Bostik North: Can Hornchurch break 100-goal mark in the league and net five against Waltham Abbey like last time?
PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 April 2018
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We had two matches over the weekend, the first against Aveley on Friday, where Connor Hogan put us ahead early in the first half, only for Aveley to equalise with fifteen minutes left to play, and that meant that our target of one hundred points would have to wait a bit longer.
But in the final minute of stoppage time, Theo Fairweather-Johnson provided the opening for George Purcell to hit the winning goal past a packed defence. And 101 points for the season.
No match on Saturday, so some of us made the short trip to Thurrock for what is almost certainly Thurrock’s final home game at Ship Lane, as they have resigned from the league and the ground is up for sale.
It was not a particularly memorable match, which Thurrock won by the only goal of the game, a sensational solo effort from Lewwis Spence. But it was memorable for the way it all ended.
In the final minute of stoppage time, the entire Kingstonian team came up for a corner, which was cleared upfield, and a Thurrock player was brought down ten yards inside his own half.
This sparked off a mass confrontation, with all 21 players (Kingstonian had already had a player sent off early in the game) and the match officials trying to sort things out.
It all started inside the home half, and it all ended, some seven minutes later, sixty yards away at the other end of the pitch, where two red cards were waved in quick succession, and the final whistle followed within seconds.
And full marks to the match officials for their excellent handling of a very inflammatory situation.
Then it was back to our own match, with a trip to a windswept and at times rainy Cheshunt, where their new manager Craig Edwards has transformed a team seemingly doomed to relegation, and they are now in a safe position and looking capable of putting in their own promotion challenge for next season.
Purcell powered us into the lead with one of his long range specials, and that is how it stayed until the final minute of stoppage time, when Cheshunt headed the equaliser from a disputed free kick.
One match to go - promotion achieved - one hundred plus points achieved - one target still remains, as we have scored 95 goals and it would be a fitting end to the season if we could hit the one hundred.
We are at Waltham Abbey, and we scored five against them in the match at Bridge Avenue, so we are just about on target for the one hundred goals.
Only problem is that they scored four in the same match, on a day when our defence was not on top form.
Our forwards have been a constant threat to the opposition - George Purcell leads the way with 22 league goals.
He is supported by Brad Warner on 15, Theo Fairweather-Johnson on 13, Leon McKenzie on 12, and Chris Assombalonga, who joined us for the run-in to the season, on six in just thirteen matches.
But throughout the season, the driving force behind our success has been our defence, with 21 clean sheets in league matches - Sam Mott 18, Simon Bloch 3, and a clean sheet for Dave Collis who took over from an injured Bloch in the Maldon & Tiptree match.
Our defence has only conceded 33 league goals in 45 matches, and eight of those goals came in just two matches, a 3-4 reverse against Brentwood and a 5-4 win over Waltham Abbey.
The defence has also scored a few goals at the other end of the pitch - Nathan Cooper leads the way on eight, with Kenzer Lee and Elliot Styles each scoring three and one from Alex Bentley.
And when was the last time a defender scored six goals in a season? It was in 2006-07, and the scorer was our current manager, Jim McFarlane.
But in fact Nathan went two better than Jim, as he also scored a goal in a cup match which brings his overall total to eight.
So whilst much of the publicity has been given to our free-scoring forward line, the honours for an exceptional season must also go to our remarkable defensive record.
With one match left, away to Waltham Abbey, we need five goals to hit the one hundred mark. Can we do it?