Frankie Merrifield earns Bishop's Stortford first Isthmian League win of the season against Hornchurch
Frankie Merrifield scored as Bishop's Stortford beat Hornchurch 1-0 at home to pick up their first Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division win of the season on Saturday (September 11).
The striker netted the only goal of the game in the second period having seen his first-half penalty saved by former Blues goalkeeper Joe Wright.
Steve Smith's men are also in league action tomorrow night (Tuesday September 14) before hosting Bowers & Pitsea in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday (September 18).
Ex-Stortford defender Rickie Hayles had the first chance of the match with a looping header from Liam Nash's free kick, but it looped harmlessly to Jack Giddens in the Blues goal.
Jake Cass found Ryan Charles who cut in and forced a low save from Wright, before Sam Higgins - who had scored a hat-trick in an FA Cup replay in midweek - dragged his shot wide for the Urchins.
Higgins then crossed to the back post towards Mickey Parcell, but Sam Robbins, who was celebrating his 100th Blues appearance, headed clear.
Jonny Giles whipped a beautiful cross into the Hornchurch area which Wright could only half punch away, but his defenders bailed him out and cleared their lines.
Stortford earned a penalty when Ronnie Winn upended Anthony Church in the box. Merrifield fired powerfully down the middle, but Wright was equal to it and Church was unable to control the ball for a shot. Charles then headed Giles' cross off target as the Blues finished the half strongly.
Five minutes into the second period, Merrifield had clearly forgotten about his penalty miss as he scored with a looping header from Charles' right-wing cross to break the deadlock.
Joe Christou headed wide at the other end before Giles went close from a long-range free kick when it looked like he had set up to cross.
Jimmy Wallace, who came off the Stortford bench as an early substitute for Mark Haines, looked assured and composed at the back, and he was alert to clear off the line from a corner,
Cass' shot low from a tight angle was saved by Wright and he also shot over the bar after Charles had laid the ball off to him having been forced wide in a one-on-one.
The best chance for the Urchins to equalise came late on and fell to Higgins, but he fluffed his lines from Hayles' knockdown and tamely side-footed it to Giddens.
Blues: Jack Giddens, Archie Edwards, Anthony Church, Sam Robbins, Ryan Henshaw ©, Jonny Giles, Jake Cass (Jack Thomas, 78min), Frankie Merrifield, Archie Jones (booked, 86), Ryan Charles (Johnville Renee, 72), Mark Haines (Jimmy Wallace 7). Not used: Bobby Unwin, Charlie Allum.
Hornchurch: Joe Wright, Mickey Parcell (Maxwell Statham, 58min), Jordan Clark, Rickie Hayles ©, Oliver Muldoon, Joe Christou (booked, 77), Ronnie Winn (Jili Buyabu, 58), Sam Higgins, Liam Nash, Ellis Brown, Charlie Ruff (Chris Dickson, 65).