Hornchurch hopes raised
PUBLISHED: 08:50 02 February 2015 | UPDATED: 08:50 02 February 2015
Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 2 VCD Athletic 0
Hornchurch claimed a vital victory over fellow strugglers VCD Athletic to raise hopes of avoiding relegation at Bridge Avenue.
Urchins boss Jimmy McFarlane had called the ‘six-pointer’ his side’s biggest game of the season and two late goals from Danny Johnson and George Purcell enabled the home side to come out on top, after a superb display from visiting keeper Nick Blue.
Beaten only once in their last 10 home matches – in their most recent outing against Wingate – Urchins started brightly and saw Purcell flash a shot across the face of goal in the first minute.
But Sam Mott had to make a good save to deny Stephen Brown at the other end after he cut inside Chris Bourne to fire goalwards and VCD had penalty appeals for handball waved away when the ball hit Billy Roast.
Tobi Joseph headed a Kieran Bishop cross over on 20 minutes for Urchins and the hosts went close again five minutes later when Bourne’s free-kick was cleared to Thomas Gogo, who teed up Purcell for a shot that was well saved by Blue.
Junior Luke volleyed wide from the corner, but Mott was called upon again to tip Mikhail Kennedy’s free-kick over on 31 minutes.
Purcell was booked for diving six minutes before the break after going down under a challenge from Blue.
And after Bourne was shown also a yellow card, Purcell had another effort well saved just before the interval.
Purcell had another attempt scrambled off the line within a minute of the restart, but Mott had to turn Grant Basey’s free-kick past a post before Purcell saw a free-kick parried away by a diving Blue just before the hour.
Urchins boss McFarlane made a trio of changes in his search for a breakthrough, sending Johnson, Martin Tuohy and Joey May on for Joseph, Gogo and Luke respectively.
And Bishop saw a header well saved by Blue, before Purcell was denied by a stunning double save on 73 minutes.
Hornchurch had another opening with 12 minutes remaining, but Bishop scuffed his effort and it went begging.
However, after Tuohy had also gone close, Urchins finally got their noses in front on 86 minutes when May’s free-kick found fellow substitute Johnson and his header back across goal beat Blue to find the far corner of the net.
And, after Elliot Cox saw red for the visitors, Hornchurch made sure of the points in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Purcell rounded Blue to slot home.
Victory allowed Urchins to climb out of the bottom four, although Witham have three games in hand, and they turn their attention to the Essex Senior Cup and a quarter-final tie at Redbridge on Tuesday.
Hornchurch: Mott, Coyne, Bourne, Styles, Roast, Curley, Joseph (Johnson 58), Gogo (Tuohy 66), Bishop, Purcell, Luke (May 68). Unused subs: Homans, Nwachuku.
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