Fintan’s first secures three precious points
After five successive defeats, Jude Macdonald shuffled his line-up with Aaron Goode restored to central defence, Lew Unwin coming into midfield and Nat Pinney leading the line. Ky Marsh-Brown also returned after a spell out injured.
A largely uneventful first half saw both sides frequently giving away possession cheaply. The home side broke away from a Hawks corner just before the 20-minute mark, with Kenzer Lee’s cross just eluding the onrushing Sean Marks. Three minutes later, George Saunders was played through on goal, but Melvin Minter was quickly off his line to block the shot.
Hawks best moments came down both wings. Lucas Rodrigues nutmegged Remi Sutton, who was booked for pulling the winger back. On the left, Marsh-Brown had the beating of home skipper Alex Bentley, but all too often possession was squandered before the dangerman could be found.
With half-time approaching, Marsh-Brown picked up the ball on the halfway line following a home attack and played a delightful through ball for Rodrigues. The Brazilian held off the challenge of Bentley and beat Callum Chafer with a lovely cross shot into the bottom corner to give the Hawks the lead. There was still time for the flying Minter to tip a George Purcell shot over the bar before the break. Jerry Amoo replaced the limping Marsh-Brown at the interval.
The home side had more possession in the second half as they looked to get back into the game, but it was the Hawks who struck again on the hour. After having had a shot blocked in the goalmouth minutes earlier, Fintan Walsh headed home a Henry Muggeridge corner, the ball squeezing past a despairing Chafer on the line. The goal was Fintan’s first ever at senior level. Five minute later Pinney was through on goal and went down under the challenge of Glenn Wilson, who seemed to catch his standing leg, but the referee awarded a goal kick.
Hornchurch pressure finally paid off 15 minutes from the end, when from yet another corner, Minter failed to gather and Joe Christou rifled home. There was sustained pressure on the Hawks defence for the rest of the game, but Yannis Ambroisine and Goode stood firm, as Minter was largely untroubled, other than when called on to make a smart save from Purcell with 3 minutes to go. Minutes earlier, Amoo could have sealed the win for the Hawks but shot straight at Chafer.
James Fraser replaced Pinney for the 5 added minutes of injury time and made a vital contribution when he was first to a high ball into the box to head away, seconds before the final whistle went to bring great relief to the contingent of travelling Ultras.
Hawks: Minter, Walsh, Muggeridge (c), Unwin (Emberson 85’), Ambroisine, Goode, Rodrigues, Kissock, Pinney (Fraser 90’), Marsh-Brown (Amoo 46’), Ovenden.
Subs not used: Christie, Tighe
Urchins: Chafer, Bentley (c), Sutton, Lee, Wilson, Clark (Dutton 85’), Saunders, Christou, Marks, Purcell, Winn R
Subs not used: Stimson, Winn G, Goode
Booked. Hawks: Unwin, Muggeridge, Minter, Pinney. Urchins: Sutton
Referee: Mark Stevens
Hawks MoM: Fintan Walsh