Tomlinson hails Hornchurch effort

Long-serving midfielder reflects on promotion

Andy Tomlinson felt Hornchurch fully deserved to clinch promotion from the Ryman Premier Division on Monday.

Long-serving midfielder Tomlinson played for 105 minutes of their extra time success over Lowestoft, before making way for eventual matchwinner Michael Spencer.

And he admitted his 245th appearance in red and white would linger long in the memory.

He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it and we got all we deserved.

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“I played in Conference South before and I don’t see why we can’t give it a good crack. We’ve worked our way back with a minimal budget.

“It’s been a long season, but Jimmy (McFarlane) and Purds (John Purdie) put a lot of hard work in and it’s a brilliant day for the club.

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“We finished second in the league, but Lowestoft are a good side and I said to one of their players ‘one goal will win it’.

“It was always going to be tight but they turned out to be a couple of great substitutions.”

The play-off final remained deadlocked at the end of 90 minutes, but Leon McKenzie made the breakthrough just four minutes after replacing Carl Rook, who was twice denied at point-blank range by Andy Reynolds during normal time.

Lowestoft hit back from the penalty spot through Dean Sinclair, before Tomlinson was replaced by Spencer.

And it proved another inspired move by manager McFarlane as Spencer fired home from Lewis Smith’s astute pass with barely a minute remaining in the match and penalties looming.

Tomlinson added: “It was touch and go between Leon and Carl Rook on who would start and Leon made a difference when he came on.

“Michael Spencer was probably a bit unlucky not to start. He’s played a lot of games this season and got his just rewards. To score the winner was a fitting end for him.”

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