Bostik North: Hornchurch 1 Tilbury 1
PUBLISHED: 21:09 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 21:09 24 February 2018
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Hornchurch had to settle for a point after letting a lead slip against Tilbury at Bridge Avenue.
With manager Jimmy McFarlane recovering from a stroke in hospital, Colin McBride took charge in the dugout.
But after the hosts took the lead in the last minute of the first half, they allowed Tilbury to come back into the game and level midway through the second half and struggled to hold out against a suddenly dominant Dockers.
Tilbury were forced into making an early substitution when Kurt Smith limped off, to be replaced by debutant Harry Norman, following his signing from Canvey Island, and play was largely confined to midfield.
The closest either side came to a goal was when a Jay Porter cross was turned out for a corner on 20 minutes.
George Purcell fired over from a Jamie Hursit cross five minutes later, whilst a powerful run by Chris Assombalonga ended with Abdul Salami tackling him as he was about to shoot.
Purcell made a good run along he left, but his cross went across the face of the goal without anyone able to get the final touch, and a Hursit free kick also eluded everyone, with the ball drifting out at the far post.
A solo run by Purcell out on the right ended with his shot clearing the bar, but as the half drew to a close, Hornchurch took the lead after Theo Fairweather-Johnson played the ball out to Purcell on the right, and his centre found Assombalonga at the far post to net from close range.
Hornchurch had a scare five minutes into the second half when, following a goalmouth scramble, the ball came back off the bar, and they had another escape when Hursit conceded a free kick, which Kris Newby sent over.
At the other end, Olu Oluwatimilehin found space and his shot was well saved by Clarke Bogard, who was fortunate a few minutes later when Purcell ran on to a long ball, rounded the keeper, only for his shot to be deflected around the post by a defender.
Tilbury drew level in fortunate circumstances when a weakly hit shot by Norman made its way through a crowd of defenders and into the net, and Hornchurch spent the last 20 minutes having to concentrate on defence, with Tilbury coming forward confidently.
Sam Mott twice saved from Toby Aromolarin, and the same player then headed over when well placed as Hornchurch rarely threatened, apart from a run by Bradley Warner that ended with Bogard saving.
And although Hornchurch had the better of the five minutes added on for stoppages, they had to be content with just the solitary point.
Hornchurch: Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper (Warner 77), Styles, Roberts, Oluwatimilehin (Joseph 66), Assombalonga, Purcell, Fairweather-Johnson (Bentley 66). Unused subs: Hogan, Livings.