Bostik North: George Purcell at the double for Hornchurch in Soham Town Rangers win
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2017
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Bostik North: Soham Town Rangers 1 Hornchurch 2
A brace from George Purcell maintained Hornchurch’s unbeaten record in the Bostik North and kept them just behind leaders Canvey Island.
The club’s all-time leading goalscorer netted in each half at Soham Town Rangers to give Urchins a 2-1 success.
Jimmy McFarlane was without Tobi Joseph, Brad Warner and Alex Bentley, but saw his side dominate the first half, though have just one goal to show from their overall superiority.
It was a quiet start to the match, with both teams having difficulty in adapting to the strong wind, and it was twenty minutes before either team managed a shot on goal.
It came when Purcell played the ball out to an overlapping Jay Porter on the left wing. Porter sent the ball over into the middle, where Ross Wall powered his header against the bar.
Wall, a persistent threat to the home defence, went close shortly afterwards when he ran on to a Purcell centre, with Josh Pope in the home goal saving well.
A Matthias Fanimo run into the middle from the right wing ended with Fanimo being dumped on the ground. Purcell took the free kick, but placed his shot wide of the target.
On 30 minutes a Jed Chouman free kick found Purcell moving in from the left, but his hard drive was wide of the goal.
Soham then lost Dan Buddle, who was replaced by Will Gardner, as Hornchurch continued to press, giving the home side very few opportunities to break out of defence.
It was no surprise when Hornchurch took the lead on 36 minutes. Purcell ran on to a long ball upfield, held off a challenge from a defender, and sent his shot low past Pope and into the net.
Pope was back in action just minutes later, making an excellent save from Purcell, after Wall had set the shot up.
Urchins had to wait until the half was about to enter stoppage time before the home side made any threat, and it came from ex-Urchin Gary Cohen, who raced forward and sent in a hard shot that Sam Mott tipped over the bar.
This led to two corners in succession, neither of which offered much threat and it stayed 1-0 at the break.
Soham had offered relatively little in the first half, other than some long throws from Callum Russell, none of which came to anything, but this changed just two minutes into the second half, played in an ever-increasing gale force wind.
Russell hurled a throw towards the far post and Lee Chaffey headed in the equaliser much to the delight of the home fans.
Urchins responded on 58 minutes when they won a free kick just outside the area, but before it could be taken, manager McFarlane sent on Elliot Styles, to replace Fanimo who was limping from an injury picked up a couple of minutes earlier.
Purcell took the free kick, and although Pope got a hand to the shot, he could not prevent it from going into the net.
On 79 minutes a quick free kick by Purcell sent Wall away on the left, and he crossed to Kenzer Lee, who directed his first time shot a fraction too high and over.
Less than minutes later and Wall ran on to a long Mott clearance and raced down the left wing. He pulled the ball back to Purcell, but his shot was too high and went over the bar.
Soham had a rare opportunity when Cohen moved into a shooting position moments later, but Mott was ready and waiting for the shot.
Hornchurch managed to defend the final few Soham attacks in the dying exchanges, with the main threat invariably coming from Russell’s long throws into a crowded penalty area.
Leon McKenzie replaced Ross Wall during stoppage time, and there was a final scare with almost the last kick of the match when Soham won a corner, but it was comfortably cleared upfield as the full time whistle went.