Hornchurch relinquished their 100% league record at the hands of Grays Athletic but both sides will be happy with a point as first Grays, then Hornchurch had opportunities to claim all 3.
HORNCHURCH 2 GRAYS ATHLETIC 2
HFC – Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Roberts (Fanimo 55), Styles ©, Chouman, McKenzie, Wall, Warner (Fairweather-Johnson 65)
Subs – Kamara – Tuohy – Lambert
GA – Johnson ©, Mahal, Cross, Fowler, Dunn, Muguo, Brown, Cole, Bishop, Suhdu (Slabber 76), Carlos (Thompson 65)
Subs – Howett – Cogan – Gogo-Ibiama
Officials – George Warren with Bogdan Caraghin and Paul Greenfield
Scorers – Cross 37 (G) – McKenzie 59 (H) – Fairweather-Johnson 76 (H) – Fowler 79 (G)
Booking – Bishop 45+2 (G)
Duratin 51.00 + 49.00
HORNCHURCH 2 GRAYS ATHLETIC 2
After a poor first half performance, with Grays taking the lead from a free kick, Hornchurch came back to lead with fifteen minutes to go, only for poor defending to allow Grays to grab an equaliser, in a match that could have gone either way.
The first half started slowly, with defences on top. A Grays attack looked dangerous, but the ball was sent across the face of the goal with no one able to get a touch. At the other end, Leon McKenzie created an opening for Jed Chouman, but his shot was high and over the bar.
Both Jamie Hursit and Nathan Cooper made timely interceptions as Grays began to force the pace, but the only direct shot on goal came from Adeyinka Cole, but straight at Sam Mott.
A Jay Porter Cross caused some confusion in the Grays defence, before the ball was headed away for a corner, which was cleared comfortably, and a long kick from Mott was flicked on for McKenzie, but keeper Lamar Johnson came out quickly to win the race for the ball.
Hornchurch fell behind on 35 minutes to a poorly defended free kick. Sean Roberts was penalised for a tackle on Adeyinka Cole, and, Sam Cross sent a left-footed shot into the net.
A McKenzie header, from a Porter cross, went wide of the post as the match moved into stoppage time, in the second minute of which Kieran Bishop was booked for a foul on Cooper.
With the final move of the half, Mott saved from Joao Carlos.
Hornchurch came out with more determination for the second half, and on 50 minutes Johnson saved well from Warner.
Matthias Fanimo replaced Sean Roberts on 55 minutes, and three minutes later his speed along the left led to a throw in, from which the ball went to Porter, and his cross towards the far post found Leon McKenzie ideally placed to glide his header home.
Two minutes later, Chouman crossed into the goalmouth, only for Johnson to make a fine save from Ross Wall.
Theo Fairweather-Johnson replaced Brad Warner, and three minutes later a free kick was flicked on, Fairweather-Johnson ran forward and fired the ball hard into the net.
Grays were awarded a free kick just outside the area, similar to the one that had led to their goal. Cross lurked, but it was Cole who stepped up, only to send his shot high and over the bar.
Grays drew level on 79 minutes, when Jack Fowler, unmarked at the far post, headed home from a Callum Thompson free kick.
Johnson saved well from Fanimo five minutes from time, and the remainder of the match, including the four minutes of stoppages, was played out with neither team able to create any scoring opportunities.