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Home advantage a must as Hornchurch chief eyes play-offs

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 April 2014

Hornchurch chairman Colin McBride (right) with manager Jimmy McFarlane. Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Hornchurch chairman Colin McBride (right) with manager Jimmy McFarlane. Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Experience has taught Hornchurch the importance of securing a home play-off tie and chairman Colin McBride is hoping they can secure a top-three finish.

Two seasons ago, the Urchins finished second in the Ryman Premier and beat Bury Town and Lowestoft Town at home to secure promotion to the Conference South.

Relegation immediately followed, but the Bridge Avenue outfit are hoping to bounce back at the first time of asking, and their cause has been helped by back-to-back away wins in the past week.

McBride said: “We know from experience how important it is to make sure we get at least the semi-final at home.

“When we played Lowestoft a couple of years ago they brought 600 fans to us. You wouldn’t want to be playing them away, it would be double that.”

The Urchins face in-form Hendon who have lost just once in the last six games and are making a late run for the play-offs themselves.

Victory for Jimmy McFarlane’s men would seriously dent those hopes, but a win for the visitors would leave them six points behind Hornchurch with a game in hand.

McBride is expecting a tough game against a side with “plenty to play for”.

“At the moment we’re only focusing on Hendon rather than what lies ahead,” he said.

“We haven’t got a points total in mind which might get us in the play-offs because you never know what the other results will be.

“It’s going to be another tough game and they’ve got plenty to play for. It will be like a cup final, they all are at this stage of the season.”

A solitary Stefan Payne goal was enough for the Urchins to beat rock-bottom Carshalton on Tuesday.

Despite dominating the game, the visitors had to settle for a 1-0 win 
after thrashing Wingate & Finchley 3-0 on Saturday.

George Purcell’s double and a Tambeson Eyong header did the damage.

Runaway leaders Wealdstone look odds-on to win the title and claim automatic promotion, but below them it is very congested, with nine points separating second place Dulwich Hamlet and Saturday’s opponents Hendon, in eighth.

McBride added: “We’re coming to the back end of the season and you can’t ask more than what the players produced. Two away wins, two clean sheet and six points.”

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