Hornchurch earn draw at Cray after FA Trophy disappointment
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 January 2020
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Hornchurch dusted themselves down to earn a draw at Cray Wanderers in midweek after disappointingly crashing out of the FA Trophy to Aveley at the weekend.
The Urchins lost 2-1 to the Isthmian League North Millers in the last 32 of the Trophy at Bridge Avenue on Saturday before being held to a 1-1 draw at Cray in the Premier Division on Wednesday.
But manager Mark Stimson is still confused about the referee's decision to award Aveley a penalty in the ninth minute, which was slotted home by Shad Ngandu.
He said: "It was obviously disappointing to go out of the competition because, like I've always said, it's a fantastic competition.
"When you get to the last 32 it gets exciting, so I'm disappointed, but more frustrated we didn't play like we have done in the previous 18 odd games leading up to it.
"I always, especially in cup games, feel you need a bit of luck and the first goal for Aveley wasn't so much luck, it was just an awful decision by the referee to give a penalty.
"After watching it on the video as well, I still can't believe he gave it, but he did and we got back into the game by making it 1-1 just before half-time.
"Unfortunately we had a man sent off after 50 minutes and then we give them a second goal through a free header in our box, which was frustrating.
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"We huffed and puffed, but couldn't get that equaliser."
The boss was pleased to grab a point in the league and heaped praise on the way their opponents play football.
"We had to get ourselves adjusted straight away to go to Cray who, on the astro-turf, are like Worthing a fantastic footballing team.
"I said at the time when we beat Worthing, they're the best side we've played and at the moment they're sitting top of the league and Cray are not far off it to be fair.
"The type of football they play is nice on the eye, we had to go there and do a job, but we should have been out of sight by half-time.
"Their goalkeeper made good saves, we had two cleared off the line, and of course we scored one so it was a fantastic first-half performance.
"Second half George Saunders has gone through one-on-one, chipped the goalie, it's hit the bar and come out.
"They go down the other end and hit a worldy from 25 yards out into the top corner.
"Overall to go away to one of the teams around you in the league, get a point and be dominant in the game, I was pleased with that."