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Jimmy McFarlane’s Hornchurch to face Haringey Borough twice in a week while pre-season preparations continue at Grays Athletic

PUBLISHED: 13:30 26 July 2016

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic; Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (pic; Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 8450 946026

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Hornchurch travelled to Hythe Town as part of manager Jim McFarlane’s pre-season preparations on what was the busiest day of the year for the Channel Ports with delays of up to six hours on the approach roads.

Three of our supporters decided on an unusual way to get to Hythe - they took the train to Folkestone and then walked the 4.7 miles to the ground along the coastal footpath - so congratulations to Annie, Pete and Dave who found their own unique way of avoiding the jams.

There was however a problem prior to the match, as two of the match officials had reported sick in the morning and the referee called for volunteers to run the line.

Hythe are nicknamed the Cannons and the ground is unique in that it is the only one in senior football alongside a military firing range which bounds the ground on two sides, although it was not in use on Saturday.

The only shots fired were at the match, one of which went into the Urchins goal after just four minutes, to put us one down, thanks to a defensive mix-up.

Hythe added a second three minutes after half time, and McFarlane introduced some of the trialists including Suley Zuhdu, who was with Essex Olympian League club Manford Way last season, and who had an impressive scoring record of seven in seventeen matches as well as three player of the match awards.

Also on trial is JJ Da Cruz, who played in defence for the first pre-season matches, but then went up front at Hythe.

Da Cruz was with Enfield Town last season, making 25 appearances, and if McFarlane does sign him, he will be the first player from the Cape Verde Islands to play for the Urchins.

So far the only confirmed signing is George Woodward, who was last season with local rivals Romford.

Ricky Freeman pulled a goal back with a well timed chip over the goalkeeper from a very narrow angle, but Hythe comfortably played out the two minutes that remained.

In the League Cup, Hornchurch have been given a home tie against Haringey Borough, which means that we now meet Haringey twice inside a week at the Bridge, although the league cup match will have to be rearranged should the FA Cup tie at Aveley end in a draw.

Hythe was a new ground for most of our supporters on Saturday, and our travelling support was also given a ‘bonus new ground’ three days earlier when the match against Redbridge was switched to the Fords Sports complex.

In the 1950s it was the home of Ford Sports FC, who eventually merged with Briggs Sports to become Ford Utd, who in turn changed their name to Redbridge FC, who, albeit for just one match, returned to their original venue in Aldborough Road South.

Our next match is on Wednesday against Grays Athletic, who are again ground sharing at Aveley, who in turn are still playing at Mill Field, as their new ground is a long way from being ready. And next Saturday we are away to Leatherhead, so that means another trip around the M25.


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