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McFarlane expects Boxing Day battle

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane and assistant Grant Gordon (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane and assistant Grant Gordon (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
5:00 PM

Hornchurch set to host Essex rivals Billericay

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Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane expects a typical Essex derby against Billericay on Boxing Day (1pm) – if the Ryman Premier Division fixture beats the wintry weather.

Urchins saw their trip to Lewes washed out last weekend and dropped to third place in the table as title rivals Wealdstone and Kingstonian both played and won.

Heavy rain at the start of the week will have put more pressure on pitches across the county, with Hornchurch’s Bridge Avenue base far from the best when it comes to drainage.

But McFarlane is still looking forward to any potential action and said: “It’s the type of game I used to look forward to as a player and that doesn’t change now I am a manager. You spend Christmas Day looking forward to games like this.

“Form goes out of the window in derby matches and it will be no different against Billericay. Derbies means so much to everyone associated with clubs.”

Honours finished even when the two sides met on August Bank Holiday Monday at New Lodge, after a typically feisty 2-2 draw.

Ricky Sappleton put Blues ahead, but was sent off before half time for two bookable offences.

Javlon Campbell doubled Billericay’s lead after the restart, but George Purcell pulled one back with a fine volley and levelled in equally stunning fashion a minute later.

The draw extended Hornchurch’s unbeaten run at that early stage of the season to five games and they would go 10 more matches before finally tasting defeat again.

As it happens, the reverse came in the league cup against Billericay as an understrength side slumped to a 7-2 loss ahead of a big FA Cup tie against Wealdstone.

McFarlane added: “Craig (Edwards) said to me once he knew my team better than he knew mine, we’ve played each other so many times over the years.

“It is always a tight game with normally one goal separating us.”

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