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Hornchurch boss McFarlane praises second half turnaround in play-off semi-final win

PUBLISHED: 10:51 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:51 01 May 2014

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane had high praise for goalscorer Rickie Hayles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane had high praise for goalscorer Rickie Hayles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane praised his side for grinding out victory against Kingstonian in the Ryman Premier play-off semi-final despite a lacklustre first half display.

Rickie Hayles scored the only goal of the game in the 56th minute for the visitors and McFarlane revealed his half time team talk at Kingsmeadow.

“First half we were awful. We never got going, we looked nervous,” McFarlane said.

“We were playing on the back foot rather than the front foot like we have done all year and Kingstonian grew in confidence.

“At half time we sat them down and there wasn’t an teacups thrown, no rants or raves. I just said ‘we’ve come a long way to be here. We are away from home, so no complaints. We are on the best surface in the league. We are not doing ourselves justice. This is what we need to do’ and I thought we done it.”

Hornchurch started the second half vastly improved and McFarlane was delighted with their work rate.

He added: “I thought we looked energetic at the start of the second half and as the game wore on, and I knew Kingstonian would throw more forward but I just thought we looked so full of running.

“We have done two things that we haven’t done a lot this year. We have scored from a set piece, which we worked on Tuesday night tirelessly and we have ground out a result.”

The sour note of the evening was the fact that Stefan Payne appeared to lose his head midway through the first half after he picked up a needless booking.

He continuously pushed his luck with the referee Paul Howard after the caution and McFarlane explained why he subbed Payne off,.

“His yellow card was just ridiculous for handball, just ridiculous,” he said.

“And we would never have won this game with 10 men. It is too big a game and Kingstonian are too good a team, so I had to make that decision and it paid off.”

McFarlane and his side will now face Lowestoft in the play-off final on Monday afternoon and try to bounce back to the Conference South at the first attempt, although they’ll be without the suspended Frankie Curley and Payne.

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