A week of bad news for Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 21 February 2018
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This Saturday we entertain Tilbury, in what should have been Sam Mott’s 200th match in goal for Hornchurch.
But it has not gone according to plan, in a week where just about everything has gone wrong.
Sam Mott broke a finger and had to miss the Sudbury match as a result, and he is likely to be out for some time. In his place our manager Jim McFarlane signed Harry Palmer from Brightlingsea.
Harry has been playing in the Bostik Premier Division this season, starting with Dorking Wanderers, where he made ten appearances before joining Brightlingsea in November, and making fourteen appearances, so he has an impressive track record.
Thirty seconds into the match at Sudbury, a long ball out of defence found Chris Assombalonga racing towards goal with just the keeper to beat.
He looked certain to score, but the ball drifted wide of the post - and that is about as good as it got at Sudbury.
We had two shots cleared off the line, and at the other end our new keeper did not have to make a save, until, with fifteen minutes left to play, we conceded a penalty.
Harry Palmer got a hand to the shot but could not prevent it from entering the net, and that turned out to be Sudbury’s only shot on target - but it went in and it’s goals that count.
All in all a poor performance, on a 4G pitch that was vastly superior to any other artificial pitch that we have played on.
And then on Monday came the news that Jim McFarlane was in hospital, having suffered a stroke in the early hours of the morning.
And our week was complete, not one we want to revisit.
We expect Colin McBride to stand in as manager until Jim gets back, and he will be in charge for the visit of Tilbury this Saturday.
When we went to Tilbury in November, we were without Bradley Warner and Leon McKenzie, the latter having picked up five yellow cards and therefore having to sit the match out.
Ironically we will also be without Leon on Saturday, as he will again miss the match, this time having picked up ten yellows.
On a very windswept day at Tilbury we lost our 100% away record in November - Tilbury scored an early goal, but Theo Fairweather-Johnson scored in the first half and Elliot Styles put us ahead early in the second half.
Tilbury came back strongly and drew level with eight minutes left to play, after an injured Sam Mott could not get down to a shot which, had he been fully fit, he would almost certainly have stopped.
As a result of his injury, Sam missed the next three matches, so it is with a certain irony that both Sam and Leon will miss the return match with Tilbury on Saturday.
As we go into the final run-in for the season we hold a thirteen points lead over nearest challengers, Bowers & Pitsea, who have a match in hand.
Heybridge Swifts have eight matches in hand, and, should they win them all, they would have ten points less than ourselves.
So the message is simple - we just have to keep on winning, staring with Tilbury on Saturday.