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Ryman Premier: Met Police 2 Hornchurch 1

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Urchins were sent tumbling to their third successive Ryman Premier Division defeat as Police stole an injury-time winner at Imber Court.

Beaten by Billericay and Bury during the festive period, Hornchurch travelled west without the injured Alex Bentley and struggled to make an impact in the first half.

George Purcell had an early sight of goal on five minutes, while Tambeson Eyong saw an effort deflected behind.

But the home side took the lead from their first attack on nine minutes when Michael Spencer cleared a corner off the line and Ricardo Joseph smashed the loose ball past Inigo Echepare.

Purcell failed to connect with Stefan Payne’s cross, while Echepare saved well from Bradley Hudson-Odoi.

But Urchins were much improved following the restart, after Echepare had kept out an attempted lob by Hudson-Odoi.

Boss Jimmy McFarlane sent Leigh Bremner, Carl Rook and Sam Lechmere on around the hour mark and switched to a 3-3-4 formation to apply more pressure on the Police defence.

And the move paid off as Urchins drew level on 66 minutes when Purcell fired a low free-kick through the home side’s defensive wall and past Stuart Searle.

Purcell forced two good saves from Searle as Urchins searched for a second, with Bremner to the fore.

Elliot Styles almost turned a Hudson-Odoi cross into his own net, while Bremner and Rook went close at the other end.

And the points looked set to be shared when, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, a slip by Phil Starkey allowed Matt Pattison a clear shot at goal to win it for the Met.

Urchins slipped to fifth place in the table as a result and will now hope to stage their Essex Senior Cup quarter-final tie with Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, after it was postponed last week.

And the club are holding a meeting for supporters at Bridge Avenue on Thursday to discuss their current situation and future plans.

A statement on the club’s website said: “For many clubs, times are tough financially and with increasing costs and dwindling attendances it’s no differnt at Hornchurch.

“We’re asking as many supporters as possible to come along next Thursday (January 16), to listen to the chairman’s report on where we currently are both on and off the field and see what we can do as a community to help the club going forward.”

The meeting will start at 7.45pm.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Starkey, Spencer (Bremner 55), Styles, Hayles, Curley, Eyong (Lechmere 60), Rainford, Payne, Purcell, May (Rook 62).

*Romford’s home meeting with Ryman Division One North leaders VCD Athletic fell victim to a waterlogged pitch at Ship Lane.

Boro will hope to end their long wait for action – they have not played since their 4-0 win at Waltham Forest on December 14 – against Needham Market on Wednesday, if their pitch is playable.

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