George Purcell on target again as Hornchurch beat Grays Athletic rivals in latest pre-season outing

George Purcell in action for Hornchurch. Pic: MARK HODSMAN/TGS PHOTO

George Purcell in action for Hornchurch. Pic: MARK HODSMAN/TGS PHOTO - Credit: Mark Hodsman/TGSPHOTO

Pre-season friendly: Grays Athletic 1 Hornchurch 4

Hornchurch registered another pre-season victory last night after beating Grays Athletic 4-1 at Aveley’s Mill Field.

George Purcell opened the scoring after six minutes before Kenzer Lee added a second and Elliot Styles made it 3-0 after 34 minutes.

Although Grays pulled one back after the break, Leon McKenzie rounded off the scoring for Jimmy McFarlane’s team.

The weather remained warm, but ten minutes into the match, there was a torrential downpour, which quickly eased into intermittent showers.

Fortunately the bulk of the dark black cloud missed the ground, as, less than half a mile away, some of the roads were flooded.

Hornchurch, fielding several trialists in their line up, were already two goals ahead by the time the deluge arrived.

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After just six minutes, in which Urchins had applied steady pressure, Purcell gained possession out on the right, glided past two defenders and unleashed an unstoppable shot from a narrow angle to set the scene for the remainder of the half.

Two minutes later, ex-Romford player George Woodward took a free kick out on the left and floated the ball into the goalmouth for Lee to head powerfully into the net.

The Grays goalkeeper was kept busy, although Hornchurch had a close encounter at their own end, when a free kick came back off the post, and Styles cleared the follow-up off the line to concede a corner.

A second free kick, ten yards out, came back off the wall, and Sam Mott was in action to gather a well directed shot from the left, although McFarlane’s men continued to enjoy the vast majority of the territorial play.

The third goal came from another set piece, this time out on the right, and Jed Chouman sent the ball into the goalmouth.

A massed defence blocked the first shot, but Styles was quick to pounce on the loose ball and neatly rounded a defender to prod the ball into the net.

Two minutes before half time, Ousmane Kone received an injury and was replaced by David Knight and there was a steady flow of substitutions after the interval, which saw the introduction of some more trialists plus the welcome return of McKenzie.

Suley Zudhu also came on and the Manford Way player quickly adjusted to the higher level.

Grays pulled a goal back with an excellent shot from the right wing, which looped into the net, but again most of the play was at the other end.

McKenzie added the fourth goal in the 85th minute with a lengthy solo run from close to the half way line, which ended when he neatly drew the keeper off his line and slotted the ball into the net.

In the final few minutes the Grays goal came under heavy pressure, but there were no further goals.

Hornchurch: Mott (Chafer 74), Chouman (Zudhu 46), Styles, Cooper, Woodward, Symons (Brown 67), Kone (Knight 43), Lee (Da Cruz 58), Coley (Agombar 67), Purcell (McKenzie 69), Morrish (Collis 67).

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