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McFarlane ‘over the moon’

PUBLISHED: 10:21 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:21 28 April 2014

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane applauds his side (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane applauds his side (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 boss delighted to reach play-offs

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane was “over the moon” to end a stressful week with victory over Met Police on the final day of the season and a Ryman Premier play-off place.

Urchins looked set to miss out after a disastrous Easter weekend where they picked up just one point against Hampton & Richmond and Canvey.

But Chris Bourne’s 48th-minute header allowed McFarlane’s men to win at Bridge Avenue on Saturday and leapfrog Dulwich, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Kingstonian, whom Urchins now visit on Wednesday.

It hadn’t just been a demanding week due to matters on the pitch for McFarlane as striker Stefan Payne was also forced to apologise for some remarks made on social network site Twitter.

But all that seemed irrelevant by 5pm on Saturday as the football on the pitch, thankfully, dominated the headlines.

An exhausted McFarlane said: “It has been a stressful week for football reasons, but not football matches and I am absolutely over the moon.

“I made a statement in the programme that at 5 o’clock you are in the league where you are entitled to be and we are in the play-offs so we would have taken that at the beginning of the year.

“Yes everyone wanted a home draw, but at five to three on Saturday we would have taken what has happened, so I’m exhausted but chuffed.

“Stefan worked really hard and won more headers than he has done all year and that was because he thought he had a bit to prove.”

Bourne scored the only goal of the game just three minutes after his introduction but McFarlane admitted he couldn’t put that decision down to his “tactical genius”.

“There is two stories to this,” he explained. “I thought can I be the tactical genius like I was in the play-off final (in 2012) and switch it around or do I put Chris Bourne on because Elliot Styles is injured and unfortunately it was the latter.

“Obviously we had a choice about who to put on but Chris has done well lately and got us the goal at Canvey.

“He has spent a long time on the bench. He left us (for a loan spell at East Thurrock) but is a great lad and he got us where we deserved to be.”

It was a tense affair at Bridge Avenue but the Hornchurch manager was delighted his players overcame their nerves to win and set up a semi-final tie at Kingsmeadow Stadium.

He added: “Although we bossed the first half we had little quality. Things weren’t happening and you could see every time something didn’t happen a little bit more frustration crept in.

“But they are a honest bunch of lads, they’ve trained, they’ve argued and Saturday they got a little bit of reward for all our hard work.”

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