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Hornchurch held to draw by Tilbury

PUBLISHED: 21:42 26 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:01 27 January 2016

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane looks on (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane looks on (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

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

Ryman North: Hornchurch 0 Tilbury 0

George Purcell will have to wait to become all-time leading Hornchurch scorer after the Urchins played out a 0-0 draw at home to Tilbury.

The striker had been hoping to break Alan Noonan’s 38-year-old record with a goal against the Dockers.

But in difficult conditions at Bridge Avenue, neither side were able to find a way through with a points shared between the promotion rivals.

Home boss Jimmy McFarlane made just the one change from Saturday’s win over Soham Town Rangers.

Billy Coyne came into the side at right back with David Knight dropping to the bench, while skipper Elliot Style continued in central midfield.

Hornchurch were looking second best early on and would surely have fallen behind in the fifth minute had Kurt Smith’s connection been better when through one-on-one.

The Dockers attacker had been brilliantly played in by team mate Tony Martin, but Smith shanked his effort from the left side of the six-yard box hopelessly wide.

Both sides were struggling with the swirling wind at Bridge Avenue, but there was another let off for Hornchurch nine minutes later.

Tilbury midfielder Jack Carlile chipped a lovely ball towards the penalty spot, but Martin’s looping header went just over much to the relief of the Urchins defence.

Six minutes later and the home goal was under threat once more when a Junior Luke clearance only made it to the middle of the pitch 30 yards out.

The ball sat up invitingly for visiting full back Conor Mead to strike first time, forcing Sam Mott in the Hornchurch goal to tip the ball on to the bar and out for a corner.

Urchins cleared the set piece, but Tilbury kept their pressure up with Mott making a terrific double save after a goalmouth scramble less than a minute later.

It was one-way traffic and the onslaught on the home goal continued in the 26th minute when Emiel Aiken went clear for Tilbury.

His first effort was blocked brilliantly by Nathan Cooper, but Aiken failed to put the rebound away despite having an open goal to aim for.

The hosts were finally able to trouble the away defence in the 30th minute when they were awarded a free kick 20 yards out for a handball offence.

Purcell stepped up confidently to take the set piece and drilled his effort low and hard, only to see strike partner Leon McKenzie deflect it narrowly wide of the upright.

Hornchurch had a few more half chances before the break to open the scoring, but were unable to do so as both teams went in level.

Purcell went close to breaking the club scoring record in the 56th minute, but his effort from the edge of the area was deflected wide for a corner that was dealt with.

The Hornchurch striker continued to play on the shoulder on the defence looking for that elusive strike, but was flagged for offside on more than one occasion.

Mott was called upon to perfom heroics in the Hornchurch goal 17 minutes from time, producing a fingertip save to deny Martin with a close range header.

With 77 minutes gone, Hornchurch went closest to opening the scoring after a cracking delivery with his left foot from right winger Junior Luke.

Substitute David Knight jumped the highest in the box, but his header smacked against the bar before trickling wide.

There was late drama when Luke was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, but Hornchurch held firm to earn a point.

Hornchurch: Mott; Coyne, Cooper, Goodacre, Chouman; Luke, May, Styles, Bentley (Thompson 77); McKenzie (Knight 62), Purcell

Unused subs: Collis, Dove, Gayle

Tilbury: Bogard, Mead, Glozier, Smith, Nightingill, Game, Babalola, Carlile, Aiken (Elsom 87), Martin, Smith

Unused subs: Cook, Webb, Pooley, Jaggs

Referee: Aji Ajibola

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