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Hornchurch boss relieved with FA Cup win as Urchins prepare for Leiston

PUBLISHED: 17:15 20 September 2013 | UPDATED: 17:15 20 September 2013

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jim 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

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane admitted he was at a loss to explain his side’s contrasting performances in their two FA Cup first-round qualifying ties against East Thurrock United.

The Urchins “couldn’t pass water” in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw, according to their manager, with Carl Rook’s 78th-minute close-range finish wiping out Tom Stephen’s penalty for the visitors.

However, they produced a much-improved display in Tuesday’s replay to win 2-1 thanks to goals by Michael Spencer and Chris Bourne.

And their boss was delighted with the “quick tempo and passing” of his team as they secured a visit to Spalding United in the next round.

McFarlane said: “I’m over the moon that we’ve got through to the next round – really pleased and relieved.

“The two games revealed our two extremes and it’s hard to explain the contrast in the two performances.

“On Saturday it was arguably the worst we’ve played – we huffed and puffed and were never at the races.

“Excuse the joke but we couldn’t pass water and looked lazy and lacklustre.

“But we’ve developed that knack of at least avoiding defeat when we’re not playing well, which is a sign of a good side.

“And on Tuesday we came out of the blocks sharper and stayed on the front foot throughout.

“We passed the ball around at a quick tempo and the game should have been over and done with in the first half.

“I thought a 2-1 scoreline flattered East Thurrock and it was as comfortable a one-goal win as you’ll see.”

Hornchurch head to Spalding of the United Counties Premier Division on September 28 and should be favourites to progress. But McFarlane will be taking nothing for granted against the Lincolnshire outfit, which play two levels below the Urchins.

He said: “I don’t know a lot about them but one of us will be going up to see them on Saturday. They might be at a slightly lower level than us but this is the FA Cup.

“We certainly won’t be taking them lightly and we’ll be giving it our very best shot.”

Hornchurch return to Ryman Premier action tomorrow when they travel to Leiston before visiting Enfield Town on Tuesday evening.

The Urchins are presently fourth in the table, just two points behind leaders Maidstone United.

And their manager insists his players can keep their unbeaten run going, having not lost since the opening day of the season at home to Lewes.

McFarlane said: “We’re unbeaten in 10 games and that’s fantastic. We’re also unbeaten away from home and look very good on the road.

“People tell me that all good runs have to come to an end and when I hear that I just say, ‘Why?’ There’s no reason why the run has to end and we’ll be looking to keep it going for as long as possible. We’re looking a good side and are very hard to beat.

“We also keep scoring late goals, which says a lot about our determination.”

Meanwhile, the club has confirmed that central midfielder Simon Glover has joined East Thurrock on a short-term loan.

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