Hornchurch hail head boy Tobi
PUBLISHED: 18:08 21 November 2015 | UPDATED: 18:08 21 November 2015
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Ryman North: Brightlingsea Regent 1 Hornchurch 1
Tobi Joseph’s injury-time goal earned Urchins a point at a chilly North Road.
Phil Kelly had put Regent, looking for their first successive win, ahead on 15 minutes and it looked like Jimmy McFarlane’s men were going to go away empty-handed on a frustrating day.
But Joseph got his head to a Joey May corner at a crowded far post and saw the ball go in off the underside of the crossbar to ensure a share of the spoils and a draw was a fair result, as both sides struggled to come to terms with the windy conditions.
The visitors began well, playing into the wind, with George Purcell clipping a 20-yard effort, but it took a good tackle from Paul Goodacre to deny Shamido Pedulu, before a strong run by Ricky Griggs set up a shooting chance for Luke Read, whose low drive was saved by Sam Mott on seven minutes.
Regent had penalty claims for handball waved away when Russell Malton’s shot was blocked, but the home side struck on the quarter-hour mark when Jed Chouman misjudged a long kick from keeper Ollie Bowles and Kelly sent his shot inside the far post.
Billy Coyne headed a dangerous looking cross from Pedulu behind moments later, before Purcell saw a full-blooded volley hit a defender and had penalty appeals ignored by referee Ian Gittins.
Joseph’s stooping header from Joey May’s ball into the box then bobbled wide on 23 minutes and a shot was deflected behind, after a driving run into the box, only for a goal kick to be awarded by Gittins.
Coyne then blazed over from 25 yards when another Purcell effort was blocked, after Elliot Styles and Joseph had nodded on Junior Luke’s long throw-in, but Urchins had a let-off on 32 minutes when Mott produced a good save to keep out a curling effort from Matt Cripps, which he only appeared to see at the last moment.
The visitors had other half-chances before the break, but David Knight and Joseph were denied in a goalmouth scramble, before Knight turned on the edge of the box but sent a right-footed shot over the crossbar.
Purcell then cut inside from the right after receiving May’s pass to shot beyond the far post, before Bowles was called into action on the stroke of half time to deny Alex Bentley at close range, after Knight had forced a mistake from Cripps.
Hornchurch had high hopes for the second half, with the strengthening wind at their backs, but Regent should have been 2-0 up on 51 minutes when Pedulu beat Mott on the edge of the box, only to fire wide of the near post with the goal at his mercy.
Styles and Kelly then clashed and had to be spoken to by the referee, before Regent centre-back Josh Gould – who won virtually every header that came his way – clipped a free-kick wide of Mott’s right hand post.
Hornchurch rallied, with Bentley having claims for handball waved away when his shot was deflected behind and Purcell lifting the ball over on the hour.
And Purcell saw a stinging free-kick pushed out by a diving Bowles on 65 minutes, before strike partner Knight’s shot on the turn was more comfortably saved by the home keeper.
Having already sent Charlie Dove on for Chouman on the hour mark, McFarlane threw Leon McKenzie into the mix in place on Knight and the big striker saw a shot on the turn saved by Bowles with eight minutes remaining.
Luke and Joseph then combined on the right flank, before the latter’s low cross was fired over by Purcell at the far post, and when Dove’s ball into the box was nodded down by Poku, but McKenzie saw his effort ricochet wide, it looked like being one of those days for the visitors.
Purcell had another shout for a penalty declined, when his cross appeared to hit a hand, and Styles was denied at the far post from a corner at the end of normal time.
Hornchurch frustrations grew when a Regent defender chested the ball off the line in stoppage time, but the visitors finally got their reward when May delivered another deep from the right and Joseph climbed highest in a crowd to claim his 15th goal of the campaign.
The point allowed Urchins to remain in second place due to their superior goal difference over Sudbury, but Cray’s 2-0 win over Cheshunt took them six points clear at the top of the table, albeit from three games more played.
McFarlane’s men return to Bridge Avenue on Tuesday to host Harlow Town, who were beaten 3-1 at Tilbury.
Hornchurch: Mott, Coyne (Poku 85), Luke, May, Chouman (Dove 60), Goodacre, Joseph, Styles, Knight (McKenzie 74), Purcell, Bentley. Unused subs: Collis, Thompson.
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