Hornchurch extended their unbeaten run to 5 games with a hard fought draw at Dereham Town where Elliot Pride excelled in the host’s goal, saving twice from Brad Warner and a point blank save from Olu Oluwatimilehin.
DEREHAM TOWN 0 HORNCHURCH 0
DT – Pride, Castellan, Taylor, Burgers (Anema 81), Ebbage (Eastoe-Smith 67), Howell, Logan, Hinton ©, Crisp, Forshaw, Beaumont
Sub – Murphy
HFC – Mott, Bentley ©, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Oluwatimilehin, Fairweather-Johnson, Roberts, Assombalonga (McKenzie 72), Purcell (Joseph 87), Warner
Subs – Hursit, Livings, Styles
Officials – Hallam Cutmore with Daniel O’Sullivan and Paul McVey
Bookings – Warner 35 (H) – Crisp 53 (D) – Assombalonga 54 (H) – Oluwatimilehin 64 (H) – Eastoe-Smith 88 (D)
Duration 47.00 + 49.00
DEREHAM TOWN 0 HORNCHURCH 0
After three minutes George Purcell fired a free kick hard into the wall of defenders, and on ten minutes a Purcell cross found Brad Warner, who turned sharply around a defender, and his shot was deflected away for a corner.
Dereham had not offered any threat, but a minute later their right winger, seemingly in an offside position, was able to get in a shot that went wide of the far post.
On thirteen minutes Warner made a solo run through the middle, and Elliot Pride made a magnificent save, tipping the curling goal-bound shot over the bar.
Chris Assombalonga, making his debut, took full advantage when Pride and Oliver Ebbage collided as the ball was played in from the left, and the keeper dropped the ball, for Assombalonga to touch home, but the referee ruled out the goal and awarded a free kick to Dereham.
Dereham were forced to defend for lengthy periods, and apart from a corner that was comfortably cleared they rarely threatened.
On the half hour Purcell was fouled and Warner took the free kick, which rebounded to Olu Oluwatimilehin, and Pride did well to save with his feet.
Hornchurch had a scare when Stephen Taylor made ground on the left and sent in a good cross, which Ryan Crisp headed wide, and shortly afterwards Warner picked up the first yellow card of the match for dissent when a throw in was awarded to the home side.
On 40 minutes Warner crossed to Purcell, who chipped the ball back into the middle, and the Dereham defence cleared off the line.
As the half entered stoppage time, Assombalonga ran on to a long ball, eluded his marker but placed his shot too high and over the bar, and with the final kick of the half, Warner hit a free kick over the defensive wall but also over the bar.
It was a different story in the second half, as Dereham came more into the match, and when Sean Roberts conceded a free kick following a tackle on Crisp, Rhys Logan stepped up but although his shot cleared the wall, it went wide of the target. A minute later another attempt from a narrow angle went harmlessly into the side netting.
Assombalonga became the second Hornchurch player to go into the book, when he homed in onto a cross from the right, the reason for the yellow card not being immediately apparent.
Hornchurch had now stemmed the home threat and back at the other end Roberts sent a shot wide after he had ran on to a Warner cross.
A Warner corner was headed over, and a rapid run by Theo Fairweather-Johnson ended with another fine save by Pride, who turned the shot out for a corner. Warner sent the ball over and Purcell’s shot was deflected around the post for another corner, which was cleared.
Purcell hit another free kick into the wall, and then came the only Dereham shot on target, when, on 76 minutes, Rhys Logan sent the ball across to Jamie Forshaw, forcing Sam Mott into making his only save of the match.
Leon McKenzie, on for Assombalonga went close with a good run and shot, but with five minutes to go Dereham won three corners in succession, none of which troubled the Hornchurch defence, with Kenzer Lee and Nathan Cooper dealing with everything that came their way.
Tobi Joseph came on for Purcell, and within seconds he was flattened as he ran through. Brad Warner took the free kick, and Pride made yet another excellent save, and Dereham had held out to take a point.
Report by Tony Middleton