Bostik North: Barking 1 Hornchurch 1
PUBLISHED: 18:09 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:09 30 December 2017
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Honours finished even at Mayesbrook Park as Barking hit back to hold leaders Hornchurch to a point on the last weekend of 2017.
Urchins’ all-time leading goalscorer George Purcell put the visitors in front from the penalty spot late in the first half.
But Toib Adeyemi replied for the home side on 71 minutes to earn Justin Gardner’s men a share of the spoils.
After a morning inspection had deemed the pitch playable, Urchins made a bright start, with Jed Chouman volleying a good chance over on 14 minutes.
Sam Mott saved well from former Hornchurch striker Martin Tuohy before the half-hour mark, while Billy Jones fired straight at the visiting keeper soon after.
But the visitors took the lead when Purcell was fouled in the box by Hussain Jaffa, who was booked, and the striker got up to convert from the penalty spot.
Barking went close to levelling before the break, hitting the crossbar, and saw Albert Levett denied by Mott soon after the restart.
Good work by Brad Warner teed up Nathan Livings on 55 minutes, but he fired over and then made way for Sean Roberts just past the hour.
Purcell put Warner in the clear midway through the half but his effort was pushed wide by Emmanuel Olajide.
And Blues were back on term moments later when Mott parried an initial shot and Adeyemi was on hand to poke the rebound home.
Purcell fired over from Warner’s lay-off, before being replaced by Theo Fairweather-Johnson for the final stages, but Hornchurch could not find a winner as nearest rivals Bowers were beaten 2-0 at home by Ware.
Jimmy McFarlane’s men take a three-point lead into the new year and are set to host Brentwood at Bridge Avenue on Monday.
Barking, meanwhile, end 2017 in a creditable eighth place followinng promotion last season and travel to Tilbury on January 2.
Barking: Olajide, Tarbard, Marfo (Gilchrist 68). O’Brien, Jaffa, Adeyemi, Jones, Seymour, Tuohy, Hughes-Mason, Levett (Taylor 58). Unused subs: Peart, Reed, Bowles.
Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Porter, Chouman, Cooper, Oluwatimilehin, Fanimo, Livings (Roberts 62), McKenzie, Purcell (Fairweather-Johnson 80), Warner (Hursit 90). Unused subs: Joseph, Collis.
*Romford saw their match with relegation rivals Norwich United postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Ship Lane.
Paul Martin’s men are due to make the short trp to Aveley’s Parkside ground to take on Grays on Monday.