Potters Bar Town show attacking and defensive abilities to see off Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 17:14 08 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:33 08 February 2020
A game that was full of entertainment in the opening stages and then dogged determination from then on saw Potters Bar Town to a 2-1 success over Hornchurch in the Isthmian League Premier Division.
Two goals from Ben Ward-Cochrane in the opening 12 minutes was followed by a Jamie Cureton effort five minutes later.
It ended the scoring for the afternoon and from there Potters Bar showed resoluteness in abundance to record a very important victory.
For Hornchurch it is another three points dropped in their hunt for a play-off place.
The Urchins remain the more probable and perhaps only challengers to the top two of Worthing and Folkestone Invicta.
They stated the day third and facing respective gaps of 11 and six points, albeit with two games in hand, and their form has been good, defeat to Folkestone the only blemish on a run of victories in the last four games.
They did need to make up for that loss though and the Pakex Stadium, decked in warm winter sun, seemed a good place to do so.
The hosts are comfortably mid-table and thoughts will already be turning to next season in some quarters.
Their chances of making the play-offs have floundered on two defeats and a draw in the last three games but the return of fan favourite Nana Kyei after spells in the National League South with Maidstone United and Chelmsford City had given the Bar Army a bit of a morale boost.
He proved just why after six minutes with a mazy run down the left flank that ended up with him cutting inside and being upended on the edge of the box.
Ward-Cochrane thumped the penalty high into the roof of the net to Joe Wright's left a mere 45 seconds after the foul, a refreshing statistic in itself.
He scored again just six minutes later, racing clear and slotting into the empty net from a very tight angle after the bounce of the ball had initially deceived both him and the keeper.
Jamie Cureton then crowned his first start in an Urchins' jersey with a fine finish five minutes later, but that was only given to him after James Budden had been caught in possession.
Had the game only had three goals in that opening 17 minutes, it still would have earned a high entertainment rating.
But there was so much more.
Less than a minute before Potters Bar's second R'avan Constable had pulled off a point-blank save to deny Cureton a goal, the experienced frontman connecting with a George Saunders cross.
And there could have also been a second penalty for the hosts as Ward-Cochrane and Wright went for a loose ball. The keeper was judged to have got there first although there were some who disagreed with that sentiment as close as it was.
Throw two bookings into the mix, Adam Cunnington for Hornchurch and Budden for the Scholars, and this was already an exciting battle.
The rest of the half didn't have as much goalmouth action, although there were some, but it was no less enthralling with Budden redeeming himself many times over in a better display, equalled by defensive partner Jack Humphrey, and Kyei, Ward-Cochrane and Josh Hutchinson forming a very dangerous front three.
The second-half had little of that excitement though and was played under a flat atmosphere.
That may have had something to do with an announcement made over the PA that there had been a report of racial chanting passed to the match officials.
As the announcement rightly said: "it has to stop."
The performance of the home side did little to help either. They struggled to hold onto the ball for any length of time and it meant Hornchurch were able to get back on the front foot instantly and crank up the pressure.
They didn't have too many chances though. Cunnington had one effort that Keagan Cole got across to block and Constable saved while a free-kick from a good position went straight into the wall.
Substitutions and bookings took the sting out of the game further but there was always the thought that there was a fiery finish just waiting to be unleashed.
Two bookings in seven minutes for substitute Marvin Morgan may have been it. He got the first for a foul but the second was for a silly bit of dissent.
It left his team-mates facing six minutes plus an added six minutes minimum short-handed but as they had done for the entirety of the second half, their defensive grit was resolute.
And as had followed during the rest of the half, those final minutes saw Constable untested.
Potters Bar Town: Constable, Pascal, Lomas, Cole, Budden, Humphrey, Gogo (Morgan 73), Nicholas, Hutchinson (Sach 88), Ward-Cochrane, Kyei (Cathline 73).
Subs (not used): Barker.
Goals: Ward-Cochrane (pen) 6,12
Booked: Budden 18, Nicholas 75, Morgan 77, 84
Sent-off: Morgan 84
Hornchurch: Wright, Parcell, Sutton, Lee, Cooper, Johnson, Saunders, Clark, Cureton (Stimson 80), Cunnington (Dickson 76), Ucheci.
Subs (not used): Dutton, Christou, Winn.
Goals: Cureton 17
Booked: Cunnington 11, Lee 76
HT: Potters Bar Town 2 Hornchurch 1
Referee: Daniel Todd (Newport Pagnell)