Purcell pinches late Hornchurch point
PUBLISHED: 19:36 06 April 2015 | UPDATED: 19:36 06 April 2015
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Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 2 Billericay 2
George Purcell’s last-minute strike earned Hornchurch a derby point against Billericay at Bridge Avenue.
But time is running out for Jimmy McFarlane’s men in their battle against relegation from the Ryman Premier Division, with Urchins now eight points adrift of safety with only four games remaining.
Beaten 4-0 at fellow strugglers Tonbridge only 48 hours earlier, Hornchurch welcomed a mid-table Billericay side with faint hopes of a play-off place.
And they had a let-off on four minutes when Ricky Sappleton forced a save from Sam Mott, before Junior Luke cleared a follow-up attempt off the line.
Purcell had a speculative effort saved by Rob Kitteridge on eight minutes, after a flick-on by Martin Tuohy, and then saw another effort cleared off the line on the quarter-hour mark.
Mott held onto Cyrus Mahler’s free-kick before Tuohy volleyed over from a Tobi Joseph flick on 27 minutes.
And the home side made the breakthrough moments later as Joseph rose highest to head home from a Joey May corner.
Great work by Tuohy saw him cross for a diving Purcell to head just wide before Blues got back on terms on 32 minutes when Mahler nodded in a corner at the near post.
Both sides had early sighters in the second half as Sappleton’s shot was deflected behind for the visitors and Purcell volleyed past the post at the other end.
Young defender Billy Roast saw an acrobatic effort clear the crossbar before the hour, before Tuohy forced Kitteridge into action.
But Urchins fell behind on 72 minutes when Shameek Farrell fired home a shot on the turn in the box and it looked like they would fall to another defeat, with Mott denying Jack Edwards a possible third Billericay goal as normal time drew to a close.
The home side were given a late, late chance to salvage something, though, when they were awarded a free-kick and Purcell stepped up to drill it home.
Whether it will be enough to help Urchins survive will be seen over the next week or so.
Hornchurch: Mott, Woodards, Luke, Styles, Roast, Curley, Joseph, Johnson (Beckles-Richards 74), Tuohy (Bishop 85), Purcell, May. Unused subs: Gogo, Homans, Chafer.
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