Bostik North: Hornchurch fail to sink Dockers before beast from the east causes problems for local rivals Concord Rangers and Billericay Town

PUBLISHED: 18:00 28 February 2018

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (left) and Colin McBride (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (left) and Colin McBride (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Christian Assombalonga of Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Christian Assombalonga of Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Colin McBride was in charge for our match against Tilbury, and it turned out to be one of our worst performances of the season.

We were more than happy to go in at the interval with a one goal lead, thanks to Chris Assombalonga, who converted a George Purcell centre in the final minute of the half, but our second half showing left a lot to be desired, as we allowed a rampant Tilbury side to take control.

Tilbury drew level midway through the second period when a shot eluded a crowd of defenders and ended up in the net, and we then spent much of the time having to concentrate on defence, with Sam Mott, back again after breaking a finger, making three good saves to earn us a point.

Ironically our performance was very similar to the match at Tilbury earlier in the season, when we were forced to defend desperately in the final fifteen minutes.

We were without a match in midweek, but so was the rest of the teams in our league, thanks to the sharp fall in temperature that caused all other matches to be postponed.

It also gave rise to a couple of controversial incidents, starting when Concord Rangers refused to make the 300 plus miles journey to Truro for their midweek fixture.

The rules clearly state that the referee is the person to decide on whether a match can be called off, but with severe weather warnings all over the south of the country, apart it seems from Cornwall, Concord’s reluctance to make the journey was understandable.

In the event the match was postponed anyway, though Concord could still be charged with failing to fulfil a fixture.

Perhaps, with the weather warnings all at amber, the league should have stepped in and called the match off, in view of the predicted travel difficulties.

Anthony McDonald of Haringey Borough under pressure from Jamie Hursit of Hornchurch (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo)Anthony McDonald of Haringey Borough under pressure from Jamie Hursit of Hornchurch (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo)

One match that did manage to go ahead was Billericay Town’s trip to Wingate & Finchley, where the pitch was passed as playable at the afternoon pitch inspection.

Unfortunately the rapid fall in temperature meant that the referee, whilst able to start the game, had no choice other than to call a halt to proceedings with after less than twenty minutes play.

The new structure for next season has been provisionally announced, with the Isthmian League having a very geographically restricted area, from Ipswich in the north, to Bournemouth in the south west, and Kent in the south east.

All of which means that we could have a few new grounds to visit next season, subject of course to winning promotion. It also means that we could be minus our very popular trips to East Anglia.

With a touch of irony, the lower divisions of the Isthmian League cover a much wider area, and takes in part of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Whilst Hornchurch are looking towards winning the league, or at least getting promoted, the news at Thurrock is not so good, with unconfirmed stories that this could well be their final season, with the ground and surrounding land up for sale, and so far without any offers.

This could mean the demise of Thurrock, hopefully only a worst-case scenario, but do we really want yet another Essex club to go the way of so many others?

It could also mean massive problems for their tenants, Romford FC, who are already in a relegation battle, and who could well be themselves heading for the Essex Senior League.

We hope not, and we could do them a big favour this weekend when, snow permitting, we travel to Cheshunt, who are just two points above Romford, but Cheshunt are now under new management, in the shape of Craig Edwards.

This is not going to be an easy match - they never are when Craig Edwards is in charge of the opposition - and Cheshunt have recently had impressive wins over Bowers & Pitsea, and also Waltham Abbey.

Plus a not-so-impressive 4-1 loss at Aveley. They do however have one of the best scorers in the division in their side, namely Jason Hallett, and they have recently signed Ricky Sappleton from Heybridge Swifts, so they cannot be taken lightly.

So our part, we have Leon McKenzie available for selection, after serving a two-match suspension for picking up ten yellow cards, and Kenzer Lee is back after injury.

We hope for a good turnout at Cheshunt, but the main unknown factor is of course the weather - will it be on or off? The forecast is not brilliant, so we will just have to wait and hope.

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