FA Cup: Hertford Town 1 Hornchurch 2
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Hornchurch made it nine wins in a row as they booked their place in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup with a hard-fought win over their Bostik North rivals.
George Purcell’s late goal sent Jimmy McFarlane’s men through, but the striker – who missed most of last season with injury – then saw red for retaliating to a bad challenge.
Urchins were missing three players with injuries sustained at Maldon in midweek but after a slow start they had the first opportunity when Purcell moved along the left wing and crossed low to Leon McKenzie, who put his shot wide.
Charlie Ruff had the first scoring chance for Hertford, with a free kick 10 yards outside the area, but his effort took a deflection and went out for a corner, which Sam Mott fielded in fine style.
Back at the other end McKenzie headed on from a free kick to Nathan Cooper, but his shot went over the bar.
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The first booking of the match soon followed, with Ricky Light receiving a yellow card for a foul on Tobi Joseph, and two minutes later Cooper went for a 50-50 ball with Charlie Mann and was also booked.
On 19 minutes Hertford took the lead with a penalty, awarded for handball, after a hard drive cannoned into a Hornchurch defender at point-blank range.
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Tyler Hatherly accepted the unexpected gift to open the scoring from the spot and Hornchurch felt they should have had a penalty of their own when Joseph appeared to be brought down as he was about to shoot, the defender then deflecting the ball out for a corner, which was scrambled away for another corner, which was headed to safety.
Brad Warner outpaced the home defence on 40 minutes, but Mann saved well, and Hornchurch came under some pressure in the final few minutes of the half, though Mott did not need to make a safe, the closest Hertford getting to goal was a shot from Light which was wide of the post.
Although Hertford had the edge in the first half, they rarely threatened Mott’s goal and Hornchurch stepped up the pace and equalised four minutes into the second half.
Warner sent a lonng free-kick deep into the goalmouth and it was headed back across goal for McKenzie to provide the finishing touch at the far post.
Three minutes later Urchins went close to a second as Theo Fairweather-Johnson played the ball across to Purcell and he cut inside but placed his shot into the side netting.
Purcell opened up the left flank on the hour and centred to McKenzie, but Mann saved his powerful header from close range.
A Jay Porter run ended with the cross deflected away for a corner and on 67 minutes Hertford went down to 10 men when Hatherly was shown a straight red for a late challenge on Joseph, who himself was booked after two minutes of treatment.
Not surprisingly, Joseph then limped off, to be replaced by Taj Hussain, and shortly afterwards Mathias Fanimo came on for Sean Roberts.
As Hornchurch piled on the pressure a Warner free kick came back off the crossbar and was saved by Mann, and a speedy Fanimo outpaced his marker and centred to McKenzie, with Mann again saving well.
Then, with a minute of normal time left, Fanimo made an excellent run on the left and crossed into the goalmouth, where Purcell was ideally placed to supply the winning touch.
Martin Tuohy came on for McKenzie, who had just been booked, and in the eighth minute of stoppage time Purcell was fouled twice in quick succession and his reaction caused the referee to produce his second red card of the match, leaving him facing a three-match ban.
Hornchurch: Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Roberts (Fanimo 78), Fairweather-Johnson, Joseph (Hussain 72), McKenzie (Tuohy 89), Purcell, Warner
Unused subs: Kamara, Quitirna, Chouman, Lambert.