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Bostik North: Fitting Hornchurch's defence played such a big role in title-winning campaign under former goalscoring centre back Jimmy McFarlane

PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 May 2018

Kenzer Lee of Hornchurch scores the first goal for his team and celebrates (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Kenzer Lee of Hornchurch scores the first goal for his team and celebrates (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Jimmy McFarlane (right) watches Hornchurch vs Canvey Island from the touchline at Bridge Avenue with son Ricky less than a month after suffering a stroke (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).Jimmy McFarlane (right) watches Hornchurch vs Canvey Island from the touchline at Bridge Avenue with son Ricky less than a month after suffering a stroke (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

Interim manager Colin McBride gave Jed Chouman his first ninety minutes for over three months, as Hornchurch said farewell to the Isthmian League North with an eight-match unbeaten run.

Chris Assombalonga scored against his old club, Waltham Abbey, with a well-taken header from Chouman’s centre, on the stroke of half time.

We could easily have been three goals ahead at the interval, but failed to take our chances, and we then conceded two goals in seven minutes, before McBride made a triple substitution.

After which Waltham Abbey had to withstand some sustained pressure, with Theo Fairweather-Johnson getting the equaliser six minutes from time, after Leon McKenzie had created the opening from an Alex Bentley free kick.

We now have to wait to find out who else will join us in the Premier Division. Potters Bar have taken the second automatic promotion place, and the play-off final is between Haringey Borough and Canvey Island.

Canvey must be favourites, having signed two players from the National League South specifically for the play-offs, a move that has brought widespread condemnation.

Canvey have not broken any rules, but they have won few admirers by their actions, and it is likely that most neutrals will be hoping that Haringey Borough win the play-off final on Sunday.

Celebrations at the final whistle as Hornchurch are crowned Bostik North champions (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Celebrations at the final whistle as Hornchurch are crowned Bostik North champions (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

We have had plenty of highlights this season - George Purcell’s goal at Brentwood Town, or to be more specific, at Aveley as the Brentwood ground was waterlogged and the match was switched to the Aveley 3G surface.

Chris Assombalonga’s goal in the same match, followed by his over-exuberant celebrations that earned his a yellow card.

Connor Hogan’s incredible goal against Heybridge Swifts, and Tobi Joseph’s two goals in the 4-1 away win at Bury Town.

For many, the highlight of the home matches was when Dave Collis played the entire second half in goal against Maldon & Tiptree after Simon Bloch was injured, with Collis dictating the play from the back.

Away from home we have had excellent support, in particular at Hertford Town, but the highlight came at Witham Town, when the entire team jumped the barriers at the end to join Jimmy McFarlane and over one hundred supporters on the terracing.

But when it comes to apportioning the honours, let’s not forget our defensive record, conceding just 35 goals in 46 matches, and also finding time to score 15 goals at the other end - Nathan Cooper eight, Elliot Styles and Kenzer Lee three each, and one from Alex Bentley.

Jimmy McFarlane was a defender, and it is fitting that our defence has contributed so much to our promotion this season.

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