A Year In Sport: Urchins and Boro looking to move up table

PUBLISHED: 14:45 16 January 2015

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic:Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic:Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Jimmy McFarlane and Paul Martin will hope for more success in 2015

Romford manager Paul Martin. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTORomford manager Paul Martin. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Ryman Premier side Hornchurch and Ryman North outfit Romford will look to move away from the relegation places in their 
respective leagues after a mixed 12 months.

Urchins made a good start to 2014 and defeated Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the Essex Senior Cup.

Jimmy McFarlane’s team bowed out of the competition in the semi-final’s – losing on penalties to the Conference Premier’s Braintree Town, but they challenged for the league title for most of the season.

Hornchurch couldn’t secure the title, but inspired by 34-goal hitman George Purcell and Stefan Payne, who scored 31 goals, they reached the Ryman Premier play-off final following an excellent 1-0 semi-final win at Kingstonian.

Unfortunately McFarlane had to deal with injuries and suspension before the final and it culminated in a 3-0 loss to Lowestoft Town.

A summer of change was to occur at Bridge Avenue with players moving on and youngsters with potential replacing them.

Hornchurch started the 2014/15 season poorly as floodlight work at Bridge Avenue meant their first eight matches were away from their traditional home.

They didn’t secure a first win of the campaign until September 9, when Purcell helped them to a 2-0 win against VCD Athletic.

It has been a struggle since, but Urchins form has slowly improved and it looks like they will force themselves away from the relegation places in 2015.

Romford begin the year how they started 2014 – close to the drop zone. But they will be hoping to replicate the success they enjoyed in the latter part of the 2013/14 campaign where they ended the season strongly – going on an eight-match winning run in March.

Paul Martin’s team lost just two league matches in 16 during a spell between January and April and beat various play-off contenders along the way.

For a brief moment Boro supporters were dreaming of the play-offs, but it wasn’t to be. But an 11th-placed finish was more than respectable and they went into the new campaign in positive mood.

Inconsistency has again been Romford’s Achilles’ heel, though, as they remain nearer the bottom.

They did, however, enjoy a wonderful FA Cup run – reaching the second qualifying round of the competition before losing to Ryman Premier Division side Kingstonian.

Martin’s men strolled past Spartans South Midlands outfit St. Margaretsbury 4-0 before shocking Ryman Premier outfit Bury Town 1-0 in the next round.

They held Kingstonian to a goalless draw in the original tie before narrowly losing a dramatic replay 5-3 after extra time at Kingsmeadow.

Romford will hope to move up the table in 2015 and learn more about their plans to build a new stadium at Westlands.

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