McFarlane happy Hornchurch are in hat

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 September 2018

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

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

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane was happy to see his side get the job done and beat East Grinstead Town in the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday.

Tobi Coker of Hornchurch and Callum Emptage of East Grinstead (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Tobi Coker of Hornchurch and Callum Emptage of East Grinstead (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

George Purcell broke the deadlock in the first minute of the second half, having seen an effort cleared off the line in the first half.

And although the visitors hit back to level soon after, Sean Marks forced home a close-range winner to secure a 2-1 victory and £9,000 in prize money for Urchins.

McFarlane said: “The main thing is we’re in the hat. That was the main thing. Performance was always going to be second.

“I said at half time, I thought we were dangerously comfortable. We never looked like we were going to lose the game, but lucky things happen, you get a bad bounce, a mistake, human error, and all of a sudden you’re chasing a game you were always in total control of.

Ryan Johnson of East Grinstead tangles with Sean Marks of Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Ryan Johnson of East Grinstead tangles with Sean Marks of Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

“They impressed me the way they popped it around, but that’s what the report said. They didn’t put one corner into the box without two people touching it first of all.

“But what I’ve seen and coming out of Bostik North last year, they’re better than their league position says. They are as good as some of the top sides we played in the North last year and certainly not a bottom-four team. League tables are not the truth really at this time of year.”

Both sides created half-chances in the opening 45 minutes at Bridge Avenue, on a wet afternoon, but McFarlane felt the tie lacked excitement.

He added: “We changed our formation to try and give us a bit more going forward and they didn’t struggle to cope with it at times, we did.

“I thought it was a bit flat first half, it needed a spark, an ‘ooh’ or some woodwork or a bad tackle, something.

“They looked like they were expecting to be second best and we looked like we thought we had a divine right to boss the game. No-one really grabbed the game.”

Urchins got their noses in front straight from the restart, though, when Purcell seized on a throw-in from Alex Bentley to fire a low shot inside the post for his 133rd goal for the club, only for to George Landais to level five minutes later with a low, curling effort.

And McFarlane added: “I’m not too sure what happened with their goal. The most dangerous time for a team to concede is just after they’ve scored.

“That could’ve been the turning point of the game, their tails were up and we could’ve thought we’ve got a game on our hands and then we’re out of the cup.”

Hornchurch regained the lead, however, when Purcell sent the ball into the six-yard box from the left and Marks pounced to force it in off a post from close range.

And after seeing his side extend their unbeaten start to the season to 10 games in all competitions, McFarlane paid tribute to his matchwinner, after he was caught by East Grinstead’s Ryan Johnson, who was sent off in the closing stages.

“Sean seems to be cut or bruised every week, but it’s part and parcel. He reminds me of an old Joe Jordan type centre-forward,” he added.

“Tobi Coker was our best player by a distance, I thought. The defenders did their job as they always do, but Tobi gave us that bit of quality. Good on the ball, energetic and he put his foot in when he had to.

“I know we need more goals and they will come. There isn’t one game when we’ve missed opportunities. The time to panic is when you’re not creating chances.

“I’ve never been one to be easily pleased, but the whole purpose of us being here was to be in the hat.

“I don’t want to be too negative or critical, but I’m expecting more from us. But that’s 10 games unbeaten now which at our level in the FA Cup and league, is a fantastic achievement.

“The good thing and positive for me was I know there is so much more to come.”

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