Tommy Widdrington reached out to bring fresh faces into the Boro squad, and although Frankie Raymond's contribution can't be ignored .....
..... Joe Day made a string of fine saves to grab the MOM award and give his side a platform on which to build a winning performance.
Both recruits made the starting XI, Raymond working hard in the middle of the Boro midfield, but with the hosts looking to cement their mid-table place Day was the busiest in the opening half. Frankie Curley looped a header safely to day as early as the 3rd minute before he was asked to work harder after 20, Simon Glover forcing a great 'tip' over the bar. Raymond forced his way into the box and had a fierce drive blocked at point blank before the hosts beat Day only for Ben Adelsbury to clear off the line on the half hour. Boro began to have greater possession from this point and Simon Johnson and Adelsbury were unable to take advantage of half chances in and around the AFC box.
In the final 5 minutes of the opening half Hornchurch were to have their best spell, and Day would keep his new side in the game. First he saved low from Tambeson Eyong before stretching high to deny Lewis Smith. The resultant corner saw Day pull off a truly remarkable save as a point blank header shot goalward, the AFC players pleading that the ball had crossed the line, but his save pushed the ball behind for another corner.
Boro came out for the second half in far more determined mood and were straight onto the attack. Raymond looped a header to the far post in the opening minute before Joe Woolley emulated Day with a great save from Marvin Hamilton. The Boro corner saw Alex Bentley twice clear off his line, and the pressure grew further as a Hamilton cross led to David Knight head over the bar.
Sub Ben Bowditch turned a knock down past Day's near post before the game finally swung Boro's way. Woolley raced clear of his box to challenge Gary Hart attempting to reach a forward ball, Mr O'Brien calling a foul for the follow through by the home keeper. Right hand side of the box, 25 yards from goal, and Chris Shephard curled the free kick home with Woolley rooted to the spot for 1-0.
The Urchins, with 20 minutes to get something from the game created 2 chances. Sam Cole cleared a lob over Day on 75 minutes and Bowditch headed a cross down into the ground and over the bar on 86 minutes from 6 yards, but today their would be no late drama for The Sports.
The final whistle brought cheers from the decent number of Boro fans in attendance, and punches and roars of delight from the Boro squad.
"I'm delighted for the players and the fans." was Widdrington's first response as he emerged from the dressing room. "I think we have been losing games by the slimmest of margins. The league is wide open and today we have won by a slim margin. I said to the lads hat if you work hard enough and long enough at the right things, things will go your way."
On discussing Joe Day the Boro boss said "He has come from a very good level of football. I know he's not played for the first team (Peterborough United) yet but he's played at this level and above so it wasn't a risk to me, it was something I thought I needed to do to brighten us up. He's done what we thought he would do and I need to commend him and the club. He could have been on the bench watching the United first team but he wants to come to Hornchurch and play for us, and that's the measure of the lad. Obviously I'm over the moon with thanks to Darren Ferguson and Barry Fry to let him to come and play for us."
AFC Hornchurch: Woolley, Love (McKenzie 78), Bentley, Glover, Goodacre (Bowditch 45), Noel, Eyong (Spencer 85), Curley, Tuohy, Smith, Gray
Unused Subs: May, Daniel
Cards: Eyong Y, Woolley Y, Smith Y
Borough: Day, Hamilton, Cole, Adelsbury, Rowe, Uddin, Johnson, Raymond, Knight, Hart, Shephard
Unused Subs: Remy, Adams, Jordan
Cards: Rowe Y
Goals: Shephard 68
Ref: Mr. J. O'Brien
Website MOM: Joe Day