Hornchurch hold leaders in stalemate

No change at top of table

Hornchurch 0 Billericay 0

Urchins were unable to topple leaders Billericay at a busy Bridge Avenue yesterday.

A fifth successive win would have seen Jimmy McFarlane’s men leapfrog their rivals in the title race, but Blues went closest in a hard-fought stalemate in front of a Bank Holiday crowd of 1,095.

Joe Anderson twice headed off the line in the second half to deny Glenn Poole and Emeka Onwubiko and the draw keeps Hornchurch two points adrift of their rivals with three games remaining.

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The hosts saw Reiss Noel booked early on for a foul on Courtney White, while Billericay’s Jay May had his name taken for a challenge on Elliot Styles which some observers felt might have warranted a red card.

Chances were at a premium as the two sides fought for supremacy, but Jon Hunt’s 32nd-minute free-kick glanced off the head of Rickie Hayles and was saved low down by former Urchin Dale Brightly.

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Harrison Chatting sent a speculative half-volley wide from 20 yards before Blues skipper Rob Swaine clattered into Lewis Smith and was shown a yellow card.

Swaine had the ball in the net on the stroke of half-time, after meeting Glenn Poole’s inswinging free-kick, but it was rightly ruled out by referee Keith Yeo for a push.

Hornchurch enjoyed good spells of possession after the restart, but could not test Brightly.

May sidefooted a good chance wide at the other end, while White was left to rue an untimely bobble as he shot horribly wide.

Urchins went close on 77 minutes when Smith’s free-kick was spilled by Brightly, but Hayles could not turn the loose ball goalwards.

Joe Woolley then spilled a Dave Collis free-kick and Poole sent the ball back towards the net, for Anderson to nod behind.

Poole’s inswinging corner reached Onwubiko, but Anderson was on hand again to head clear despite the desperate claims of Billericay boss Craig Edwards.

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