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Blues fall to promotion favourites in the blazing sun

There are no easy assignments in this division, but perhaps none will be tougher than Hornchurch this season. Managed by Steve Morison, whose last role was manager six divisions higher with Cardiff City, they have assembled a formidable squad who will be looking to put the playoff final defeats of the previous two seasons behind them to go one step further. 


And today’s result will have further stamped their credentials on a division that has already been put on notice about their intent. They were clinical, scoring twice from their only two clear cut opportunities in the first half, winning battles in their own box, and generally managing the match effectively to ensure there was no route back into the game for the Blues once they had gone behind. 


But for all their technical ability, you would struggle to argue that the Urchins played Rifat’s men off the park. They were able to take advantage of some defensive errors, but they were unable to gain dominance through the middle of the field, thanks to the ever industrious pair of Bani and Achuba who fought for every scrap in the middle of the park. 


And the Blues created plenty of chances for themselves. All of the front three: Chukwu, Carvalho, and Newton tested the Hornchurch keeper in the first half, and can count themselves a tad unlucky that they didn’t see the net bulge. The Blues also came out of the gates quickly in the second half, to the extent that Rhamar Garrett-Douglas found himself round the goalkeeper and bearing down on goal. He attempted to square the ball to the waiting Chukwu, but to his consternation found a Hornchurch leg in the way as the defender got back to make a last ditch block. 


Elliot Long was the player to put us on the scoresheet from long distance as the game wound down, his first of the season, but by that point it was too little too late. 


And so for all the endeavour, it was ultimately some defensive breakdowns that cost the Blues on a scorching hot afternoon in N12. Their first goal was a long ball that found its way between the defenders, and that was followed by goals from two set pieces.


“It was too easy to score today”, said Rifat in his post match remarks. “Against a team like Hornchurch, you can’t afford to do that. We need to be more compact and more aggressive in defending”.  


And so, despite the manner of the defeat today, there is still much positivity around the squad and around the club ahead of the FA Cup next week and beyond. The boys sit 11th in league and, while defensive improvements are required, they are full of confidence from a bright start to the year. 


Wingate & Finchley: Goode; Williams (Mitchell-Nelson 30’); Seager; Bani; Frempah; Achuba; Garrett-Douglas; Newton (Long 64’); Chukwu (Ward-Cochrane 54’); Carvalho; Nazor

Unused Subs: Roberts; Yeboah

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