Unhappy week for Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 October 2017
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It has not been a good week for Urchins, with a 1-1 draw at Thamesmead in the FA Trophy on Sunday followed by a 2-1 home defeat two days later in the replay.
In the first match we took 60 minutes to get going after an extremely lacklustre showing in the first half.
We lost Elliot Styles with injury and manager Jim McFarlane made three substitutions to turn the game around.
Ross Wall headed us level on 74 minutes and the Thamesmead defence was subjected to a 15-minute siege for the remainder of the match, but they held out for a replay.
Without Styles, and also without Kenzer Lee, we took even longer to get things together at Bridge Avenue, and we were two goals down by the time we began to find some cohesion.
Once again, McFarlane made a triple substitution, and Matthias Fanimo volleyed us back into the game from a Jed Chouman corner.
But despite peppering the Thamesmead goal for the rest of the match, they held out and we are now out of both of the major cup competitions.
We have now gone four matches without a win, in marked contrast to our excellent start to the season, and we have two home games to come, starting with Bowers & Pitsea on Saturday.
Bowers are currently level on points with ourselves, but have played three matches more, and surprisingly lost at home to bottom club Norwich United at the end of September but have since then beaten Witham and Dereham, the latter in the FA Trophy.
Bowers have four ex-Hornchurch players in their squad, including goalkeeper Callum Chafer, who made 10 appearances for us over a three-season spell, interrupted with loan periods at Redbridge and Romford.
David Knight was with us for two seasons and scored 29 goals in his 67 appearances and John Easterford made six appearances at the tail end of last season.
The fourth player is Ryan Mallett, who was with our reserve team but never made a first-team appearance.
We have only met Bowers on a handful of occasions, the first being in 1995 when we won 3-0 in the FA Cup. We then met them in our Essex Senior League season in 2005-06, winning 1-0 away and 3-1 at home.
We then had to wait until last season, and perhaps we do not want to mention what happened.
We took the lead in the first few seconds at Bowers, but eventually lost 3-2, with Brad Warner scoring one of the goals.
But it was in the final league game of the season when it went really wrong.
We needed to win to get a home match in the play-offs, but we lost 4-1 with Brad Warner again getting onto the scoresheet, twice this time.
The only way to stop him scoring against us was to sign him – and that is what we did, and he is now a Hornchurch player.
On Tuesday we have an Essex Senior Cup match against Chelmsford City and we last met them in the Senior Cup in 2010, winning 4-2 at Bridge Avenue, with Jo Flack scoring two of our goals.
Ryan Kaylor also scored in what was his only first-team appearance and the other goal came from Styles who, needless to say, is the only player still with us from that season.
Our last encounter was on a day of heavy snow at Chelmsford in March 2013 in the Conference South, where we won 4-1.
Three of our current players – Styles, Martin Tuohy and Alex Bentley – played in that match and Tuohy scored one of the goals, with the others from Lewis Smith, Kieran St Aimie and an own goal.
Chelmsford are challenging strongly for promotion from National League South this season and in their last match they beat Eastbourne Borough 5-2.
So it’s Bowers on Saturday and Chelmsford on Tuesday – two very attractive fixtures, and hopefully we will get our season back on track.