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Hornchurch 'must not lose ground' as title tilt hots up

PUBLISHED: 14:00 29 January 2016

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

Urchins boss McFarlane says team face two tricky travels this week

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane knows it is vitally important his team do not let up in Ryman North as they prepare for two crucial trips this week.

Urchins travel to fifth-placed Harlow Town tomorrow (Saturday), before visiting in-form Maldon & Tiptree on Tuesday.

Both represent tough tasks for the Bridge Avenue club, but the trip to Harlow looks particularly important with the sides battling for promotion.

The match at the Hawks is the final installment of an important January for Hornchurch, having also faced promotion candidates Sudbury and Tilbury.

While Urchins did not win either game, they also did not lose and McFarlane knows how important it is to avoid a defeat this weekend.

“I would have liked us to have been winning these games, but we haven’t been beaten and they’re not gaining points on us, whoever we play,” he said.

“We have to keep this run going, we’re seven games unbeaten now so we have to make sure it doesn’t end soon.”

Harlow’s home ground at Barrow Farm makes use of an artifical pitch, a surface Hornchurch have a good record on this season having won two games this year.

Despite their success, McFarlane revealed he doesn’t like artificial pitches, but did acknowledge that it seems to suit his players.

“I’m not a fan of 3G, but we’ve played on it twice this season and they were probably our two best performances away at Worthing and at Sudbury!” he added. “I think the lads like it more than me. I don’t like it because I don’t think it would have done my knees any good.”

Another two matches in quick succession this week should provide striker George Purcell with the perfect chance to become the club’s all-time leading scoring.

After netting in a 2-1 win over Soham Town Rangers last weekend, Purcell is currently level with Alan Noonan, who played for the club in the 1970s.

Purcell scored the opener for his 94th club goal, before the Urchins were pegged back, but Junior Luke struck in the second half to grab the win.

All eyes were on Bridge Avenue on Tuesday with Purcell looking to take sole ownership of the record with a goal against the Dockers.

With the two sides boasting 128 goals between them before the game, a thriller was anticipated at Bridge Avenue.

Swirling winds put paid to that belief, with Purcell coming closest to scoring with a free kick that was deflected wide by Leon McKenzie in a game where chances were few and far between.

But even if Purcell’s wait to break the record goes on, McFarlane has backed his man to eventually stand alone at the top of the club’s scoring charts.

“Everybody knows he’s going to break the record, it’s a case of when rather than if!” he added.

“Two or three weeks ago George was snatching at things before scoring at Sudbury and hit a rocket of a free kick against Soham Town that seems to have settled him.

“I think that bit of frustration is over so even if George doesn’t break the record this week, it won’t affect him mentally.”

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