The return of Player of the Year, Ricky Aguiar – from a combination of injury and suspension – in place of the benched Ben Mendoza-Sherman, was the only change to the team that beat Lewes. Meaning that Fin Stevens missed out altogether, on this occasion.
An action-packed start to proceedings saw a quickly-taken Yellows’ throw-in by Mickey Parcell just kept in by Chris Dickson, on the left, who picked out Joe Christiou, on the right and his shimmy and shot was kept out by the chest of Roco Rees, at the near post.
A minute later, Aguiar sprayed a trademark long pass out to Alex Parsons but Lloyd Dawes couldn’t quite finish off the move, finding the side netting.
Only the width of the far post denied Reece Myles-Meekums, when he held off Christou and drove his effort across the six yard box. Though there was no time to blink as ‘Church immediately counter-attacked and Dan Uchechi threaded the ball through to Dickson, who rounded Rees but the angle proved a tad too tight.
Some kamikaze defending lead to a stretching Saunders only being able to poke an attempt into the safe hands of Rees, before Meekums released Jesse Starkey on the left; his burst into the area resulting in the on loan Mitch Dickenson conceding a throw.
Dawes took too long to get a shot away on his favoured his left foot and George Winn was able to clear the danger, which didn’t last long as Aguiar fired over from distance shortly afterwards.
A right wing corner was well kept in on the left byline, courtesy of Captain, Darren Budd only for Dawesy to pull his attempt the wrong side of the back stick.
A route one launch from ‘keeper, Joe Wright to Saunders ended with Jalen Jones on his backside and Christou once more kept at bay by the host’s backline, who had to be equally alert when Aguiar gifted possession straight to Dickson and his charge forward concluded with his shot taking one bounce on top of the turnstiles, before narrowly avoiding any passing traffic in Woodside Road.
Wright then did well to parry a stinger from Meekums, after the number ten had played a neat one-two with Dawes, who had a couple of chances of his own that came via significant contributions by Starkey and Joe Tennent. One stabbed through to the custodian and one curled over the bar from the left-hand side of the box.
Visiting Skipper, Matt Johnson couldn’t quite get enough purchase on the end of deep free-kick and Tennent swung and half-volleyed over, after Aguiar had recycled a corner to Budd.
Nine minutes into the second period, Starkey’s long ball to Dawes was drifted across the top of the penalty area by LLoydy but deposited wide of the far upright.
A little over sixty seconds later, Jones sold Aguiar short with a backpass and the predatory Dickson stole in, burst down the right and drilled low across Rees, to open the scoring.
Uchechi won a corner off substitute, Ben Mendoza-Sherman, only for the flag-kick to miss everyone and Aguiar missed by a distance, from a long way out, as the fast-paced nature of the game showed no signs of slowing down.
Fractionally past the hour mark, Hornchurch doubled their advantage with an absolute beauty; Dickson’s pass to Saunders was cut out and cleared to the halfway line by Jones but returned with interest by Dickenson, bounced once in the box (on the right) and then dispatched on the volley – Van Basten-esque – by Dickson, into the opposite side of the net.
Johnson nearly set up Dickson for his hat-trick but Rees saved and another long ball caught out Mendoza but Tennent deflected it behind.
Inside the final quarter of the contest, the luckless Mendoza allowed the ball to run under his foot from Uchechi’s curving pass, meant for Dickson, releasing Ronnie Winn to go round Rees and slot into a relatively empty net – despite the best attempts of Mendoza to recover the situation at the near post.
A rampant Urchins made it four soon after, when Uchechi seized on Mendoza’s poor header to Jones and his right flank delivery was headed out by the twelve straight to Christou and on to Dickson, on the edge of the area. He powered past Ben before completing his treble by smashing into the top corner, past a helpless Rees.
There was a brief glimmer of hope when good hold-up play by replacement, Shola Ayoola gave Alex Parsons a sight of goal that he could only blaze over the angle of crossbar and post.
That respite was all too brief, however, as impressive approach work down the left led to Ronnie Winn racing into the box and firing a missile into the same top corner of the net recently located with an equal amount of gusto, by Dickson.
A bedraggled home team were finally put out of their misery in the last minute of what had become a disastrous afternoon. A lack of communication between Mendoza and Rees resulted in the latter coming out of his area, in an attempt to clear the latest danger but only succeeding in rolling over the top of sub, Dan Akindayini to leave Charlie Stimson – only on a few minutes, alongside Akindayini – to lob the ball into an unguarded net.