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Hornchurch blog: One point is better than none

PUBLISHED: 12:02 17 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:02 17 August 2016

Jamie Dicks of Romford and George Purcell of Hornchurch battle for the ball (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Jamie Dicks of Romford and George Purcell of Hornchurch battle for the ball (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Urchins open new campaign with derby draw

Last season Hornchurch left Ship Lane in disbelief after losing 2-0 to Romford in the opening away match of the Ryman North season.

We again made the short journey along Hacton Lane to the same venue for our opener on Saturday and we again left without a win – but at least we kept a clean sheet and brought home one point, and one is better than none at all.

Manager Jim McFarlane was without Paul Goodacre and Abs Thompson, both out with injury, and several players made their debuts, including George Woodward against his old club.

James Morrish has returned to Hornchurch after a gap of six seasons, and captaining both Whitstable and Hythe Town in between, while Kenzer Lee, who was with Bishop’s Stortford last season, and Ayrton Coley, who has played for both Sudbury and Canvey Island, were also debuting.

It took most of the first half for the new-look squad to settle and just when it seemed they were getting into their stride, we lost Elliot Styles and Morrish in the space of three minutes, to what we hope are only minor injuries.

This gave McFarlane the opportunity to bring on another newcomer, JJ Da Cruz, who played most of his football in Portugal before joining Enfield Town.

We had the ball in the net twice, Ricky Freeman on both occasions, but both were disallowed for infringements.

After dominating most of the second half, Hornchurch then had to endure a nervous final 20 seconds of stoppage time when Romford sent a free kick into a crowded goalmouth, but it ended up in the safe hands of Sam Mott.

Against Haringey last night, we were without Morrish and Nicky Symons, and the popular Dave Collis came into the starting line-up, along with Da Cruz.

Haringey are a much-changed team from the one that struggled last season and gave us a few worrying moments, taking the lead with just over 20 minutes left to play.

But Styles, who was playing his 461st match for Hornchurch having never managed to score more than one goal in any match, netted twice, once to put Hornchurch into the lead and then again six minutes from time to score the winning goal, after another defender, Nathan Cooper, had also scored.

We return to Thurrock on Friday, but it is to Mill Field, Aveley, where we have already played Grays and Billericay during pre-season.

This time it is against Aveley, in the FA Cup preliminary round.

Aveley are moving to a new ground, just off the Aveley by-pass, but it is far from ready and the entire once-green area is now rapidly disappearing, as houses are springing up all along the main road.

If we beat Aveley, the reward is a trip to pastures new: either to Rushden & Diamonds, who play at Wellingborough’s Dog and Duck ground, or to Northampton Sileby Rangers, whose ground is at Fernie Fields, just off the main road from Northampton to Kettering.

If the match is against Rushden & Diamonds, and regardless of whether it is Aveley or ourselves who go there, there may well be a change of date, as the hosts, Wellingborough Town, are also drawn at home on the same day.

So someone will have to switch to a Friday or a Sunday, but first we have to beat Aveley on Friday.

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