Good to see Hornchurch keep it clean
PUBLISHED: 13:30 07 December 2016
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Hornchurch extended their unbeaten run in the league to nine matches at Dereham, and kept another clean sheet.
The downside of the run is that six of those matches have been drawn, and four of them have been goalless.
And it was very much the same story yet again at the weekend, with plenty of chances created, and none of them converted.
We thought we had won the game in the final few seconds when Junior Luke shrugged off three challenges to slip the ball inside to Ross Wall, only for the home keeper to make an incredible save to keep the ball out of the net.
Five minutes earlier we lost Abs Seymour, who received a straight red, and although we were confident that this would be overturned with the video evidence submitted, we were not successful in the appeal, so Abs has to serve a three-match suspension, starting with the game this Saturday against Ware.
On the player front, Jakub Berkowitz, who joined us from Dagenham & Redbridge, has now linked up with Barkingside, and Taj Hussain, who was with Sporting Bengal, has signed, on dual registration forms, for Southend Manor.
After our late postponement against Bury Town last Tuesday, when the temperature plummeted after the sun went down, we had no such worries for the visit of Sudbury in the League Cup last night, as it was very mild.
Instead, we were briefly concerned about the mist that began to gather around the floodlights, but fortunately it quickly dispersed, and the game went ahead.
There is something about the league cup: no one really cares about the result and it attracts only a minimum of spectator interest.
All matches must be decided on the night and there is no extra time in the event of a draw: the match has to go straight to penalties.
And that is how it appeared to be heading, when yet again we created plenty of chances but failed to convert them.
For manager Jim McFarlane, the squad more or less picked itself, thanks to players either being injured or cup-tied.
We were only able to fill our squad with 14 players and newly signed Ben Osman was given an appearance in the starting line-up.
Osman has joined from Chipstead and he has previously played for Hampton & Richmond Borough and Grays Athletic.
Sudbury had a much different problem – they have two teams, one in the Isthmian League and the other in the Eastern Counties League, and as their reserve team had a match the same night, they were ‘forced’ to play their first team in a competition where it has become traditional for squad teams to be fielded.
The result was that the few supporters who turned out witnessed one of the best games of the season, which was heading for the inevitable goalless draw and the equally inevitable penalty shoot-out until Wall struck with four minutes left to play, when he received the ball from the right wing, weaved his way around a defender, and calmly glided his shot past the keeper and into the net.
Our reserve team had their own problems the night before at Haringey Borough, where they were without a recognised goalkeeper.
Assistant manager Alan Pearce thought the situation was resolved when he signed our under-16 goalkeeper, but this proved fruitless, as there is a rule that anyone under the age of 16 cannot play in a senior match. Billy Pearce, who is normally a forward, went in goal for the match.
We now have two home matches coming up, starting with Ware Town this Saturday, and followed by Witham Town on Tuesday.
Hopefully we can extend our unbeaten run, and also pick up six points, as we cannot let the leaders get too far ahead if we want to be in contention at the end of the season.