Hornchurch hopes hit

PUBLISHED: 17:27 07 March 2015 | UPDATED: 17:27 07 March 2015

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY

Ryman Premier: Witham 2 Hornchurch 1

Hornchurch’s battle to avoid the drop from the Ryman Premier Division suffered a blow with defeat at Spa Road.

Tom Wraight’s 86th-minute goal earned all three points for fellow strugglers Witham, who played the final 20 minutes with only 10 men after Paul King’s sending-off.

And defeat saw Urchins drop to 23rd place, four points adrift of safety and with only one game in hand on Witham.

The visitors had their first sight of goal on nine minutes when Joey May played the ball out wide to George Purcell, who fired over the crossbar.

And May had a chance of his own moments later, but was also off-target, shooting wide.

Witham got their noses in front on 16 minutes when a shot came back off a post and Danny Emmanuel tucked the rebound past Sam Mott.

And Elliot Styles had his name taken on 19 minutes for a foul on Lewis Godbold.

Urchins had a sighter on 36 minutes when a corner was cleared to Purcell, who sent his shot straight at the keeper.

And they made a bright start to the second half as Nmamdi Nwachuku’s shot was deflected behind for a corner in the first minute and Styles headed the corner wide.

Full-back Courtney Homans shot past the post after a good run on 49 minutes and manager Jimmy McFarlane sent Martin Tuohy and Junior Luke on for Kieran Bishop and Nwachuku in a bid to boost his attacking options for the final half hour.

Mott made a good save on 70 minutes to deny the hosts a decisive second, following a mistake by Chris Bourne, and it proved vital as Urchins won a penalty moments later.

Paul King was dismissed for Witham for a second bookable offence and Purcell converted from the spot to get the visitors back on level terms, with 17 minutes left to try and find a winner with the extra man.

Styles had a header, from a long throw-in, tipped over soon after, but Mott had to make another fine save to deny Witham and May headed a corner clear.

Urchins then had more chances of their own, with Purcell’s volley kept out by a fantastic save before Styles headed the corner just wide.

But Witham regained the lead four minutes from time when Wraight struck with an angled drive from a crossfield pass.

Tuohy was denied from a Homans cross on 88 minutes as Urchins looked desperately to salvage something from the match and Tuohy saw a header from the resulting corner saved.

And that was that as Urchins returned home empty-handed having fallen further behind their rivals at the wrong end of the table.

They welcome fierce rivals Canvey to Bridge Avenue on Tuesday.

Hornchurch: Mott, Homans, Bourne, Styles, Johnson, Curley, Joseph, May, Bishop (Tuohy 53), Purcell, Nwachuku (Luke 61). Unused subs: Gogo, Coyne, Roast.

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