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Tonbridge Angels 0
1 Hornchurch
Christou (90')
Zak Guerfi in the Angels (0) vs Hornchurch (1) FA Buildbase Trophy 2nd Round 15.12.20.

Angels knocked out of FA Trophy at first attempt

The Angels were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Trophy at the first attempt by Isthmian Premier Hornchurch who had to play virtually the entire 2nd half with 10 men.

With team selection affected by availability issues the side virtually picked itself.  Jack Parter following completion of his suspension partnered Kristian Campbell as the two full backs while Sonny Miles and Rian Bray patrolled the heart of defence. Central midfield comprised Tom Parkinson and Zak Guerfi with Ben Greenhalgh and Joe Turner working the flanks.  Javaun Splatt and Tommy Wood were the two strikers.

It was an open first half with both sides having plenty of the play but unable to force that one pass that would have opened the way to goal.  The pick of the Hornchurch players was ex Angel Ellis Brown who twice came close to breaking the deadlock.  

Angels had their best spell around the 35 minute mark when Splatt came close to converting a cross from the right while a minute later Guerfi took aim from just outside the penalty area but it was straightforward for Urchins keeper Joseph Wright. 

The 2nd half was only 4 minutes old when it seemed the game was going to turn decisively in the Angels favour when Hornchurch’s Mickey Purcell was shown a red card.   

A National South  outfit at home against a 10 man Isthmian Premier side should have seen the Angels home and dry, but in football sometimes the obvious doesn’t always work out. 

Whilst Angels had much of the play, the Hornchurch defence was solid and seldom gave the hosts any room to create genuine chances. When opportunities arose they were not afraid to take the game to their opponents and perhaps Tonbridge were not reading the danger signs.

As the game entered stoppage time with penalties looming Hornchurch were once again passing  the ball around in the Tonbridge half where they eventually worked the ball out to the right flank.  The cross was allowed to come in and there was Joe Christou brilliantly heading the ball home and sealing a fine win which now sees them take on Dulwich Hamlet in the next round.

Angels can have little to complain about.  They were beaten by a superior side on the night who managed the game much better and didn’t let the sending off affect them. The hosts were too predictable, crosses were often either overhit or had no lift and there was little genuine creativity.  

In the dying minutes Wood did manage to get between defender and goalkeeper but his first time effort was too high, while Bray challenged for a loose ball in front of goal but it came to nothing.  Perhaps the fact that Urchins keeper Wright had a very quiet night tells its own story.

There is now a small break in fixtures until the big Boxing Day Derby game against Maidstone United. Opportunity for Angels Boss, Steve McKimm, and his players to have something of a reset on the training ground.

Published Wednesday 16th December 2020