Bostik North: Dave Collis delighted it was a case of third time lucky for Hornchurch this season
PUBLISHED: 13:01 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 18 April 2018
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Urchins become Bostik North champions yesterday evening and player-coach Dave Collis praised the resilience of the squad
Hornchurch player-coach Dave Collis admitted the club’s success over the past few days have made the hard work over the last couple of years worthwhile.
Urchins sealed promotion back to the Bostik Premier on Saturday with a 6-1 victory at Witham Town and last night clinched the title following a 2-0 win at home to Mildenhall Town.
After going close twice in the previous two campaigns, Collis was delighted to see the job get completed this week and believes the current squad have grown stronger in recent months when it was revealed in February boss Jimmy McFarlane had suffered a stroke.
“We are really, really chuffed and it has been a couple of years of getting close, but not over the line,” said Hornchurch fans favourite Collis.
“The first season (2015/16) I played in the play-off final and we couldn’t quite do it on the day and so got piped by Harlow Town, and last year we again got close and got piped in the semi-finals by Thurrock, but this time around we’ve been stronger.
“We’ve had more resilience too and we’ve also done well throughout the season, not just for periods, so we are all really pleased to win the league with a few games to go.
“The lads are a great bunch and we’ve all stuck together and worked hard on and off the pitch and things that have happened recently with Jim have probably made us stronger.
“We wanted to do it for Jimmy and ourselves and the club of course because all the hard work we have put in and we’ve now done it.”
Although Urchins registered their 31st league of the season last night, it was a somewhat below-par display which sealed the title.
Mildenhall actually started the stronger of the two teams, but failed to trouble Sam Mott too much and Hornchurch took the lead in the 26th minute.
Mott fired a free kick forward and Town didn’t deal with the first ball and centre back Nathan Cooper was on hand to divert home for his eighth goal of the season.
Six minutes later it was 2-0 and fittingly the goal which essentially clinched the title was full of quality.
Leon McKenzie passed out to Brad Warner on the right and the former Bowers & Pitsea winger cut inside before unleashing a superb curling effort into the corner from 25-yards.
It was a wonderful goal, but ensured the second half was relatively low-key and Collis had wondered if that might be the case.
Hornchurch sealed promotion with a 6-1 thrashing over Witham on Saturday and after the match everyone celebrated in the stand.
After such jubilant and emotional scenes, with McFarlane involved, Tuesday’s game was always likely to be a slight case of after the Lord Mayor’s show.
Nevertheless, Urchins still got the job done, having only needed a point to become the champions, and in many ways showed why they will finish the season in first place.
Despite what has been thrown at them on and off the pitch this season, McFarlane’s team have largely always prevailed.
Collis added: “The 6-1 win at Witham confirmed promotion so we had a little jump around in the stands and I think it probably took the sting out of Tuesday’s game.
“We now have the league officials coming down on Friday for the Aveley match to do the presentation, so I am sure it will be a bit livelier then.
“Our performance wasn’t vintage against Mildenhall, but it was hard to get up for it because we were technically over the line.
“We needed a point, so we always felt we would get a point during the last few games, so it was a bit of an anti-climax against Mildenhall, but Friday will be a big night.”
Given the amount of work everyone at Hornchurch has put in, another celebration at the end of this week will be well deserved.