Blues knocked out by late goal
Emirates FA Challenge Cup 2nd Preliminary Round
Saturday 16th September 2017
Hertford Town 1(1) AFC Hornchurch 2(0)
A goal one minute from the end of normal time cruelly robbed the Blues of a replay that they had worked so hard to achieve. Had they achieved that replay they would have been the first team this season to deny AFC Hornchurch victory. And, had they not been forced to play the final 23 minutes with ten men, that might well have come out of the game as winners.
Faced with having to play the Bostik League North leaders only four days following a disappointing defeat at the hands of Waltham Abbey, the Blues knew that they would need to find a much improved performance against a team full of quality players, which had so far won all of its games this season. And they did! They produced a performance that left their high-flying visitors knowing that they had been in a game. Even with ten men they made light of their disadvantage and finished the game strongly with the Hornchurch management urging the referee to blow the final whistle.
The first half was a highly competitive and intense affair in which neither side was able to create any clear-cut chances. Despite this, the Blues went into the break a goal to the good by virtue of a 19th minuteTyler Hatherly penalty which had been awarded when a cross from Charlie Ruff had been handled in the box.
The Blues needed a strong start to the second half to keep up their pressure on the visitors but only four minutes into the half they suffered the setback of an equaliser. A free kick delivered beyond the far post was headed back across goal for the much-travelled Leon McKenzie to head home at the near post.
Undaunted by their lead being wiped out the Blues continued to stand toe-to-toe with their opponents but they were dealt a serious blow in the 67th minute, when their left-back, Tyler Hatherly, was shown a straight red card when he kicked out in retaliation after he had been fouled.
Reduced to ten men the Blues were now up against it and needing to shut up shop to ensure at least a replay. And it looked as if they have succeeded until George Purcell popped up with an excellent winning goal in the 89th minute.
The Blues pressed forward in search of a goal but try as they might, it wasn’t forthcoming. Even the dismissal of the scorer, Purcell, in the fourth minute of time-added-on, could help them prevent an exit from the world-famous competition.
Team:, Charlie Mann, Ollie Sharman, Tyler Hatherly, Matt Thomson, Michael Toner, Jason Beck, Ricky Light(Daniel Bond 89’), Charlie Edwards, Charlie Ruff(Jay Lovell 70’), Tommy Wade and Brett O’Connor
Subs not used: Jonah Evans, Davy Edmee, Ben Andreos, Joey O’Brien & Simon Dent.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley