Smith saves point for Hornchurch
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Hornchurch 1 Tonbridge 1
Lewis Smith struck 14 minutes from time, on his return to the starting line-up, to save Hornchurch from defeat against Conference South rivals Tonbridge Angels.
And the share of the spoils rewarded Urchins fans for their sterling work in making sure the match went ahead.
The point was well deserved for a much-improved second-half performance by the relegation-threatened Urchins, as had been the case in their 2-2 draw with leaders Salisbury two weeks ago.
And although they have gone four games without a win, Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane will look to build on the improved second period which left his side in 16th place.
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Hornchurch supporters had been out in force in midweek and on the morning of the match to clear snow off the pitch after the poor recent weather.
And McFarlane made two changes from the previous game as James Love replaced Ronnie Fletcher and Smith came in for Wayne Gray.
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But the fans were treated to a wretched first-half display by the Urchins, who failed to bring a meaningful save out of Tonbridge keeper Lee Worgan.
The visitors came closest to taking the lead, when right-back Sonny Miles showed a defender’s touch by firing wastefully over the crossbar.
And Ollie Schulz clipped the bar for the visitors just after the break, before Urchins improved.
The hosts wasted a host of presentable chances after the interval, however.
Captain Frankie Curley somehow missed from a matter with yards with the goal at his mercy and Love’s cross hit the bar after deceiving Worgan.
Tonbridge striker Frannie Collin had scored what looked like being the winning goal just after the hour mark, prodding in from underneath the crossbar after Gary Elphick flicked on Lee Browning’s corner.
But Smith, who missed he game with Salisbury through injury, tapped in from six yards from a Martin Tuohy cross after his strike partner had broken clear on the left.
After Smith scored Tuohy, who had scored five goals in his previous two appearances, and substitute Leon McKenzie were both denied by point blank saves from Worgan.
But over the course of the 90 minutes a draw was the right result as Hornchurch managed, at least, to avoid slipping into the drop zone.
Hornchurch: Woolley, Love, Bentley, Tomlinson, Goodacre, Noel, May (McKenzie), Curley, Tuohy (Gray), Smith, Spencer.