A perfect 10 for Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 13:30 20 September 2017

Hornchurch players celebrate their winning goal at Hertford Town (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch players celebrate their winning goal at Hertford Town (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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George Purcell is sent off at Hertford Town (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)George Purcell is sent off at Hertford Town (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Two cup matches, two wins, and it’s now 10 wins in a row, our best ever start to a season.

But it comes at a cost. On Saturday at Hertford, we lost Tobi Joseph, who limped off, the victim of a very bad tackle, and in the eighth minute of stoppage time George Purcell was shown a straight red card, and he will now miss the next three matches.

In addition Alex Bentley is likely to be missing for a few more weeks, having been injured at Maldon, and in the same match Jed Chouman and Elliot Styles both limped off.

On Saturday at Hertford, we fell behind to a penalty, given for handball after a hard shot cannoned off a defender at point blank range.

Only the referee seemed to have seen it, but he is the one in charge, and video evidence tended to indicate that, albeit very harsh, he was correct.

Leon McKenzie headed us level soon after the interval, in a move that started with an offside kick 10 yards inside the Hertford half. And in the last minute of normal time Purcell was waiting in the middle to prod the ball into the net after an excellent cross from Mathias Fanimo.

Fanimo was with West Ham as a youth player and he played 17 times for England in their youth international sides. He played one league match for Tranmere Rovers and since then has played for Bishop’s Stortford, Eastleigh and Margate.

Manager Jim McFarlane made several changes for the league cup match against Aveley, and included Fanimo in the starting line-up, together with Mohamed Kamara. Taj Hussain and Martin Tuohy also made their first starts of the season.

The end result was that Aveley had a reasonable percentage of the territorial play, but the goals came at the other end, with Purcell leading the way with two, and Tuohy netting his first of the season.

Theo Fairweather-Johnson got among the scorers again, his third of the season, and Fanimo finished off a Tuohy cross for his first goal for his new club, and few can complain about the final 5-1 scoreline.

We are on the road again on Saturday, with the 200-mile round trip to Norwich United.

We have only played there once before, with David Knight scoring the only goal of the game.

Norwich are at the foot of the table, with one point from seven matches but the solitary point came last Saturday in a 4-4 draw at Tilbury, so they cannot be taken lightly.

There is no match next midweek, as our home match against Ware has been postponed, as we have to make the lengthy journey the following week to Hereford, in the FA Cup.

This is not the ideal draw and it gives Jim McFarlane the dilemma – do we travel up on the Saturday morning or on the Friday evening?

We played Hereford United four seasons ago in the fourth qualifying round of the Cup, losing 1-0 to a goal scored in the final minute of the match. Only three of our current squad played in that match – Bentley, Elliot Styles and Purcell.

Since then, Hereford have undergone a massive change. The original club was expelled from the league due to financial reasons and a new club called Hereford FC, has taken its place.

They have worked their way up the pyramid and are now in the Southern League Premier Division, holding a mid-table place, with four wins and two draws from their seven matches.

They are attracting large attendances, with an average of 2,500 per game, and it is not going to be an easy match, but we need to get the Norwich game out of the way first.

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