Bostik North: First promotion and then the title is secured by Hornchurch in great week for Jimmy McFarlane’s team
PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 April 2018
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Our first target was achieved at Witham Town - automatic promotion. Our main target had to wait until Nathan Cooper scored against Mildenhall Town - champions.
Brad Warner added another goal, and we could all relax. Perhaps a little too much, as we could not add to our already impressive goals tally.
The celebrations started on the East Side long before the end, and we were treated to a Dave Collis sprint from the dugouts to the other side of the pitch at the end, to join the rest of the team.
With three matches left, we have two more targets, and three games left to get them - one hundred points, and one hundred goals.
We are on 98 points so the first target is within range, We have 92 goals, so we have still a little way to go. We have amassed fifty points at home, and forty eight points away from home. We have scored 38 goals at home, and 54 away from home.
Our final home match of the season is this Friday, against Aveley, kick off at 7.45pm. We confidently expect to get our best crowd of the season for this one.
When we played Brentwood a couple of weeks ago, it was the first time ever that we have played away against three different teams on the same ground, namely Aveley, whose new ground just off the Aveley By-Pass has been home to Grays Athletic, Wadham Lodge, Brentwood Town and Billericay Town this season.
We began our away programme at Aveley, against their tenants, Grays Athletic, wondering whether this would be our season to win promotion, and we end our home programme against Aveley, safe in the knowledge that we have won promotion.
We have also used Aveley FC for home matches - in September 2001 we had to switch our home match against Rothwell Town to their old ground, as our own pitch was waterlogged, and again in 2014 we played Maidstone Utd at Aveley, when we were waiting for our new floodlights to be ready for use.
We have had 230 players who have represented both ourselves and Aveley, three of whom could be playing against us on Friday, namely Rhys Madden, Chris Bourne and Connor Witherspoon, plus Ben Sampayo, who played one match for us pre-season at Hullbridge.
We have already played the Millers in the league cup here at Bridge Avenue, winning 5-1 with our goals coming from Martin Tuohy, Matt Fanimo, Theo Fairweather-Johnson and two from George Purcell. We won 2-0 at Aveley in January, with Matt and Theo again finding the net.
Last Saturday at Witham we once again hit six goals, and this is the fourth time we have scored six this season, all of them away from home.
Witham had two opportunities to get back into the game, the first being when they pulled a goal back, but their revival only lasted a minute, as we went straight down to the other end, and George Purcell restored our two goal lead with a penalty.
Witham again had an opportunity to come back with a penalty of their own, which could have made the score 2-3, but Sam Mott pulled off a remarkable diving save, and sixty seconds later we went back to the other end and Alex Bentley scored to make it 1-4. After that it was a question of how many we could get.
Once again this season we were able to obtain sponsorship for all our players and management team, and we handed over a total of £1,260 in sponsorship money.
We also handed over £1,250 in respect of the Club Shop, which is open again today for anyone wanting replica strip, polo shorts, scarves, mini scarves, badges, torch lights, pens or old programmes, al of which are at reduced prices on Friday.
We still have two more matches to play away, the first of which is at Cheshunt on Tuesday. We played Cheshunt at Bridge Avenue in December, winning 3-1 with two goals from George Purcell and one from Leon McKenzie, but they have since then had a change in management, with Craig Edwards now in charge. We could meet up again with Michael Spencer, who has recently joined them, and Nick Symons.
We play our last match of the season on Saturday week at Waltham Abbey, who played here in January, in a remarkable match that we eventually won 5-4.
We took the lead through an own goal, and Chris Assombalonga equalised for Abbey. Fairweather-Johnson put us back ahead, but Billy Holland put Abbey back on level terms, only for Matt Fanimo, playing his final game for us before signing for NK Drava Ptuj (Slovenia), to regain the lead just before half time.
Abbey scored twice in the second half, and with seven minutes left, Nathan Livings put us back level. In stoppage time, George Purcell netted the winning goal.
For Chris Assombalonga it was his last game for Abbey, as Jim McFarlane signed him and he made his debut for us the following week at Dereham Town.
Abbey have three of our ex-players in their side, Rimmel Daniel, Billy Holland and Ayrton Coley, and this is one away match that is always popular with our supporters.
So who will go up with us? The final automatic promotion place is between three teams - Potters Bar Tpwn, on 84 points, with both Bowers & Pitsea and Haringey Borough just one point behind.
And for the play-offs? Heybridge Swifts and Canvey Island occupy the final play off places at the moment, with Maldon & Tiptree hoping that one of them will slip up in their final matches.
At the wrong end of the table, Norwich United lifted themselves off the bottom with a 4-1 win at Maldon, being replaced by Romford, who lost 1-0 at Witham.
And whilst we return to the Premier Division, we seem almost certain to lose yet another Essex club, as Thurrock have resigned from the league, and their ground is up for sale.