Hornchurch hail milestone men
PUBLISHED: 15:06 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:06 29 November 2017
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It has been a record breaking few days for Hornchurch, starting with the single-goal win over Ware, on a night when the team put in a below-par performance, but still picked up three points thanks to a late goal from Brad Warner.
It was a landmark for our goalkeeper Sam Mott, who once again kept a clean sheet and now holds the record, with 67 in 183 appearances.
This is one more than Gary Harrold, whose 66 clean sheet came from 216 matches between 1978-1985. In third place is Geoff Powell, with 64 shutouts from 234 matches.
Unfortunately for Sam, in Saturday’s match at Tilbury, he picked up an injury that left him limping progressively worse as the match went on.
And would a fully-fit Mott have saved Tilbury’s equaliser late in the game? We will never know.
The Tilbury game was affected by a strong downfield wind that was the cause of many overhit passes, but the late equaliser meant we missed the chance to go top of the table.
Manager Jim McFarlane moved quickly to resolve the temporary goalkeeping crisis when he signed Simon Bloch Jorgensen from Whitehawk.
Bloch has played in the Danish League for a number of clubs, including Frem, two Copenhagen teams, B93 and B1908, and Bronshoj, before moving to England, where he has played for Accrington Stanley and more recently for Whitehawk.
He made his debut at a chilly Mildenhall on Tuesday and kept a clean sheet as the Urchins powered their way to a 6-0 win over the hosts, who seemed to be feeling the effects of their 500-mile round trip to Lancaster City on the previous Saturday, where they went down to a last-minute goal.
Hornchurch did not worry too much about the sloping Mildenhall pitch, although when Nathan Cooper put us ahead early on there was little indication of what was to follow.
George Purcell was playing his 200th game for Hornchurch and he celebrated the occasion with a fine curling shot from the right wing that the home keeper could only help on its inevitable way into the net.
And it was George who played a prominent role in all three of Leon McKenzie’s goals.
Immediately after the interval Leon volleyed home after Purcell’s shot had been blocked, then Leon headed his second goal from Purcell’s pinpoint centre from the right and completed his hat-trick when he followed up after Purcell’s shot had been blocked.
In between we had a bizarre long-range goal from Sean Roberts, when the home keeper and defender got completely mixed up in their attempt to clear the ball and it bounced into an invitingly empty net.
All in all it was a very impressive performance at a ground that for just about all of our supporters was a new venue, situated at the rear of Sainsburys and alongside the local swimming pool in the centre of the town.
It was a very noisy and exuberant coach that left Mildenhall at 10 pm – and again at 10.15 pm as we had to go back to the ground to pick up someone we had inadvertently left behind!
With Dereham losing at home to Grays to a last-minute goal, we are now top of the table – and we intend to stay there.
On Saturday we entertain AFC Sudbury, who hold a mid-table position with 23 points from 17 games.
Their leading scorer is Adam Mills with 11 goals, but he lacks back-up as the next highest scorer has found the net on just three occasions.
We have met on five previous occasions: in 2007 we drew 1-1 at Sudbury, with Mark Janney our scorer, and won 2-1 at Bridge Avenue, with goals from Kris Lee and Simon Parker.
In 2015 we drew 1-1 on their new 3G surface, with Purcell scoring, and the return also ended 1-1, with our goal coming from David Knight.
We also met in the League Cup last season and Ross Wall scored the only goal of the game.
Saturday will be a landmark occasion for Jim McFarlane, who played 107 times for Hornchurch, but is better known as a player for Purfleet/Thurrock, for whom he made 634 appearances.
The Sudbury match will be Jim’s 460th in charge of the Urchins, which will be one more than Arthur Wenborn and makes him our longest-serving manager.
Congratulations to Jim on an incredible achievement.
We have another home match on Tuesday when he entertain Maldon & Tiptree, who have moved into the play-off positions, despite losing to Bowers & Pitsea in their last match.