Single strike ends Potters Bar Town’s winning run in Bostik League North’s clash of the day
PUBLISHED: 10:26 01 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:26 01 April 2018
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Potters Bar Town’s six-game winning run came to an end with a 1-0 loss away to AFC Hornchurch – as the league leaders took another big step towards promotion from the Bostik League North Division at Bridge Avenue.
Kenzer Lee’s third goal of the season gave the Urchins the early lead following a goalkeeping error from Berkley Laurencin.
And it turned out to be enough despite the Scholars coming close to grabbing a share of the spoils in the second half.
Potters Bar made four changes from their victory over Ware on Tuesday night with Steve Brown, William Wambeek, Ismael Ehui and Ben Ward-Cochrane making way for captain Lee O’Leary, Michael Murray, James Budden and Eoin Casey.
Hornchurch made three from their defeat to Bowers & Pitsea last Friday with Nathan Livings, Olumide Oluwatimilehin and Theo Fairweather-Johnson dropping out entirely and replaced by Sean Roberts, Leon McKenzie and a first start for midfielder Connor Hogan.
The Urchins came out on top over the Scholars 2-1 in September with McKenzie and Fairweather-Johnson getting Hornchurch’s goals on that occasion. while Casey was on the scoresheet for the Scholars.
Hornchurch began this return game on the front foot and their fast start paid dividends after only six minutes.
George Purcell won a free kick on the edge of the penalty box after being pulled back by Andrew Lomas and when his driven effort was fumbled by Laurencin, Lee poked home the rebound from the six-yard box.
Hornchurch’s high pressing game never looked like letting up in the first half and Potters Bar struggled to get any passing rhythm going.
Hornchurch looked dangerous on every attack but it was a Potters Bar counter-attack which almost led to an equaliser.
Nathan Cooper clipped the heels of Town frontman Murray, whose lofted pass from the resulting free-kick was volleyed home by the outstretched Eoin Casey only for assistant referee Paul Agboola to raise his flag for offside.
Urchins never learnt their lesson as Potters Bar began getting themselves into the game more. Lee gave away another direct free-kick after swinging a leg at George Nicholas and Murray once again stepped up to take it, but his effort went sailing over Sam Mott’s crossbar.
Hornchurch attempted to regain the momentum and it almost worked as a lofted free-kick found Hogan on the right of the penalty area but his low driven cross found the gloves of Laurencin and he made no mistake in hanging on to the ball this time.
Potters Bar had the last attempt of the half as Alex Bentley was penalised for obstruction on Sandro Costa Dias Fernandes on the edge of the box.
But Murray’s effort again went over the crossbar meaning Hornchurch went into the break with a narrow lead.
Bar dominated possession after the break in a half that proved scrappier than the preceding 45 minutes, and it meant there was a lack of clear opportunities for both sides
However, Hornchurch could have doubled their lead within the opening minute.
Purcell intercepted James Budden’s slack pass just outside of his own area but his left footed shot was straight at the keeper.
It took 67 minutes for Mott to make a save in the home goal after Murray did well to control the ball on his chest and turn to have a shot. But the effort was somewhat weak and Mott was comfortable in catching the ball low down.
Potters Bar looked to be gaining some momentum as they continued to go forward and a fierce 20-yard strike from Nicholas looked destined for the net only for the ball to catch Lee flush in the face.
The defender continued after treatment and Bar continued to create half chances.
Costa hit a shot straight at the keeper, Murray sent a a ball whizzing across the six-yard box and a header from Sean Grace was blocked.
The Scholars had a penalty appeal turned down late on as they looked to get something out of the game as Steve Brown’s effort was blocked by Lee and the Town dugout were left outraged as they believed the ball had hit the defender’s arm.
A corner was given instead and Hornchurch eventually managed to clear their lines.
The result leaves Town in third, level on points with Bowers & Pitsea in the second automatic place but now having played a game more.
They will now head to Ware tomorrow (Easter Monday) to start their final run of seven games.
Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Lee, Cooper, Porter, Styles, Hogan (Collis 82), Roberts (Hursit 73), Purcell, Warner (Assombalonga 76), McKenzie. Unused Subs: Joseph, Palmer.
Potters Bar Town: Laurencin, Doyle, Budden, Grace, O’Leary, Lawal (Brown 82), Nicholas (Adcock 76), Costa, Casey (Ward-Cochrane 65), Murray.
Unused Subs: Wambeek, Baird.
HT: AFC Hornchurch 1 Potters Bar Town 0
Referee: Paul Agboola
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