Bostik Premier: Brightlingsea Regent 1 Hornchurch 1
PUBLISHED: 16:56 27 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 27 August 2018
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Hornchurch extended their unbeaten start to the Bostik Premier Division season to five matches with a fourth successive draw as Brad Warner cancelled out an early goal from the hosts.
Only four minutes had been played when Regent opened the scoring, as Lewwis Spence lost possession midway in the home half and the hosts countered, with Billy Hunt spinning past Alex Bentley on the left to get to the byline and then pulling the ball back for Jake Turner to smash into the roof of the net.
But Hornchurch went close to levelling when Sean Marks glanced a header from Spence’s free-kick past the far post, then Warner’s cross from the left just evaded the diving Marks in the box and was volleyed clear by Matt Cripps.
George Purcell had shouts for a penalty turned down on 17 minutes after going down under the challenge of two defenders, before Warner was fouled by George Keys and tempers boiled over midway through the first half.
Keys was shown a yellow card for his initial challenge, but Warner’s free-kick was cleared after Jordan Clark had flicked it on in the box.
And Urchins were unable to profit seconds later when Josh Gould was caught out by Marks on the edge of the box and his lob cleared the onrushing James Bradbrook but hit the outside of the post.
Marks continued to be frustrated, despite winning his fair share of flick-ons, as Urchins found it hard to put pressure on the Regent defence.
But the visitors went close to levelling six minutes before the break when George Saunders played a tempting ball in from the right which Marks stabbed goalwards, only to see it blocked by Bradbrook and rebound off a Regent defender and go just past the far post.
And there was further frustration just before the interval when Purcell raced on to a pass from Saunders and cut inside Josh Gould, only to see his shot hit strike partner Marks in the back.
Marks was left incensed seconds later when Saunders escaped on the right and saw his deep cross played back into the box by Purcell, where the big striker was flagged offside.
Hornchurch were out first for the second half and had a sight of goal within 30 seconds of the restart as Purcell found space on the left and did well to get in a cross, but the header from a diving Marks lacked power and was comfortably smothered.
But they had a let-off when a corner from the left was flicked on by Terry Amass and rebounded over the crossbar off a teammate and Spence had his name taken for a foul on Clowsley on the halfway line.
Purcell produced a driving run up the left and into the box, but was denied a shooting chance by a timely tackle, before Connor Hogan sent a shot from just outside the box drifting wide.
And a promising counter-attack broke down when Saunders sprung Warner on the right, but his pass inside was beyond Hogan, allowing Regent to clear their lines.
Hunt dragged a left-footed shot into the side netting on 63 minutes, after Marks had been spoken to by the referee for questioning a decision that had gone against him at the other end, and Turner fired wide from a tight angle after Clowsley almost forced his way through the Urchins defence.
But the visitors were back on terms midway through the half when Purcell flicked the ball on and Warner converted at the far post to the delight of the travelling fans behind Bradbrook’s goal.
Warner was booked for a foul on Morgan, with both sides then making changes for the final quarter of an hour as Urchins sent Leon McKenzie on for Marks and, later, Theo Fairweather-Johnson for Saunders five minutes from time.
But neither side could find a winner, despite continuing to look for one, as honours finisheed deservedly even.
Regent: Bradbrook, Amass (Ager 74), Jake Gould, Morgan (Lewis 74), Josh Gould, Cripps, Keys, Turner, Hunt, Hood, Clowsley (Baxter 83).
Unused subs: Taylor, Dunningham.
Hornchurch: Chafer, Bentley, Porter, Clark, Cooper, Hogan, Warner, Spence, Marks (McKenzie 74), Purcell, Saunders (Fairweather-Johnson 85).
Unused subs: Hursit, Livings, Collis.