AFC Hornchurch 2-1 Soham Town Rangers: ‘Blatant’ penalty turned down as Soham Town Rangers undone by deflections

Soham Town Rangers celebrate Craig Hammond's equaliser.

Soham Town Rangers celebrate Craig Hammond's equaliser. - Credit: Archant

Soham Town Rangers’ joint-manager Dave Theobald said that his players cannot be focussing on refereeing decisions after the Greens’ narrow 2-1 defeat to high-flying AFC Hornchurch.

The Greens boss believes his side should have had a “blatant” penalty after Salim Relizani was felled in the box in the second half, but says his players shouldn’t be hung up on the controversial decision.

Theobald said: “We thought it was a blatant penalty and it’s disappointing that the ref missed it but we can’t go on about the ref.”

Soham’s newest recruit Craig Hammond netted his first goal for the club with a sweetly-struck acrobatic volley, but deflected Hornchurch goals either side of Hammond’s leveller condemned the Greens to their sixteenth defeat of the season, in what was defender Jordan Gent’s 150th match for the club.

“It was a great goal,” said Theobald. “George [Darling] had a shot pushed away and Craig did what he does best to finish it.”

The Greens fell behind in the fourth minute through a deflected George Purcell free kick, before Hammond’s well-taken equaliser in the 33rd minute.

Hornchurch’s Junior Luke put the Urchins ahead in the second half with another deflected strike, before Soham’s penalty appeal fell on deaf ears when Relizani was hauled down in the box.

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Soham are now without a win in their last four games - with their last coming on Boxing Day - but player-manager Theobald isn’t concerned over his side’s recent dip in form.

He said: “The positive signs are there. Some of the performances have been great and the lads are all putting in shifts, so I’m not too worried.”

The Greens face another tough task on Saturday when they take on sixth-placed Brightlingsea Regent.

The Essex side will travel to Julius Martin Lane in search for their ninth game unbeaten, and Theobald knows his men will have their work cut out if they are going to take all three points.

“Brightlingsea are doing well,” he said. “They’ve had a few players coming in and we’re going to be set up for a tough game at home.”