Hornchurch have to settle for a point

PUBLISHED: 08:47 25 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:47 25 November 2015

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane shows his frustration (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane shows his frustration (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Ryman North: Hornchurch 0 Harlow 0

Hornchurch slipped to fourth in the Ryman North table after holding out for a point against Harlow Town at Bridge Avenue last night.

Urchins manager Jimmy McFarlane had acknowledged the “good Harlow side” in previewing the fixture and it definitely showed as the visitors took charge of an energetic opening.

The first chance of the match came when Mario Noto’s shot from outside the area looped limply wide of Sam Mott’s goal as players struggled to adjust to the slippery conditions.

Hornchurch, missing several of their regular first teamers, did create opportunities, particularly through George Purcell, who skilfully skipped by two defenders on the right flank, but then failed to test keeper Niklas Freund with the ball sailing high into the night sky.

Purcell was again in the action moments later as his cross found Tobi Joseph at the back post, but the danger was dealt with before the in-form striker was able to get his shot away.

Harlow’s best chance of the half came when Layne Eadie crossed to find Fabion Simms in space on the right edge of the six yard box.

Simms’ powerful low drive was deflected before being excellently turned around the near post by Mott, who would have seen it late.

Urchins began to apply some significant pressure before the break as Purcell and Joseph combined once again, but the latter was unable to direct his team-mate’s wicked cross on target.

A well-executed free-kick from the left-footed Purcell was then excellently saved by Freund, diving at full stretch to his left and ensuring the game remained goalless at half-time.

The second half began with Harlow very much on the front foot as Hornchurch were forced to manfully defend a string of crosses, none of which amounted to a shot on target.

The Urchins defence was beginning to look increasingly vulnerable, but the hosts were able to create a chance via Billy Coyne’s long throw which was headed forcefully wide by Joseph.

A lack of discipline from the Urchins saw them give away a number of free-kicks in dangerous areas, but Harlow’s poor execution meant they were unable to capitalise.

As in the first half, the home side began to create chances on the break with Purcell stepping inside a diving defender on the right of the penalty area before drilling his shot into the side netting with team-mates waiting to receive the ball in central positions.

Junior Luke then saw his shot whistle over the bar from 25 yards after Hornchurch regained possession on the halfway line.

The final moment of excitement came as a cleared corner fell to Alex Bentley on the edge of the area, but his shot, laced though it was, fizzed a yard wide of the post.

Hornchurch host Haringey Borough at the weekend when they will be looking to improve their form in front of goal as they try to make up lost ground in the title race.

Hornchurch: Mott, Coyne, Luke, May (Chouman 64), Cooper, Goodacre, Joseph, Styles, Poku (McKenzie 75), Purcell, Bentley. Unused subs: Dove, McKenzie, Knight, Thompson, Chouman.

Harlow: Freund, Glasgow, Eadie, West, Pope, Simms, Dadson, Holloway (Taylor-Crossdale 86), Read, Noto, Benjamin (Stamp 83). Unused subs: Small, Stamp, Taylor-Crossdale, Knight.

Referee: Ryan Whitaker.

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