March 11 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 24, 2014
McFarlane wants to keep pressure on promotion pack
Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane wants his side to put another run together in the Ryman Premier Division, having ended a three-game losing streak with victory over Enfield Town in midweek.
George Purcell struck twice in a 3-0 win, after Stefan Payne had opened the scoring at Bridge Avenue, to keep Urchins within touching distance of the promotion pack.
And they are set to travel to East Thurrock tomorrow (Saturday), before hosting struggling Cray on Tuesday looking to pick up more points.
McFarlane said: “If we take four points (out of those three defeats) then we would have been top.
“I know anyone can say it, but we lost three on the bounce and deserved something out of all three.
“Will we pay for that at the end of the season? Only time will tell we just need to put another run together now.”
Urchins went 15 games unbeaten earlier in the campaign and were clinical against George Borg’s Enfield side.
But success was not enough to lift them back into the play-off places, although they have a game in hand on most of their rivals.
McFarlane praised his strike pair and questioned how anyone could say they cannot play together.
He added: “The forwards were clinical. People keep telling me they can’t play together, but they both keep scoring so who would leave one of them out.
“People keep saying you’ve got to leave one of them out and play this person with them, but that is when they don’t score.
“George’s ball for Stefan’s goal was on a plate. They are proper players and they’ll always score a lot of goals.”
The visitors had the lion’s share of the ball on Tuesday but never looked particularly threatening, with Hornchurch’s defence proving solid.
And McFarlane was delighted to see his back four record a second consecutive clean sheet, following Essex Senior Cup success against Dagenham & Redbridge.
He added: “We started well and then got a bit sloppy, then got our noses in front and took our foot off a bit.
“They did have lots of possession, but they were never going to hurt us and played in front of us a lot.
“Elliot (Styles) has hit a bit of form and Rickie (Hayles) hasn’t put a foot wrong all season, he really hasn’t.
“Alex (Bentley) – his passing wasn’t the greatest, but the boy can defend and that is what he is there for first and foremost.
“I thought we upped it second half and it was quite comfortable in the end.”
East Thurrock’s pitch does not have the greatest reputation when it comes to postponements, but they surprised many by playing last weekend and McFarlane will not take them for granted.
He said: “It was close here in the FA Cup (a 1-1 draw), but more comfortable in the replay.
“It will be another tough game and I watched them Saturday when I was watching Enfield as well and we’ve just got to keep doing what we are doing.
“They lost Sam Higgins and Sam Collins, their two best players both went to Concord. You can replace a player, but to lose your two best it is hard to replace them.
“If we keep a clean sheet, we’ll win more games than most because we always look like we are going to score goals.”
Urchins had not problems finding the net at Cray earlier in the season, romping to a 6-1 success, but McFarlane says that will count for nothing now.
“We beat them at start of the season but they have bought in some decent players and Darren Behcet has gone there, he is a good goalie,” he said.
“It will be another typical Ryman Premier game.”