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Hornchurch bounce back to beat Abbotts

PUBLISHED: 20:11 19 December 2015 | UPDATED: 20:11 19 December 2015

Hornchurch striker George Purcell celebrates (pic: George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch striker George Purcell celebrates (pic: George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 8450 946026

Ryman North: Hornchurch 2 Waltham Abbey 0

Hornchurch moved back up to third place in the Ryman North table with a comfortable victory over relegation contenders Waltham Abbey at Bridge Avenue.

Second-half goals from George Purcell and Elliot Styles proved enough to seal all three points for the Urchins, who were looking to bounce back from their shock 1-0 defeat at bottom club Heybridge Swifts in their previous fixture.

An energetic start saw Hornchurch dominate the play but unable to create any clear-cut chances with much of the danger capably dealt with by the focused Abbey backline.

The first shot came after 15 minutes as David Knight’s effort from outside the area flashed harmlessly wide, signalling that Urchins might be in for a more difficult afternoon than they hoped.

Abbey, however, were equally frustrated with their attacking duo of Christian Assombalonga and Yemi Adelani incapable of exposing Hornchurch’s high line whenever the ball was cleared, resulting in yet further attacks for the home side.

Urchins’ best effort of the half came shortly before the 30-minute mark when captain Styles rose to meet Joey May’s corner only to see his glancing header ricochet off the crossbar.

Leon McKenzie had the ball in the net minutes later when a smart header from Knight put the striker in behind the visitor’s defence, but the flag was quickly raised for offside.

The visitors engineered their first shot on target when Assombalonga broke through and forced a reaction save from the Sam Mott who had been asked few question up to that stage.

A tame first half ended with away keeper Aaron Omand needing to make an acrobatic save as a header from Nathan Cooper, a former Romford player like himself, from a May free-kick looked to be looping under the bar.

The home fans did not have to wait long after the restart for the first goal of the game as the ball found its way fortuitously to Purcell inside the area and the striker was dragged down by Matt Attard before he could pull the trigger.

The Abbey defender was the last man and received a yellow card which might even have been red.

Purcell made no mistake with the subsequent spot-kick which curled accurately beyond the keeper’s grasp to give Hornchurch a deserved lead just three minutes into the second half.

Bookings for May and Knight followed the goal as Urchins pressed for the decisive second, with Abbey again unable to get the ball out of their half for any sustained period.

And Urchins doubled their lead on 62 minutes when a May free-kick was allowed to bounce just outside the six-yard box before Styles gathered and drilled his shot into the roof of the net, leaving little prospect of a revival for the visitors.

Abbey did begin to offer more of an attacking threat as Mott saved a bending shot by Ryan Blackman from 20 yards out before the midfielder found himself with a free header inside the box minutes later, but his effort drifted well wide.

Ultimately, the away side’s lack of any potency in the final third tainted what had been an otherwise commendable display.

Jimmy McFarlane’s team now travel to Thamesmead Town on Monday for their final game before Christmas.

Hornchurch: Mott, Coyne, Bentley, May, Cooper, Goodacre, Knight (Chouman 82) Styles, McKenzie (Thompson 77), Purcell, Luke (Poku 80). Unused subs: Collis, Dove.

Waltham Abbey: Omand, Attard, Joynes, Robbins (Jones 74), Johnson, Daniel (Olukayode 80), Russell, Blackman, Assombalonga (Wood 79), Adelani, Flack. Unused subs: Daveney, Page.

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