Leon leaves it late to save Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 17:30 19 November 2016

Hornchurch striker Leon McKenzie (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch striker Leon McKenzie (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Cheshunt 2 Hornchurch 2

Leon McKenzie’s last-minute goal saved Hornchurch from Ryman North defeat against Cheshunt at Theobalds Lane.

Striker McKenzie ended Urchins’ four-game wait for a goal in the first half, after 387 scoreless minutes, but the hosts hit back with two goals in six minutes to turn the match on its head.

The visitors were then reduced to 10 men with a quarter of an hour remaining as JJ Da Cruz was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but McKenzie salvaged a point with a stunning late effort.

Jed Chouman sent an early effort drifting wide during a fairly even opening quarter.

But Urchins ended their long wait for a goal on 27 minutes when Abs Seymour won possession and fed McKenzie, who slid the ball wide of home keeper Michael Gooch.

McKenzie had scored Hornchurch’s last goal, when completing a hat-trick in a 4-1 cup win at Enfield Town, before Jimmy McFarlane’s men went four matches without finding the net.

But their joy was shortlived as Cheshunt levelled straight from the restart, with the ball falling for Luke Milbourn to fire past Sam Mott, and the home side took the lead on 34 minutes when a free kick was headed in by Adam Bolle.

The visitors had a let-off when captain Elliot Styles produced a superb block to deny Cheshunt a third, before Ross Wall’s header forced a save from Gooch four minutes before the interval and Nathan Cooper nodded wide from Seymour’s cross in the last minute of the half.

McFarlane sent George Purcell on for Abs Thompson just three minutes into the second half, but Urchins were unable to profit from a free-kick soon after and then saw Cheshunt’s Billy Jones booked for time wasting on the hour.

The home side were awarded a penalty midway through the second half, but saw the spot-kick come back off a post and a relieved Hornchurch clear the loose ball.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men with 16 minutes remaining, though, as Da Cruz was given his marching orders for a second yellow card.

McFarlane sent the experienced Gary Cohen on for youngster Kenzer Lee with nine minutes to play, as Urchins looked to salvage something from the game, and they went close moments later, only to see Wall head a great chance wide of the target.

Chouman made way for Ayrton Coley in another attacking change by Hornchurch late on and Urchins got their reward with one minute of normal time left as McKenzie claimed his second goal of the game with a stunning long-range lob to save the day.

After four successive draws in the league, McFarlane’s men are back on the road on Tuesday when they travel to Thamesmead Town.

Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Da Cruz, Styles, Cooper, Chouman (Coley 85), Thompson (Purcell 48), Lee (Cohen 81), Wall, McKenzie, Seymour. Unused subs: Hussain, King.

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