For the 6th time in their last 9 league games the Urchins drew their fixture but had their chances in a first half they dominated with both McKenzie and Wall going close. The second half was more even, punctuated by a series of yellow cards, but neither side could break the deadlock.
DEREHAM TOWN 0 HORNCHURCH 0
DT – Viner, Constandachi, Grant (Ramm 39), Linford, Fryatt, Morphew ©, Logan, Hinton, Gatting, Sainsbury-Logan (Crisp 71), Beaumont
Sub – Eastoe-Smith
HFC – Mott, Bentley ©, Luke, Da Cruz, Cooper, Chouman, Purcell (Osman 86), McKenzie (Thompson 73), Lee, Wall, Seymour
Subs – Cohen, Coley, Hursitt
Officials – George Byrne with Ken Reeves and Andy Tyne
Bookings – Beaumont 48 (D) – Bentley 50 (H) – McKenzie 64 (H) – Lee 80 (H) – Chouman 82 (H) – Seymour 86 (H) OFF – Thompson 90+5 (H)
Duration 49.00 + 51.00
DEREHAM TOWN 0 HORNCHURCH 0
JJ Da Cruz came into the starting line up in place of the injured Elliot Styles, with the captaincy passing to Alex Bentley.
Hornchurch had plenty of opportunities to put the game beyond reach in a first half in which the home side were forced to defend for lengthy periods.
But the second half was dominated by a series of decisions which went against Hornchurch and which seemed to affect the morale of the team, as player after player went into the referee’s book, culminating in a highly disputed red card for Abs Seymour, which left manager Jim McFarlane understandably furious.
Hornchurch came forward from the start, and a Seymour run ended in a corner. Seymour floated the ball over, it came out to Jed Chouman and keeper William Viner did well to save the goal-bound shot.
It was Chouman again on three minutes when he crossed into the middle, and Leon McKenzie headed back to George Purcell, but his shot was wide of the target.
Alex Bentley sent a good cross over to Chouman, and again it was Viner who came to the rescue with a fine save.
On fifteen minutes Purcell fired a first time volley high and over the bar as the pressure mounted.
Purcell dropped back into midfield, where he slotted a good pass through to Ross Wall, who ran forward, but his shot was a fraction too high and over the bar.
Dereham had their first opportunity on the half hour when Daniel Beaumont’s first time shot went too high and over the bar.
A minute later William Sainsbury-Logan sent a shot wide of the goal when given a brief shooting chance.
At the other end a Seymour corner found McKenzie and his shot was cleared off the line.
Close to half time Hornchurch had a scare when a speculative shot from thirty yards dipped alarmingly and on to the bar, with Nathan Cooper quick to react and concede a corner.
Daniel Beaumont became the first player to go into the book shortly after the interval, when he appeared to dispute a decision, and Bentley became the first Hornchurch player to join him.
A good Bentley centre found McKenzie whose header beat Viner but drifted wide of the post, and a similar Bentley centre found Ross Wall, who put the ball into the side netting.
Dereham now began to press, with Vadim Constandachi prominent in many of their moves.
Joe Gatting put in a good shot from outside the area, and Sam Mott tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.
Abs Thompson came on for McKenzie, who had earlier been booked, and his presence gave the home side more than a few problems on the right flank.
Dereham, on a pitch that became increasingly slippery as the temperature dropped, looked dangerous, and a diving Mott turned a free kick around the post.
Hornchurch were clearly upset by a series of decisions which went against them, and Kenzer Lee and Chouman were booked in quick succession.
In between the stoppages, Wall made ground, crossed to Junior Luke, who touched back to Purcell, but his shot was again wide of the mark.
Then came a moment of total farce, when Abs Seymour was shown a straight red after colliding with a home player, to the anger of Jim McFarlane and the rest of the management team.
McFarlane immediately brought on Ben Osman, signed from Chipstead during the week, in place of Purcell, and Osman was quickly involved with two excellent tackles as Dereham piled forward.
Mott made two excellent saves inside a minute as the match moved into stoppage time.
In the final minute of stoppage time Junior Luke powered down the wing, and despite being pulled back three times by the same defender, he was able to slip the ball into the middle to Ross Wall, whose shot brought the save of the match from William Viner. We waited for the anticipated yellow, or possibly red, card, but no further action was taken.
And so the match ended goalless.