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AFC Hornchurch 3-0 Kingstonian

Kingstonian lost 3-0 in a fiery encounter at The Hornchurch Stadium on Saturday afternoon in which a Bashiru Alimi sending off on the half hour mark proved pivotal, completely changing the game.

Hornchurch had the better of the early exchanges and a powerful volley from Lewis Smith in the tenth minute forced an excellent leaping save from Rob Tolfrey, as he managed to parry away to the right. The Urchins continued to hold slightly more possession than K's, but never really looked too penetrative, as the Kingstonian defence held a disciplined high line to ensure they didn't invite any early pressure.

Kingstonian had their first real sight at goal in the fourteenth minute; after two excellently won strong tackles from right-back Chris Page led the ball to Ali Chaaban. Chaaban managed to pull the ball across the goal, but there was no K's presence to provide the goal.

Bashiru Alimi picked up his first yellow card in the 27th minute, for an unfair challenge on the edge of Hornchurch's box. He was quickly involved again when a misplaced pass by Hornchurch striker Lewis Smith went straight to Alimi in the centre of Hornchurch's half. Bash managed to poke the ball to Bobby Traynor, who exchanged passes with Chaaban nicely, only for Chaaban's shot across goal to trickle just wide of the post.

Just two minutes later, however, Hornchurch should have taken the lead, as a cross from the right wing found its way to Smith at the back post, with half the goal gaping and seemingly no pressure. But he somehow miskicked, hitting the ball straight into the ground and it bounced up for an easy catch by Tolfrey in the Kingstonian goal. The Urchins had another chance in the 42nd minute, when Frankie Curley won the ball after some tentative K's defending and spread the play to Tommy Black on the right hand corner of the box. His volley, though, fell just past the post.

Hornchurch looked dangerous just five minutes into the second half as Lewis Smith was again involved, after a nice pass played him through on the right hand side. Lynvall Duncan, however, defended excellently, doing extremely well to get back in time and then to block two successive attempted crosses before eventually winning a goal kick. And the K's had a chance of their own just three minutes later, after a teasing cross from Alimi found Sam Clayton on the edge of the six yard box. His shot, however, was blocked.

Then, just inside the sixtieth minute, came what proved to be a fatal moment for K's. Bashiru Alimi's second yellow card. It was a 50/50 ball inside Hornchurch's half. Bash jumped in, with his studs showing, but he won the ball cleanly. Modern referees, however, will book players if their studs are showing, whether they win the ball or not. Whether that is correct or not is debatable, but it is what all referees will do nowadays. Alimi can feel hard done by, but by the strict letter of the law, it was a booking, although a little bit of common sense from the referee would not have gone amiss.

Kingstonian can feel aggrieved, however, at the inconsistency showed by the ref. It was a frantic, high-emotion game, with a lot of strong tackles flying in from both sides. Neither of Alimi's challenges were particularly bad, or any worse than any others on the day, yet they were the two that were deemed to warrant a booking. The Hornchurch dugout were pretty vocal in the first twenty minutes, rarely letting a minute pass without hurling abuse at the referee and linesman, whilst actively encouraging their players to do the same. Perhaps this affected the referee.

It was the 66th minute when AFC Hornchurch got their first goal, just after Gary MacDonald had cleared a volley from the penalty spot off the line. The ball was only partly cleared though and as the ball came back in, a bit of confusion between defenders and what appeared to be the use of a hand by Martin Tuohy, the ball found its way into the bottom corner of the net. Tolfrey barely had time to react.

There was nothing contentious about Hornchurch's second, however, which came only five minutes later. Some nice, patient passing play in the build up led to an intricate through ball to Lewis Smith, who finished calmly as he slid the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. A very nice team goal, with some excellent football being played.

It was the 80th minute when Hornchurch grabbed their third, as Tommy Black unselfishly squared to ball after breaking through the defence. There was three Hornchurch players queuing up in the box and it was Frankie Curley who tapped into an empty net.

It could have been worse for K's, as in the second minute of injury time Les Thompson got the better of Rob Tolfrey, but could only blaze his volley wide of the open goal.

Whilst Hornchurch will probably feel they deserved their win, the Kingstonian players should not feel disheartened. The game was very even when it was eleven versus eleven and K's certainly gave as good as they got, against an in form Hornchurch side who now sit top of the league.

Sat 15th Oct 2011
Hornchurch Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
AFC Hornchurch3
1Rob Tolfrey
2Chris Page
3Neil Jenkins
4Gary MacDonaldCautioned
5Lynvall Duncan
6Romone McCrae
7Sam ClaytonCautioned16
8Simon HuckleCautioned15
9Bobby Traynor
10Ali Chaaban10
11Bashiru AlimiCautioned and Sent Off
12Ian Selley
14Allan Tait10
15Ian Gayle8
16Tom Bird7
17Jake Whincup
Match Report By
Sam Bryant