Purcell penalty pinches points for Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 09:55 15 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:39 16 March 2015
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Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 1 Dulwich Hamlet 0
George Purcell’s second-half penalty was just enough to give Hornchurch victory and climb out of the Ryman Premier Division relegation zone, after an evenly matched game with Dulwich Hamlet.
But the clash was marred by ugly scenes, after Urchins captain Elliot Styles was on the end of a nasty challenge late in the second half which saw him receive lengthy treatment.
Hamlet’s Shaun McCoulsky was shown a straight red for the tackle and Dulwich manager Gavin Rose, his assistant and an unused substitute, were also sent from the dugout for their angry reactions towards the referee and his assistants.
Ultimately it was a day of celebration for Hornchurch and Styles, who made his 400th appearance for the club as they collected their second home win and clean sheet of the week.
Joey May was also congratulated before kick-off for making his 100th appearance for Hornchurch.
But the first half began slowly, with Dulwich seeing more of the ball, although neither team had any clear opportunities as both teams defended strongly.
In the 35th minute, some good passing in midfield from Dulwich allowed Jordan Hibbert to fizz a shot wide from long range.
And that effort seemed to spark some energy into the Urchins, as Purcell hit a low shot towards goal from 25 yards that forced a good save from Phill Wilson.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, a long throw-in was dropped by Wilson and fell to on-loan striker Reece Beckles-Richards, who fired over from 12 yards.
Dulwich stepped up their attacking intent at the beginning of the second half and a long-range effort by Albert Jarrett was parried into the air by Sam Mott.
The Hornchurch keeper was beaten to the rebound by McCoulsky, whose follow-up effort hit the bar from just two yards out.
The decisive moment came in the 70th minute, when Tobi Joseph was fouled as he dribbled in and around the box, looking for an opening to shoot.
Hornchurch were awarded the penalty and Purcell calmly converted the spot-kick by sending the keeper the wrong way.
The end of the match was played cautiously as tempers flared and Hornchurch had to withstand late pressure from 10-man Dulwich.
But Jimmy McFarlane’s men were able to hold onto their lead until the final whistle and welcome Lewes to Bridge Avenue on Tuesday, looking to record their third home win in a row.
Horchchurch: Mott, Luke, Coyne, Styles, Roast, Curley, May, Johnson, Joseph (Bourne 90+5), Purcell (Nwachuku 90+8), Beckles-Richards (Tuohy 87).
Unused Subs: Homans, Bishop.
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