AFC HORNCHURCH 1 DORCHESTER TOWN 0
LEWIS Smith was the star of the show for the Urchins as they ended Dorchester Town’s four-game winning streak with a single-goal victory at the Hornchurch Stadium.
The Magpies failed to contain the lively forward all afternoon and it was his fantastic strike on 34 minutes that proved the difference, causing visiting boss Phil Simkin to sing his praises at the final whistle.
The Dorchester boss said: “They had one particular lad called Lewis Smith that was top notch.
“We failed to get to grips with him and I hope they enjoy him up there because he won’t be there very long. “He scored the goal and is the best striker I have seen at this level for a very long time.”
Reflecting on his own side’s fortunes, Simkin went on to add: “It did not go well.
“It is a difficult place to go and I knew all week it would be an extremely tough game.
“There is a running track around the pitch and the surface wasn’t the best either. They launched the ball at us at every opportunity and we just didn’t deal with it.
“Having said that though, we did have good possession at times but for all our pressure we never really got going.
“However, I still think we probably deserved a point. Jamie Reid had a couple of good efforts and we should have had a penalty when Jon Garcia broke between two defenders and was brought down in the box, but for some reason the referee didn’t give it.
“It was frustrating but all we can do now is take it as experience and make sure we respond in the next game.”
New Spanish signing Garcia came on as a second-half substitute. Com-menting on his debut, Simkin added: “He only got 15 minutes but he showed quite a lot in that time, which was one of the only positives for us on the day.”
Nick Crittenden and Ben Watson returned to the Magpies’ starting XI with Lewis Morgan and Sam Malsom dropping to the bench.
High on confidence following their first league win of the season at Basingstoke Town the previous Saturday, Hornchurch made the brighter start in the opening 20 minutes but neither side were able to create any clear-cut chances.
Having reverted back to 4-4-2, the Magpies were more than holding their own but it was Jason Matthews that was the busier keeper, pulling off two fine saves to deny the impressive Smith.
Frankie Curley also went close for the Urchins before Smith finally got the goal the hosts deserved on 34 minutes when he let fly with a thunderbolt from 30 yards.
Town did not look themselves and created very few openings. There were also concerns over the fitness of skipper Mark Jermyn (thigh) and midfielder Jamie Gleeson (groin) after both men were rated doubtful in the build up.
After the break, Martin Tuohy sent a header wide for Hornchurch and also struck a post with Curley seeing another effort cleared off the line.
The Magpies were clearly riding their luck at the back but they were also carry more of a threat with Jamie Reid firing just over the bar following some neat interplay with Watson.
Unfazed, the Urchins kept pushing for a killer second goal but were unable to find it with Paul Goodacre nodding just wide and Tuohy once again finding the woodwork.
Town threw on Garcia for Gleeson in the closing stages but apart from the penalty shout they never really looked like fashioning an equaliser with Hornchurch keeper Joe Wooley scarcely troubled.
Hornchurch: Wooley, Love, Spencer, Glover, Goodacre, Noel, Eyong, Curley, Tuohy (McKenzie 87), Smith, Cutler (Tomlinson 82). Subs not used: Gayle, May, Styles.
Magpies: Matthews, Jermyn, Martin, Clough, Walker, Gleeson (Garcia 72), Crittenden (Malsom 59), Nicholls, Watson, Reid, Gosling (Morgan 46). Subs not used: Bell, Ward. Bookings – Hornchurch: None.
*Dorchester Town’s A team are searching for new players and will be holding training tomorrow night at the Thomas Hardye Leisure Centre.
Anyone interested in joining the Magpies can just turn up on the evening at 6.30pm at the Avenue Stadium. Contact manager Glenn Donovan on 07815036887 for more information.