Hornchurch endure mixed fortunes
PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 October 2017
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The weekend started with a trip to Soham Town, always a popular venue, with its old-fashioned stand and large social club, but we had to contend with a strong wind, which caused both teams a few problems.
Our earlier visits had been unproductive - not only have we lost on the two previous occasions, but we had yet to score at Julius Martin Lane.
So we were very relieved when George Purcell ran through the home defence to open the score with 36 minutes on the clock.
We missed too many chances but Soham only managed one of their own, and that was only in the final minute of the half.
We paid the penalty for earlier missed chances just two minutes into the second period, when a very long throw into our goalmouth was touched home to bring the scores level.
Were we disappointed? Yes, but from then on the home side were forced to defend, and it was no surprise when Purcell fired the winning goal with one of his free kick specials.
And so on to Tuesday, where our pre-match preparations were turned into disarray, as we had to warm up three times, as the Dereham team was held up on the M25, and we were given conflicting times for their arrival.
The match eventually started thirty minutes late, and Soham proved to be the best team we have played so far this season, taking the lead with an excellent goal on 19 minutes.
We were very fortunate when, just three minutes later, a visiting forward sidefooted the ball wide of an open goal for the miss of the season.
The second half was totally different, and we played some of our best football for several weeks, only to be continually denied by a packed defence, some good goalkeeping, and some not-so-good finishing.
And when Purcell thumped a free kick over their defence, only for the ball to rebound off the bar, we knew it was not going to be our night.
In the four minutes added on for stoppages, the Dereham goal came under a heavy and non-stop siege, but it was not to be, and they held out to inflict our first league defeat of the season, and also to go top of the table in the process.
Haringey remain the only team unbeaten, though they were somewhat relieved to come back from 3-1 down at Grays, to level the score in the final minute of the match.
Our youth team travelled to Leyton Orient on Wednesday in the FA Youth Cup, and our interest in that competition ended at Brisbane Road, where the O’s ran out 4-0 winners.
No complaints on that one, and O’s now entertain Biggleswade in the next round.
We now travel to Purfleet this Saturday where we play Romford in the league cup.
We checked and found that we have only once previously played an Isthmian League Cup match on a Saturday, and that was in January 2004, when we won 5-0 at Aveley.
We don’t know what team Jim McFarlane will put out on Saturday, but it was nice to see Tobi Joseph back in action after his injury at Hertford a few weeks ago.
Will Jim give some of the fringe players a run out? We will soon find out.
It’s fair to say that many of our supporters have little or no interest in the league cup, but we have beaten Romford in the league, 4-1, and 1-0 a few days later in the FA Cup, so we might as well make it three wins in different competitions.
Then on Tuesday next we play our overdue Essex Senior Cup match against Chelmsford City, who are riding high in the Conference South, or National League South as it is now called - but a league by any other name is still the same league, call it what you like.
We first played Chelmsford in the Essex Senior Cup in 1978, winning 3-1 at Bridge Avenue with two goals from Kenny Gaine and one from Paul Currie.
In 1981 we travelled to New Writtle Road in the semi final and lost 2-0. We had to wait until 2001 for our next encounter in the Essex Senior Cup, losing 6-0 away, the match being played at Billericay as City were homeless at that time.
In March 2010 we met them in the semi final, played at Bridge Avenue, and we won 4-3, with Elliot Styles scoring on 5 minutes, Jo Flack adding two more, and the final goal came from Ryan Kaylor, in what was his only first team appearance.
We played Colchester United in the final at Dagenham, only we had to wait a few months, as the rain poured down and the match was called off a few minutes before it was due to start.
So the final was held over until the following season, and it was eventually played in August 2010.
Tommy Black put us ahead just after the interval, but Colchester, with a very strong line up, came back to win by two goals to one.
So we are having a break from league games, and hopefully the two cup matches will give some of our injuries a chance to recover in time for our next league match, which is against Witham Town on Saturday week.