A late goal from Ollie Sotoyinbo wasn’t enough to spark a comeback for Walthamstow as the Stags bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup in the Second Qualifying Round as they faced a defeat from Step 3 Hornchurch.
Both sides looked to make a good start to the game, setting the tempo for what was to come throughout the match. The hosts managed to scramble clear the ball from some Stow pressure before Ollie Muldoon sent a free-kick straight into the wall and Jili Buyabu sent the rebound over the bar. The host came close a minute later as Buyabu was played through, but Amarildo Cekrezi made a superb save to keep the scores level before down the other end, Connor Scully did well to get the ball to Jason Hallett, but the latter’s shot was curled just wide of the far post.
The deadlock was broken in the 11th minute as Hornchurch took the lead. Liam Nash had crossed the ball into Sam Higgins with the forward lashing home the opener. The hosts almost doubled their lead a minute later as Nash and Buyabu combined, but Cekrezi somehow managed to divert the ball over the bar. Both sides looked to create chances as a corner was cleared before Jason Beck could head it towards goal and a free-kick from the host was well defended.
The ball had been played over to Hallett as the first half reached the last 15 minutes, but he was crowded out by two defenders who had been sent to marshal him throughout the game before Hornchurch doubled their lead two minutes later. The hosts had picked up the ball well into Stow’s half before Higgins turned provider as he squared the ball to Jili Buyabu, who tucked the ball away.
As the game approached the break, there was little goalmouth action between the two sides. Adalberto Pinto looked to bring Stow forward, but the hosts intercepted the ball before Cekrezi was forced into a good save before Jason Beck made a superb run in added time, but the ball just ran out of play.
The second half had been started the better by hosts as they added a third in the 53rd minute. The ball was played towards the back post with Liam Nash rising highest to head home and put the Urchins well in control of the tie. Hornchurch had looked for another but Joe Christou’s effort from distance was fired over the bar.
Despite finding themselves 3-1 down, Stow continued to come forward. A free-kick was fired in, but cleared well by he hosts before another ball was played into Sotoyinbo, but the ball just run out of play. Stow had tried to play long balls over the top to Yemi Adelani and Sotoyinbo, but the Urchins dealt well with the pressure before they came forward themselves as Charlie Ruff ran through on goal, but his chipped effort was well held by Cekrezi.
As the game reached the final 15 minutes, the pressure from Walthamstow had been upped. Sotoyinbo crossed the ball to Adelani, but the keeper managed to come away with the ball before Stow looked to cross the ball, but Sotoyinbo’s effort was over everyone and Courtney Homans redelivered effort was fired out of play. A shot was flashed across the face of goal from the hosts, but the effort was inches wide before the pressure continued for Stow. A corner was swung in and cleared before the rebounded effort was straight into the hands of the keeper and Adelani looked to intercept the keepers kick, but the ball rolled wide of the target.
The pressure had paid off for the Stags in the 83rd minute as they were awarded a penalty. Ollie Sotoyinbo stepped up and rolled the ball beyond the keeper. As the clocked counted down, so did the opportunities for both sides. Chris Dickson looked to steal the show with an acrobatic effort, but the forwards shot was over the bar, but their passage to the Third Qualifying Round was sealed without a doubt three minutes later as the hosts scored their fourth. Stow had had a corner, but Hornchurch broke with Sakariya Hassan feeding the ball to Ruff, who finished well beyond Cekrezi.
With four minutes of added time played, the referee brought the game to an end.