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Leaders strike late to hold Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 17:26 26 November 2016 | UPDATED: 17:26 26 November 2016

George Purcell smashes home a goal for Hornchurch against Maldon (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

George Purcell smashes home a goal for Hornchurch against Maldon (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Hornchurch 1 Maldon & Tiptree 1

Maldon clear a Hornchurch attack (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Maldon clear a Hornchurch attack (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch had to settle for a point against Ryman North leaders Maldon, who struck late at Bridge Avenue.

George Purcell netted his first goal since returning from a long injury lay-off to give Urchins hope of avenging an earlier 3-0 loss at Maldon.

But the visitors hit back five minutes from time through Rhys Henry to deny Jimmy McFarlane’s men victory, although Urchins did extend their unbeaten league run to eight matches.

Maldon had an early free-kick, following a foul by the returning Junoir Luke, and corner, but the home side defended both well.

Matt Lock of Maldon tries to escape Hornchurch's Kenzer Lee (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Matt Lock of Maldon tries to escape Hornchurch's Kenzer Lee (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Urchins were forced to replace the injured Elliot Styles with Jamie Hursit with only 12 minutes gone, before Purcell saw a dangerous cross cut out by the visiting defence.

The hosts had a good chance on 20 minutes when Ross Wall played in Kenzer Lee and his cross was headed over by Leon McKenzie.

But Maldon got a sight of Sam Mott’s goal seven minutes later when Tyler Brampton picked out Kyle Hammond, who shot just wide before Purcell went close at the other end.

The deadlock was broken on 33 minutes, though, when Abs Seymour’s corner was cleared to Hursit and he found Purcell out wide, before the club’s all-time record scorer cut inside and fired home his second goal of an injury-hit campaign, with his first having been against Thurrock in late August.

Abs Seymour of Hornchurch and Montel Agyermang of Maldon battle for the ball (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Abs Seymour of Hornchurch and Montel Agyermang of Maldon battle for the ball (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Mott saved well from Henry’s snap shot in first-half injury time, but McKenzie then crossed from the right for Purcell, who saw his volley fly wide.

Nathan Cooper made a good block to deny Maldon early in the second half, before picking up a yellow card on 52 minutes.

Play swung from end to end in the next few minutes, with Liam Nash firing over from a good position for Maldon on the hour mark as the visitors started to look more dangerous.

But Urchins had a chance on 65 minutes when a long throw-in by Luke was flicked on to Wall, who headed straight at Daniel Wilks, and McKenzie then saw a shot from distance blocked.

George Purcell (centre) celebrates with Hornchurch team-mates after scoring against Maldon (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)George Purcell (centre) celebrates with Hornchurch team-mates after scoring against Maldon (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Purcell made way for Thompson with 17 minutes remaining, with Maldon substitute Darren Mills firing just wide soon after.

And Hornchurch came agonisingly close to a second goal on 80 minutes when Wall teed up McKenzie, whose shot was tipped onto the bar by Wilks.

The hosts created another good chance to secure the points two minutes later when Thompson raced away and squared for McKenzie, but he shot straight at the keeper.

And Urchins were made to pay as Maldon drew level when Kieran Monlouis produced a strong run and saw his ball turned past Mott by Henry.

Thompson fired a shot across the face of Maldon’s goal after another good run, but then had his name taken along with Maldon’s Joe Claridge

And those bookings were the last notable action on the day as honours finished even, with Urchins now turning their attention to the visit of Bury Town to Bridge Avenue on Tuesday.

Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Luke, Styles (Hursit 12), Cooper, Chouman, Purcell (Thompson 73), Lee, McKenzie, Wall, Seymour. Unused subs: Hussain, Coley, Cohen.

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