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First-day stalemate for Romford and Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 18:36 13 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:37 13 August 2016

Nicholas Symons of Hornchurch tackles Jamie Dicks of Romford (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Nicholas Symons of Hornchurch tackles Jamie Dicks of Romford (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

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

Ryman North: Romford 0 Hornchurch 0

Ayrton Coley of Hornchurch and Tom Potter of Romford challenge for the ball (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Ayrton Coley of Hornchurch and Tom Potter of Romford challenge for the ball (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Derby rivals Romford and Hornchurch shared the points in a fiery goalless draw to start the new Ryman North season.

Boro had won both meetings between the clubs last season, before finishing down in 16th place, as Urchins missed out on promotion following defeat in the play-off final at Harlow.

This opening-day game started slowly as the both teams tried to feel their way into the game, but it wasn’t long until Hornchurch had their first chance of the afternoon as Romford struggled to deal with a long throw into their box, only for the ball to be cleared on the fourth attempt.

It was the Urchins who had the next chance when Ricky Freeman played a good ball through to George Purcell who was left one-on-one with keeper Richard Wray, only to be flagged offside.

James Morrish of Hornchurch clears with a header against Romford (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)James Morrish of Hornchurch clears with a header against Romford (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Five minutes later it was Hornchurch attacking again as a good cross came into the box and found James Morrish, who could only direct his header at Wray in the home goal.

Moments later the game threatened to boil over as Urchins defender Nathan Cooper – who joined them from Romford last season – collided with Wray, which saw a rush of players surrounding the injured keeper.

Boro then had their best chance of the half in the 40th minute as William Green ran clear from the visiting defence and managed to find some space in the box, but could only fire his shot over.

The second half started at a much quicker tempo than the first and Hornchurch had a great chance to take the lead just two minutes in.

George Purcell of Hornchurch has a shot saved by Romford's Richard Wray (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)George Purcell of Hornchurch has a shot saved by Romford's Richard Wray (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

A free-kick could only be cleared as far as Purcell, who hit the ball on the half volley and forced Wray into a good save.

Romford had to wait longer for their first chance of the half and it came in bizarre circumstances, as winger Ryan Mallet looped in a delicious cross which ended up dipping towards the goal of Hornchurch keeper Sam Mott, who could only tip it over uncomfortably.

From then on it was all Hornchurch and they had a great chance when new recruit Ayrton Coley latched on to some good passing to run free in the box and direct a shot towards the bottom of Wray’s goal, who was equal to it.

Urchins managed to put the ball in the back of the net on 77 minutes when a low cross into the box was turned in by a mixture of a Ricky Freeman leg and a Romford defender, however the ‘goal’ was ruled out for a foul on Wray.

It was then Boro who had the best chance of the game in the dying minutes, as Mott flapped at a free-kick and the ball fell kindly for defender Matt Toms, who was unable to head the ball into an empty net and win the game for his side.

Both teams will have to wait until Tuesday to try and earn their first wins of the season, as Romford travel to Waltham Abbey and Hornchurch host Haringey Borough at Bridge Avenue.

Romford: Wray, Boswell, Preston, Potter, Toms, Adebayo, Mallett, Dicks, Thomas (Bankole 77), McKenzie (Ogboin 87), Green (Taylor 83) Unused subs: Goldstone, Tubey.

Hornchurch: Mott, Chouman, Woodward, Styles (Da Cruz 53), Cooper, Morrish (Bentley 56), Coley (McKenzie 72), Lee, Freeman, Purcell, Symons. Unused subs: Collis, Knight.

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