WITHAM Town exited the Emirates FA Cup at the second qualifying round stage after losing 5-1 at home to Hornchurch, writes JIM PURTILL.

Town’s journey in the competition reached an end at the Simarco Stadium where their high-flying Pitching In Isthmian Premier opponents had too much quality for the hosts.

Witham’s cause was weakened by a 42nd-minute red card for Rowan Dorling when they were two goals down.

Hornchurch took an early lead when captain Lewwis Spence headed in from a corner.

Witham forced three corners of their own in the following ten minutes.

Anton Matthews and Jeff Cobblah combined well on the right as Witham went in search of an equaliser.

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The pace of Hornchurch’s George Saunders posed a constant threat to the hosts.

He nearly added to the lead when he headed just wide after 19 minutes.

The quality of the Hornchurch side became increasingly evident as they took control of the proceedings.

Almost all the action was taking place in the Witham half.

The hosts defended stoutly against a series of attacks but could only relieve the Hornchurch pressure by occasional breakaways.

Both sides came close to scoring around the half-hour mark.

In the 27th minute, Saunders hit a fierce shot just over the bar while at the other end, Darius Ghinea shot just wide for Witham after receiving a pass from Cobblah on the right.

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Hornchurch went further ahead in the 36th minute.

Sean Scannell's brilliant run down the left wing ended with a cross that was converted by the unmarked Ade Yusuff in front of goal.

Six minutes later the tie effectively ended as a contest when Dorling was sent off for pulling Saunders’ shirt to prevent him from moving into a goalscoring position.

The second half offered little respite for the hosts as Hornchurch made their numerical advantage count.

The pace of Saunders created attacking opportunities and he was next to score after receiving a pass from Scannell in the 53rd minute.

Witham scored four minutes later from a lob by top scorer Jeff Cobblah. But the best goal of the match arrived in the 64th minute when Yusuff received a cross from Jack Leahy and hit a fierce shot past keeper, Amarildo Cekrezi.

Veteran striker Sam Higgins came on as a substitute for Hornchurch and was soon in the action with a goalbound shot that cannoned off a defender.

Spence should have scored for Hornchurch but put a shot wide with the goal at his mercy. But Hornchurch scored their fifth and final goal when Yusuff completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute, with Scannell involved again to seal an impressive performance.

Witham will be at home again on Saturday when they host Redbridge, in the Isuzu FA Trophy.