Hornchurch look to arrest slide after Met Police defeat

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 January 2014

AFC Hornchurch will be hoping to celebrate once again when they take on Canvey Island on Saturday at Bridge Avenue. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

AFC Hornchurch will be hoping to celebrate once again when they take on Canvey Island on Saturday at Bridge Avenue. 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

For a period during November and December, Hornchurch played seven matches, kept four clean sheets and conceded just four goals as they secured five wins which made them the form Ryman Premier team.

But they haven’t won in the league since December 14, losing their last three league fixtures and conceding seven goals to leave manager Jimmy McFarlane disappointed, including the 2-1 loss at Met Police last weekend.

The sudden leaking of goals was amended on Tuesday night though when they shut out Dagenham & Redbridge in the Essex Senior Cup to progress to the semi-finals but prior to that it had become a bane for McFarlane.

The Hornchurch manager said: “We had four clean sheets and now we keep conceding sloppy goals. Two of our best players on Saturday against Met Police were Rickie Hayles and Elliot Styles.

“The goals are coming from different areas. The two we conceded were very, very bad goals to concede.

“I can’t actually remember the last time we conceded a proper goal, by that I mean one which wasn’t a mistake or sloppy.”

The Hornchurch manager praised his team’s performance against the League Two side and was pleased to get a response following three straight league defeats.

“I know I am always bias but I thought we thoroughly deserved it. I thought we were the better side first and second half.,” he said.

“Our defending was superb, I wouldn’t want to single one person out. Rickie (Hayles) and Elliot (Styles) have been good all year and Billy Coyne tonight was outstanding.

“Joe (May) come into the side and did really well, Frank (Curley) looked more like himself, Sam (Lechmere) did really well and Leigh Bremner.

“Stefan Payne looked like he was getting back to how he was and bare in mind the pitch was awful.

“I asked for a response tonight and it was top drawer stuff.”

At the Police, McFarlane had been frustrated by another late error, which saw Phil Starkey slip and allow the hosts in for a late winner, after George Purcell had levelled for the Urchins.

Amd the Urchins chief put the blame partly down to the latest range of football boots non-league players now decided to wear.

“The second half was the only positive, it was hard not to improve though. Including Billericay and Bury that was our worst 45 minutes of the season,” said McFarlane.

“Phil is one of those lads that gives you everything. He is a great trainer, a great player but he and others needs to sort their footwear out.

“It is the 90th minute, we are under no pressure. Elliot Styles plays it out to Phil, he goes to pass and falls over and then the guy scores.

“Everyone wears modern day Premier League boots but we aren’t playing on Premier League pitches.

“It is the wrong footwear. I keep banging on at them to get proper footwear with long studs, they need to learn.”

Bognor Regis Town won on Tuesday to push Hornchurch out of the play-off positions, but they’re only five points off top spot.

McFarlane revealed his frustration that they haven’t taken advantage of some helpful results in recent weeks involving their rivals.

He added: “Results around us have been quite kind and if we had kept up our form, won a few matches we should have, then we could have had a little lead. That is frustrating.

“The problem at the moment is too many of my key players have been off form at the same time. No one can go all season without a blip but a lot were off at the same time.”

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