Ryman Div One North
AFC Hornchurch 0, Thurrock 0
SATURDAY’S Ryman North derby between promotion-chasing sides ended in stalemate, with the second-placed certainly the happier of the two sides with the outcome.
Urchins’ Sam Mott was making his 100th appearance for Hornchurch, and this was probably one of the easiest afternoons he has had, as Nathan Cooper and Paul Goodacre were dominant in a defence which prevented Thurrock from managing a single shot on target.
Thurrock had the advantage of a strong downfield wind in the first half, as they kicked towards the windmill end of the ground, but the home goal was never under threat.
In a rare Thurrock attack Harry Agombar fired wide of the goal, although this turned out to be the closest Thurrock would get in the entire 90 minutes.
Hornchurch pressed forward, and when Junior Luke cut in from the left, Rhys Madden did well to keep the ball out of the net. Madden was in action a few minutes later, turning a shot from Eyong around the post.
Thurrock won two corners in succession as the half drew to a close, and that was the last time they got anywhere near to the home goal.
The second half saw Hornchurch win a series of corners, while a George Purcell free kick again cannoned back off the defensive wall. From one of the corner kicks, Dave Collis floated the ball over to the far post where Cooper’s header was blocked on the line.
Madden did well to save another Purcell free kick, which had eluded the defensive wall, and when Eyong ran through the middle and opened up the defence, his shot was touched onto the post by Madden, who was then beaten by a Luke header from Jed Chouman’s centre, only for the ball to go wide of the post.
Ricky Freeman replaced David Knight, but Hornchurch could not find a way past a packed Thurrock defence, which held firm when Luke made a penetrating run, before being crowded out before he could get in a shot at goal.