In a game of few chances it took an excellently worked set-piece to decide the outcome of this game as Nathan Cooper powered in Brad Warner’s 19th minute corner to ensure it was the Urchins who progressed to the next round of the FA Cup.

Sunday 03-September-2017 – FAC

RFC – Gooch, Ishmail (N. Reynolds 85), Atkinson, Cossington, Vickers, Dicks, McGeorge © (Giwa 60), Taylor, Clarks (Jeakins 73), Nzengo
Subs – Brown, Allen, Olukoga, S. Reynolds

HFC – Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Joseph (Fairweather-Johnson 73), Styles ©, Wall, Purcell (McKenzie 86), Warner
Subs – Tuohy, Hussain, Goodacre, Lambert, Roberts

Officials – Ryan Head with Matthew Ball and Kieran Haywood

Scorer – Cooper 19

Bookings – McGeorge 48 (RFC) – Nzengo 79 (RFC) – Styles 76 (H) – Dicks 87 (RFC)
Attendance 333
Duration 47.00 + 50.00


On a dull Sunday afternoon at Purfleet, the football sometimes matched the weather, with several players well below their normal form, and a headed goal by Nathan Cooper was the only reward for plenty of possession but few opportunities.

Little happened in the first few minutes, apart from a shot from George Purcell, following good work by Ross Wall and Brad Warner, but Michael Gooch saved comfortably.

Jay Porter opened up the home defence with two good runs, but the crosses into the middle came to nothing, with James Ishmail and Danny Cossington intercepting.

On 14 minutes Tobi Joseph played through to Purcell, who was brought down by Cossington, seemingly inside the area, but the free kick was given on the edge of the area. Purcell took the kick but guided it round both the defensive wall and the post.

Hornchurch took the lead on 19 minutes when Warner sent a corner over from the left and Nathan Cooper powered his header into the net for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.

Romford rarely threatened, apart from a Jamie Dicks free kick that sailed over, and a good run by Ishmail that ended with Porter tackling to concede a corner, which was punched away by Sam Mott.

Back at the other end, Wall fired wide from a narrow angle, and Purcell got onto the end of a long Mott clearance but his shot lacked its usual power and Gooch saved.

Dicks put a free kick straight at Mott, and Adam McGeorge was on the receiving end of a lengthy lecture after a foul on Porter that left him needing attention.

McGeorge got his name into the book three minutes after the interval after a late challenge on Elliot Styles, and Tom Vickers then conceded a free kick for pulling back Ross Wall, but Warner curled the free kick over the wall and also over the bar.

Dicks sent a free kick high over the bar, out of the ground and into the car park, whilst at the other end Gooch saved from Purcell; Warner went close with a volley, and Fairweather-Johnson, on in place of Joseph, almost scored from a very narrow angle, the ball narrowly clearing the bar.

Leon McKenzie came on for Purcell and almost immediately made his mark, winning the ball on the right and firing in a hard shot, which Gooch saved at the second attempt.

Gooch then saved a Warner free kick that looked a certain goal, tipping the ball around the post.

Romford’s best spell came in the five minutes added on for stoppages, when Gooch sent a long free kick into the goalmouth, the ball being turned out for a corner. Everyone came up for the corner and it was Cossington who got his head onto the ball, but directed it wide of the goal – and that was the final move of the match.

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