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Hornchurch, Romford both held

20:30 22 February 2014

George Purcell (right) scored an early goal for Hornchurch at Bognor (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

George Purcell (right) scored an early goal for Hornchurch at Bognor (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: Bognor 1 Hornchurch 1; Div 1N: Witham 0 Romford 0

Hornchurch had to settle for a point after letting an early lead slip on the south coast.

Barely two minutes had been played when George Purcell fired the visitors in front.

But Bognor got back on terms just past the hour mark through Ollie Pearce and neither side could find a winner in the time that remained.

After Purcell’s early opener, Urchins went close again as Rickie Hayles had a volley saved by Grant Smith from Joey May’s cross.

Michael Spencer sent another effort over the bar, before Purcell’s shot under pressure was comfortably saved midway through the first half.

Phil Starkey was also denied from a great chance, while Leigh Bremner sent an effort drifting wide before Stefan Payne had a shot saved by Smith.

Urchins continued to ask more of the questions, with Starkey heading wide and sending a left-footed shot straight at the keeper.

Bognor had their first chance of note on 40 minutes, which Inigo Echepare pushed behind for a corner, and sent a header over the bar just before the break.

But Purcell fired straight at Smith inbetween times and Urchins had an effort cleared off the line, after good work from Purcell and May, before Bremner headed wide from a corner.

Bognor had the wind at their backs in the second half and sent two early chances over the Hornchurch crossbar.

Another Pearce effort hit the post on 51 minutes, before Echepare smothered and Urchins cleared off their own line moments later.

The visitors countered and Purcell had a snapshot saved on 54 minutes, before Smith produced a triple save to deny Purcell and Payne, twice.

It proved a key moment as Bognor levelled soon after on 63 minutes but Purcell went close to restoring Hornchurch’s lead two minutes later.

The visitors had a late chance to win too, but Payne could not capitalise and they had to be happy with a share of the spoils ahead of Tuesday’s home meeting with Essex rivals Canvey.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Rainford, Spencer, Styles, Hayles, Curley, Starkey, May (Coyne 78), Payne, Purcell (Rook 81), Bremner (Eyong 78).

Unused sub: Lechmere.

*****

Romford were held by 10-man Witham on a frustrating afternoon at Spa Road.

The high-flying hosts saw Luke Olley given his marching orders in the opening minutes, for a foul on George Woodward, who was replaced by Jamie Dicks with only 14 minutes gone.

And the visitors, buoyed by their 2-0 midweek win over Aveley, had a great chance to take the lead when awarded a penalty before the break.

But long-serving Paul Clayton saw his spot-kick saved and both sides struggled to play their usual passing games on a difficult surface as the scoreline remained blank.

The point lifted Boro up to 17th, with games in hand on their rivals, and they are set to visit Waltham Abbey on Tuesday, before hosting Erith & Belvedere at Ship Lane on Thursday.

Romford: Omand, Barry, Woodward (Dicks 14), Truman, Ishmail, Clayton, Oates (Toms 90), Seymour, Reynolds, Imbert (Norris 60), Richardson.

Unused subs: Ottley, Ngoy.

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