown for Sam Wood and Tom Beere but there was the bonus of having Nyren Clunis on the bench for the first time since November.

Hornchurch had clinched the title on Saturday with an injury time winner against Chatham Town and made three changes with Dion-Curtis Henry, Quentin Monville and Jack Taylor coming in for Joe Wright, Nathan Bertram-Cooper and Femi Akinwande.

The Wands formed a guard of honour for Hornchurch as they entered the field of play and on a very chilly night there was a relaxed atmosphere and was certainly  a different game to the tension racked occasion last time the sides met at Hornchurch in last season’s playoff semi final.

The first half was a rather quiet affair with Hornchurch perhaps always just having the edge but wasn’t a game of many chances.

Hornchurch were the first to threaten and in the fifth minute Michael O’Donoguhe’s cross from the left was turned wide of the right post by Liam Nash.

Cray were looking pretty comfortable at the back and had claims for a penalty in the 18th minute when ex-Urchin Ellis Brown looked possibly to have been upended down the left of the area but nothing was given.

A minute later Hornchurch went ahead when from a throw in down the right the ball was flicked on by Jack Taylor and Nash from close range scored his 21st goal of the season with a volley.

The home side looked to add a second goal and Tom Wraight fired a shot wide from Nash’s pass and then Tommie Hoban set up Mauro Da Silva Vilhete who also fired wide of goal.

This was followed by a shot from Nash being deflected through to Shaun Rowley but Cray were still hanging in the game and were defending well.

The Wands came a bit more into the match before half time and David Ijaha sent over a good cross no-one could get on the end of and on half time Ijaha fired well over.

HT:  1-0

The second half was a much more livelier affair and Cray started the second half well and Anthony Cook lifted a header onto the roof of the net just after the re-start.  Then Cook saw an effort deflected through to Dion-Curtis Henry.

Then from a free kick out on the left, Josh Hallard’ ball into the area was cleared out to Alfie Evans whose snap shot was well held by Henry.

For the Wands, Archie Johnson came on for Hallard just after the hour and from a free kick, Cook fired well over the bar.

Hornchurch though ended the game positively and twenty minutes from time almost added a second when Nash crashed a shot against the bar from Wraight’s pass.

There was the welcome sight for Wands fans of Nyren Clunis coming on for Cook in the 80th minute for his first appearance since the home game with Dulwich Hamlet on 29th November.

In the 81st minute, Hornchurch scored their second goal when down the left Sean Scannell’s well aimed cross to the far post was turned in by substitute Thomas Avgoutsidis.

Hornchurch came close to adding a third goal when Nash saw a shot blocked and then Scannell’s cross was turned over by substitute Femi Akinwande.

Towards the end, Clunis set up Gary Lockyer for a shot just past the right post but there was a blow for Cray when Tom Beere who had not been on long as a substitute had to go off injured.

In added on time, Avgoutsidis set up Akinwande for a shot which hit the top of the bar and over but Hornchurch had done more than enough to win the game and moved onto 91 points and with four games to play could yet reach the 100 point mark.

For Cray, the season seems to be winding down with three games to go but this was always going to be a hard test away from home and certainly played their part in the game and next move on to playoff contenders Horsham on Saturday.

Hornchurch: Dion-Curtis Henry, Tommie Hoban (Nathan Bertram-Cooper, H/T), Michael O’Donoghue, Jack Taylor, Ryan Scott (Femi Akinwande, H/T), Joe Christou, Tom Wraight, Quentin Monville, Mauro Da Silva Vilhete (Thomas Avgoustidis, 78), Liam Nash, Sean Scannell: Subs: Joe Wright, Tyler Christian-Law

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, Jack Holland, Tom Bonner, Josh Hallard (Archie Johnson, 61), David Ijaha (Tom Beere, 86), Ellis Brown, Anthony Cook (Nyren Clunis, 80), Enoch Muwonge, Gary Lockyer: Subs:  Charlie Paye, Sam Wood


Referee: Elliott Mayer

Assistants: Yashar Yekta, Daniel Smith

Att: 310