Two cup games, two defeats, but Jimmy McFarlane’s Hornchurch can now focus on Bostik North promotion
PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 November 2017
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Last Thursday our reserve team were at home to Cheshunt, in a match that kicked off late due to congestion on the A12.
Unfortunately the game was abandoned early in the second half when our goalkeeper, Jack O’Connor, suffered a broken leg.
He was kept in hospital over the weekend and was due to have the break pinned as soon as the swelling receded.
With five regulars missing from our starting line up at Purfleet on Saturday, we were none the less disappointed to exit the league cup against Romford.
After falling behind to a penalty, an excellent move ended with Theo Fairweather-Johnson volleying home the equaliser.
But our hopes of progressing were dashed when Romford regained the lead ten minutes later, and our efforts to get back on terms were unrewarded
Nathan Cooper picked up his fifth booking of the season and will now miss our home match against Witham Town.
We also made our exit from the Essex Senior Cup, perhaps predictably against Chelmsford City, who play in the National League South, two divisions higher than ourselves, but this was a far better performance than the one at Ship Lane.
Brad Warner and George Purcell put us two goals ahead inside 15 minutes, but City showed their class in the second half, pulling a goal back soon after the interval, equalising 15 minutes from time and then getting the winning goal with two to play.
It could have been very different had Leon McKenzie’s header in the 86th minute gone into the net, instead of hitting the bar.
But Hornchurch are now out of all cup competitions, and can now concentrate firmly on their main goal - winning promotion, and hopefully ending in the number one spot to gain automatic promotion.
Second place will also ensure promotion, whilst third or lower means having to go through the play-offs, and that is something we do not want to happen.
October has not been a good month - following our FA Cup exit at Hereford at the end of September, we have played eight, won two, drawn two and lost four - a marked contrast to our exceptional start to the season. The sooner we can turn it around, the better.
Our supporters had very little interest in the Essex Senior Cup, once a very important competition, but now just something to get out of the way, and even less interest in the league cup, but the league is a different proposition.
So the home game against Witham Town on Saturday is a must-win, although the game with Maldon & Tiptree has now been postponed.
Urchins were due to face the Jammers on Tuesday, but they are in Essex Senior Cup action against Billericay Town.
In other news, Martin Tuohy has now been released, and during his five seasons at Bridge Avenue, he made 218 appearances, scoring 84 goals.
He played five times this season, scoring once, in the league cup match against his former side Aveley.
Martin made his debut in August 2010, scoring the only goal of the game against Cray Wanderers, and was our leading scorer for three consecutive seasons.
But in 2013, an injury during a pre-season match kept him out for the majority of the season, and he had a spell at Canvey Island before rejoining Hornchurch in February 2017.
His best individual performances were three goals in a match, and he managed this on three occasions, at Croydon Athletic in 2010, against Tooting the following season, and against Colchester in the Essex Senior Cup in January 2013.
Martin was a prolific goalscorer at his other clubs, and whilst at East Thurrock in 2008, he scored 52 goals in just one season.
During his stay at Canvey he continued to find the net on regular occasions, with 33 goals in 78 appearances. Prior to joining Hornchurch he scored 29 times for Aveley.
We entertain Witham Town on Saturday, but without Nathan Cooper, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Romford last week.
In 2006-07 we won 7-0 at Witham and 7-1 at Bridge Avenue, but we did not meet them again until 2014-15, and since then we have played them six times, winning four and drawing one.
Last season Ross Wall scored in the 1-1 draw at home, and we won 5-1 away with one goal each from Kenzer Lee and Abs Thompson, and three from Leon McKenzie.
After the match we signed Usman Adeniji, who has since returned to Witham and could well play against us on Saturday.