Hornchurch boss McFarlane ‘very happy’

Summit in sight for Urchins

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane was happy, but hoarse, after seeing his side beat Ryman Premier Division leaders Billericay this week.

Tommy Black’s goal proved decisive at New Lodge, as Urchins cut the gap at the top to a single point ahead of their trip to Canvey tomorrow (Saturday).

And McFarlane believes his men, who host title rivals Lowestoft on Monday, can have a big say in the new year.

He said: “I thought we deserved it. We worked hard and I was really pleased.

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“We’ve made it now that we don’t have to rely on others getting results.

“We can’t match the likes of Lewes and Lowestoft financially, so we’ve got to be a bit lucky with injuries, but it’s looking good at the moment.

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“It will be a tough one at Canvey, who are a bit of a bogey side for us, but it certainly will be tight.”

Black struck on the hour and Hornchurch’s defence held firm in the face of heavy pressure at set-pieces.

Joe Woolley produced a wonder save to deny Rob Swaine late on and McFarlane added: “I had a decision to make on who to replace Lewis [Smith] with and I was pleased with Tommy’s contribution.

“He had a bit of a tight hamstring, so we took him off near the end.

“We worked on defending their long throw-ins before the game.

“I’d seen them play a few times and it’s a massive asset to them.

“But it paid off. We dealt with it and not a lot of sides would have.

“Every decision Joe made was the right one. He was under a lot of pressure from a big, big side and all of the back four put their bodies on the line.”

Hornchurch also hit the woodwork, as Jon Hunt’s free-kick came back off the crossbar, as they made it 10 away league wins in 11 matches this season.

“We tried little one-touch stuff in the first half, but it wasn’t coming off because of the pitch,” said McFarlane.

“But I told them to keep at it because we’ve got the quality to win games.

“I was absolutey chuffed, but I think I was more exhausted than the players after. I came home and fell asleep!”

The club are running supporters coaches to Grimsby for the FA Trophy clash on January 14.

Tickets are �20 adults and �15 for under-16s (�15 and �12 for members) and will be on sale on Monday’s home match against Lowestoft.

l Lewis Smith faces an FA charge following his red card in the FA Trophy clash with Farnborough.

Smith was sent off for two bookings in a goalless draw, before netting the winner in the replay which earned the trip to Grimsby.

He served a one-game ban at Billericay, but has been reported for his conduct in the aftermath of his dismissal and could receive an additional suspension.

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