Double defeats leave McFarlane miserable

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 January 2014

Players surround the referee after a foul on Hornchurch's Rickie Hayles at Bury (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Players surround the referee after a foul on Hornchurch's Rickie Hayles at Bury (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Hornchurch end 2013 with back-to-back losses

Back-to-back defeats against Billericay and Bury left Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane rather miserable as 2013 drew to a close.

Urchins had climbed to the top of the Ryman Premier Division table on the back of a 15-match unbeaten run earlier in the campaign, but stuttered in December and had dropped to fourth place after a 2-1 home defeat in their Boxing Day derby and 3-2 reverse at Bury’s Ram Meadow.

McFarlane said: “Apart from the football I had a nice Christmas. But the football means so much, the results ruined it.

“They shouldn’t have done, but two first-half performances cost us. They were identical games.”

Ricky Sappleton fired Billericay ahead from the penalty spot, after Michael Spencer fouled Josh Ekim, and doubled the visitors lead with an overhead kick.

George Purcell replied just before the break and Billericay had captain Richard Halle and Junior Luke sent off in the second half.

But Urchins could not capitalise against the nine men, with McFarlane adding: “We never got going against Billericay and struggled to cope with their physical approach, which surprised me.

“We camped in their half in the second half, but a few decisions went against us and when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. We did everything but put the ball in the net.”

Hornchurch were held up en route to Suffolk on Saturday, due to an accident on the A12, and conceded two early goals once again after kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes.

Stefan Payne hit back before half-time but Alex Bentley’s own goal restored Bury’s two-goal cushion and Urchins had two efforts ruled out for offside before Payne claimed his 15th goal of the season late on.

McFarlane said: “We started better against Bury, but they’re a good team, they are every year. If you give them three goals, you need to do better than normal.

“Apparently we had 16 efforts on goal in the second half and they only had one but we lost 3-2 and had two disallowed.

“You go by the reactions of the players and from where we were, when Rooky headed in at the far post, you could tell. If he won the lottery he’d probably moan about having to pay the tax on it!

“It was another one of those days but the positives from Boxing Day and Saturday are that we responded at half-time. Playing for only 45 minutes is not enough though to beat good sides.”

Hornchurch were left to kick their heels on New Year’s Day, having seen their scheduled fixture at Lowestoft moved forward earlier in the season.

And that only served to add to McFarlane’s frustrations.

“When you’ve had poor results it festers,” he said. “I would’ve liked to have played on New Year’s Day, even if it was all the way to Lowestoft.

“But now we’ve got to keep our fingers crossed for Saturday, with the forecast being awful again.”

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