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Purcell rescues Hornchurch a point

PUBLISHED: 09:27 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:28 26 February 2014

George Purcell celebrates scoring the equalising goal for Hornchurch against Canvey (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

George Purcell celebrates scoring the equalising goal for Hornchurch against Canvey (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 Canvey 1

A sublime George Purcell goal rescued a point for Hornchurch against Essex rivals Canvey last night.

Urchins were lacklustre for most of the match but Purcell’s late equaliser cancelled out John Sands’ second-half opener on a dramatic night at Bridge Avenue.

The visitors started on the front foot and Sheldon Sellears should have hit the target early on but fired over from inside the area.

Hornchurch misplaced several passes in the opening exchanges before Phil Starkey managed to fashion a chance for Stefan Payne, but he could only hit the side netting.

After a decent start it might have been predicted that the rest of the half would follow suit, but instead commitment outshone quality.

Purcell had en effort comfortably saved before Payne slotted past Gines Guzman but was adjudged to be offside much to the grievance of the home supporters.

Canvey’s Jay Curran was next to come close but Spainish keeper Inigo Echepare was up to the task.

Leigh Bremner suffered a dead leg just before half time and was consequently replaced at the break alongside Rickie Hayles as Sam Lechmere and Billy Coyne replaced the injured duo.

There was more concern, though, during the half-time interval as a fan suffered a nasty fall on the Eastside terrace. The supporter was believed to have fallen backwards and suffered concussion after hitting their head.

After various worrying tannoy announcements an ambulance came into the ground and remained there treating the fan, who was conscious, for the majority of the second half.

Hornchurch and Canvey kicked off the second period with the vehicle present on the athletes track, but it failed to distract the Gulls players as they soon went ahead.

Urchins captain Elliot Styles took too long to clear which allowed Sands to block before embarking towards goal and rounding Echepare to open the scoring.

It was not the start Hornchurch wanted and it may have been 2-0 had the excellent Dave Rainford not halted speed merchant Sellears before Sands and Echepare came together when contesting a loose ball and Styles was forced to mop up.

Hornchurch’s fortune started to change in the 69th minute when the aerial presence of Carl Rook was introduced, which coincided with Canvey’s Sands having to be replaced.

Rook’s introduction might not have mattered though had Curran been able to beat Echepare 13 minutes from time. The impressive Sellears released Curran but the Spaniard saved well.

Hornchurch could count themselves unlucky not to be awarded a penalty as the game entered the final ten minutes as Canvey’s Nick Humphrey’s bizarrely handled outside the box first and then inside moments later.

Neither was awarded however but with six minutes remaining the ever reliable Purcell popped up to earn what may become a vital point in the promotion race.

Lechmere’s corner was cleared to the Hornchurch forward who controlled excellently, worked himself a yard of space before firing in from outside the box.

Rainford had an opportunity shortly afterwards but he volleyed over and Urchins could be thankful for a point in the end.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Rainford, Spencer, Styles, Hayles (Coyne 46), Curley, Starkey, May (Rook 69), Payne, Purcell, Bremner (Lechmere 46).

Unused substitute: Eyong.

Attendance: 232.

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