Bostik North: Jimmy McFarlane hails Hornchurch squad after first promotion and then the Bostik North title is sealed!
PUBLISHED: 11:30 19 April 2018
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The Urchins manager lauded the team effort from his players and admitted the whole group have been a pleasure to manage
Jimmy McFarlane heaped praise on his Hornchurch players after watching them seal promotion and the title over the past week.
The Urchins manager, who is on the mend after suffering a stroke on February 19, revealed his pride at witnessing the two wins this week which secured their goals for the season.
Hornchurch’s 6-1 thrashing of Witham Town on Saturday saw them secure promotion back to the Bostik Premier and Tuesday’s 2-0 victory at home to Mildenhall Town won the Bostik North title.
McFarlane watched both from the stands while Colin McBride continues to take charge of first-team affairs and hailed his squad.
He said: “Someone was talking to me on Tuesday and said ‘so and so has had a good season’ and replied everyone has had a good year and I think we got the right ones in last summer.
“We didn’t only bring in good players, we got good people and that’s so important because you need the right type of people and all of our lads are willing to listen and learn and I can’t praise them enough.
“They never moan in training, they never make excuses and this squad has probably got the most togetherness I’ve seen in any of my teams and they are all mates and that’s so important.
“It would be unjust for me to pick certain people out because it has been a real squad performance and they have been a pleasure to manage.”
McFarlane’s words ring true, it has been all about the team with George Purcell (24), Brad Warner (16), Theo Fairweather-Johnson (15) and Leon McKenzie (13) sharing the goals around.
At the back, Hornchurch have been the clean sheet club with the shut-out on Tuesday their 23rd in all competitions this season.
The Urchins manager has been particularly impressed with the way his side recovered from their 1-0 loss at Bowers & Pitsea on March 23.
Hornchurch have won their five games since to storm to promotion and the title with Warner grabbing a brace at Witham alongside goals from Eliot Styles, Purcell, Alex Bentley and Chris Assombalonga.
Warner was on target again on Tuesday, but it was centre back Nathan Cooper who opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the campaign.
McFarlane added: “The reaction since the Bowers defeat shows the character of the squad. Other teams could have been derailed, but not this group.
“They pushed on and every time we have had a bad result this season we have kicked on even more and that shows the sign of a good team.”
After the loss at the Len Salmon Stadium, nerves were understandably building with Bowers only seven points behind the leaders.
Potters Bar Town and Heybridge Swifts were also in fine form at the time and were due to visit Bridge Avenue before the end of the season.
But Hornchurch didn’t panic and instead ground out excellent 1-0 wins over Town and Swifts on their way to becoming champions.
“It is very satisfying,” said McFarlane. “I have always thought we were good enough, but it got a little bit nervy when Potters Bar were on their great run and Heybridge were going strong.
“But the players have been fantastic throughout and I can’t praise them and everyone else at the club enough and it is mission accomplished.”
It is not only good news on the pitch either, as McFarlane’s recovery from his stoke two months ago is also going well.
He admitted the recent success has certainly helped, adding: “My recovery is going well. I am trying to be patient, but I think where I did so well at the start, I expected the pace of my recovery to stay at that speed and it doesn’t work out like that.
“There is no timescale for these things, but I feel as well as I would like to feel and the recent results have been good medicine.”