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Urchins' FA Trophy campaign comes to disappointing end

PUBLISHED: 11:30 11 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 November 2018

Billy Hunt of Brightlingsea Regent celebrates with his team mates after scoring the winning goal against Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Billy Hunt of Brightlingsea Regent celebrates with his team mates after scoring the winning goal against Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

FA Trophy second qualifying round: Brightlingsea Regent 2 Hornchurch 1

Leon McKenzie, of Hornchurch, scores the first goal for his team against Brightlingsea Regent and celebrates (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).Leon McKenzie, of Hornchurch, scores the first goal for his team against Brightlingsea Regent and celebrates (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Hornchurch saw their hopes of a long FA Trophy run end following a frustrating 2-1 loss away to Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday.

The two Bostik Premier rivals would have fancied their chances of progressing into the third qualifying round and a close encounter occurred, but it was the hosts who claimed the win and £4,000 in prize money thanks to Billy Hunt’s brace.

Brightlingsea officials commented after the match on the large and enthusiastic Hornchurch following, most of whom were still in the process of changing ends when a long somewhat optimistic lob from Billy Hunt sailed out of the sun, over Callum Chafer, and into the net for the opening goal of the game - not the ideal start to a cup match.

Not a great deal happened for the next half hour, apart from two free kicks, one by Ricky Griggs, the other by Josh Gould, both of which were headed away, and a yellow card for Leon McKenzie on 22 minutes.

Hornchurch came more into the game as an attacking force, and Brad Warner made a good run in from the right, his shot going our for a corner. George Saunders swung the ball over into the goalmouth and Leon McKenzie headed home for the equalizer, on 31 minutes.

Saunders twice made good runs along the right wing, but on both occasions his cross was out of the reach of the Hornchurch forwards.

On 36 minutes Saunders was again at full speed, only to be half tripped by Jake Gould, just outside the area. Referee Elliott Kaye, who also took charge of the pre-season match at Canvey, allowed play to continue as Hornchurch still had the ball, but the chance was lost and nothing came of the move, apart from a belated booking for Jake Gould.

As stoppage time approached, a Warner free kick appeared to have crossed the line, with several players in close attendance. The whistle went and, after thirty seconds of confusion, Lewwis Spence was shown a yellow card and a free kick awarded.

A minute later a frustrated George Purcell became the third Hornchurch player to go into the book.

Three minutes into the second half Jay Porter surged down the left, and Leon McKenzie’s header came back off the post.

Ten minutes later, with Hornchurch now pressing hard, a McKenzie shot went wide, although Chafer was called into action at the other end on the hour to save from Hunt.

Back at the Brightlingsea end, where much of the action now took place, a Warner corner found Kenzer Lee, but his header went over the bar. Another Warner corner reached Alex Bentley whose shot narrowly missed the target.

A Porter cross from the left found Spence, with James Bradbrook saving, and two minutes later a Saunders cross from the left found McKenzie, whose shot was off target.

With seven minutes remaining, a free kick on the left was sent towards the far post, the defence failed to deal with the ball, and it ended up in the net, with Billy Hunt being credited with getting the final touch.

Theo Fairweather-Johnson and Nana Boakye-Yiadom came on, for McKenzie and Purcell, with just four minutes remaining. The four minutes became nine, with five minutes of stoppage time, during which the home goal came under constant pressure, and the match ended with every player inside the home half, but with the ball still not going into the net.

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