Football: Grays Ath graft for vital point at Hornchurch

AFC Hornchurch 2 vs 2 Grays Athletic Match Report

GRAYS travelled to league leaders AFC Hornchurch whose perfect seven game winning streak was tarnished by the resilient Blues. Grays enjoyed a period of possession which resulted in an excellent chance as the dominant Ade Cole crossed invitingly for Kieran Bishop who could only steer his glancing header marginally wide of the post. Just minutes after,

Grays took the lead which they thoroughly deserved. After Cole was fouled around 22 yards out, the ever-present Blues left back, Sam Cross, curled a beautifully struck free kick over the wall and into the despairing Sam Mott’s top left postage stamp.

The Urchins had clearly received a strong message from manager, Jimmy McFarlane, at the break as they come out for the second 45 minutes the better side. Despite Athletic’s resistance, Hornchuch did equalise just before the hour mark after an in-swinging cross from Porter was met by the head of former Blues striker, Leon McKenzie. His unchallenged header from 10 yards hit the inside of the post and found its way into Lamar Johnson’s goal.

With just a quarter of an hour to be played, Hornchurch took the lead for the first time. A long free kick from goalkeeper Sam Mott was headed on in the midfield, splitting the two Grays centre halves and falling to striker Theo Fairweather-Johnson. The substitute found himself through one-on-one and slotted a neat finish past Johnson and into the bottom right corner.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, a foul was committed on Cole around 25 yards out on the left of the pitch. Substitute, 16 year old Callum Thompson, delivered a glorious ball towards the back post where Jack Fowler rose above his marker and fired a towering header across the keeper and into the bottom right corner.

Consequently, a gripping final 10 minutes were to follow. Grays had possibly the best chance to pull off what would’ve been the biggest shock of the season so far. A break at pace from a corner found Kai Brown and Bishop running at just two Urchins defenders. After a neat one-two, Brown found himself in space just 12 yards out but could only fire over the bar. A final chance for Hornchurch saw substitute Matthias Fanimo, cutting in from his left wing position and firing a fierce right-footed shot which Johnson saved stunningly, denying Hornchurch the three points.

Ultimately, the referee’s whistle signalled the end to a thrilling game in which the all-round high quality team performance of Grays Ath earned a thoroughly deserved point away from home.

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