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Bad night for Hornchurch

07:54 19 March 2014

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 1 Cray 2

Hornchurch were shocked by basement boys Cray Wanderers last night as the ten-men hosts conceded twice in the second half to fall to a devastating defeat.

George Purcell had put Urchins ahead but Dave Rainford’s red card was the turning point and Jimmy McFarlane’s men fell to their fifth home loss in the league this season.

It was a scrappy opening at Bridge Avenue but fortunately after 19 minutes goalmouth action occurred as home captain Elliot Styles heading Purcell’s deep free-kick just wide.

Stefan Payne came close to giving Hornchurch the lead midway through the half but curled wide from Tambeson Eyong’s centre.

But the opening goal arrived shortly after, following some excellent work by Leigh Bremner.

The ex-Cray striker crossed in wonderfully on 29 minutes and Purcell powered a header past former Hornchurch keeper Darren Behcet for his 25th league goal of the season.

The visitors gave Hornchurch warning signs before the break, with Moses Ashikodi proving a threat.

Ashikodi first pulled off Rainford before firing wide and afterwards powerfully volleyed straight at Inigo Echepare.

Cray captain Alex Stavrinou sliced a great chance over following Ashikodi’s pass before Eyong nearly doubled Hornchurch’s lead with the last action of the half.

The visitors started the second period positively as Echepare was forced into a relatively comfortable save from substitute Adrian Stone before Stavrinou’s dangerous looking free-kick was cleared by the excellent Rickie Hayles.

Purcell and Eyong came close to grabbing a second for the hosts before disaster struck when Rainford was given his marching orders.

Ashikodi again peeled off Rainford and the Hornchurch man pulled him down on the edge of the box to earn himself a straight red card.

The resulting free-kick was missed and another flew over the bar but the hosts were now under some serious pressure.

Payne was sacrificed soon after for Billy Coyne, but eventually the pressure told as Stone smashed in for Cray from the edge of the area to level.

Echepare made a brave block as the ten men tried to salvage a respectable result and Purcell had a glorious chance to put Hornchurch ahead afterwards but fired straight at Behcet following Eyong’s through ball.

It would prove costly as Cray’s Merrick James-Lewis was afforded too much space and Paul Vines headed his exquisite outside of the foot cross past the helpless Echepare.

Carl Rook and Michael Spencer were sent on by McFarlane in a late bid to rescue a point, but it was to no avail as Cray held on for victory to put a huge dent in Hornchurch’s automatic promotion hopes.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Rainford, Starkey (Rook 83), Styles, Hayles, Curley, Eyong, May (Spencer 83), Payne (Coyne 69), Purcell, Bremner.

Subs not used: Lechmere, Folkes.

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