Late heartbreak against the league leaders
Planters resilient display counts for nothing
AFC Hornchurch 1 Norwich United 0
Bostik League North Division
The Planters seven game unbeaten run came to an end despite an excellent resilient display against the league leaders AFC Hornchurch. An excellent late strike from George Purcell meant the superb effort counted for nothing. The Planters had defended resolutely and threatened to strike on the counter before the AFC Hornchurch striker hit his 88th minute shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
In a game of few clear cut chances the Urchins pressed from the off and two dangerous crosses came to nothing, however it was the Planters who forced the first save Adam Hipperson’s shot well saved low down by the Urchins keeper Sam Mott.
A free kick from deep was headed over by the Urchins Kenzer Lee and Andy Eastaugh did well to cut out Purcell’s cutback after he had raced to the left hand byline.
The Planters were always a threat on the break and Sam Applegate did well to evade a challenge before slipping in Nathan Stewart whose shot on the run went wide.
A Purcell shot from the edge of the area lacked power and was easily held by Andy Wilton and Eastaugh blocked a Brad Warner shot at the expense of a corner. From the flag kick the ball was half cleared to Olumide Oluwatimilehin who shot across goal and wide of the far post.
The hosts were certainly piling on the pressure and Nathan Cooper came the closest to opening the scoring when from a left wing corner he hit his header against Wilton’s right-hand upright.
Wilton had to force Warner wide and the Urchin was then crowded out with Wilton eventually able to gather the ball. Moments later Wilton comfortably held another Purcell shot.
It was the Planters who had the ball in the net just before the break however, when Liam Jackson converted Hipperson’s cross but the linesman’s flag was already up for offside.
Nathan Livings had the first shot of the second half but his effort from long range trickled wide.
With the hosts pushing up the Planters started to catch their hosts on the break and Nathan Stewart picked up a ball wide on the left slipped between two defenders before curling his shot narrowly over the bar.
Warner latched onto a long ball and a lucky richochet put him clear but Wilton did well to cover.
Stewart this time on the right jinked into the area and to the byline but hit his shot into the side netting.
The very next attack saw the ball break to Applegate who curled a shot against the far upright with Mott rooted to the spot.
The Urchins realising the danger stopped pushing so many forward and chances at either end dried up or were restricted to long distance efforts.
Just as it seemed the game would end goalless Purcell carried the ball forward before hitting the ball past Wilton and into the top corner to break the Planters hearts after an excellent display.
AFC Hornchurch: Mott, Hursit, Porter, Lee, Cooper, Oluwatimilehin (Styles 63), Livings, Roberts, Fairweather-Johnson (McKenzie 85), Purcell, Warner (Joseph 68). Unused subs: Bentley, Assombalonga.
Planters: Wilton, Probert (Hitch 81), Applegate, Wones, Eastaugh (Carroll 90), Watts, Jones, Pollock, Jackson, Stewart, Hipperson. Unused subs: Mackie, Datocampol.
Referee: Chris Bodell. Assistants: Micheal Heavey & Martin Cannon.