The AFC Hornchurch blog
PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 February 2019
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We had two matches over the weekend, with mixed, but encouraging, results.
Earlier in the season, in October, we lost at Corinthian-Casuals, that defeat signaling the start of our eleven week run in the league without a win, eventually ended with our 4-2 success at Harlow.
We took the field in the wake of two defeats away from home, but with a markedly different team from the one that lost at the then bottom-of-the-table Casuals three months before.
And of course with a new manager, who, in the interim, had made a lot of changes in our squad.
We lost Leon McKenzie, Theo Fairweather-Johnson, Nana Boakye-Yiadom, Tobi Coker, Abdul Anidugbe, Leon Smith, Connor Hogan, Nathan Livings, and Jamie Hursit, plus Brad Warner who had departed prior to Mark Stimson’s arrival.
We gained five players from Thurrock, via Waltham Abbey, plus Glenn Wilson, Taylor Miles and, briefly, Lee Prescott. So we were about to find out if we had improved in those three months.
We had to wait until a minute before the interval, and that was when George Saunders curled a free kick over the defensive wall and into the net.
We had to withstand some considerable Casuals pressure after the break, before a Saunders cross was diverted into his own net by the visiting centre half, though George Purcell was waiting to poke the ball home had the defender missed it.
Purcell was not to be denied, and he added the third goal a few minutes from time, to ease our relegation fears and move us up the table a couple of places.
With no points at stake in the Essex Senior Cup on Monday, we faced a very strong Chelmsford City team, riding high in the Conference South, and we were more than equal to them in the fist half, with Charlie Stimson scoring his first goal since joining us from Waltham Abbey, and we could have increased our lead but for two excellent saves from the home goalkeeper.
City eventually ran out 3-1 winners, but we were still upbeat about our performance, and another plus was that Joe Christou played a full ninety minutes, and two of our youth team, Sonny Dutton and Jack Brown, also had a short introduction to first eleven football, as Mark Stimson continued to give our younger players some experience at the higher level.
This Saturday we travel to Bognor Regis, who are in a mid-table position in the league.
We drew 1-1 in the home encounter in August, with Sean Marks our scorer four minutes into the second half.
And on Tuesday next we are at home to Bracknell Town in the semi final of the Isthmian League cup.
It is seventeen years since we last played Bracknell Town, who are in a play-off position in the league’s South Central Division, so we have no recent matches to give us any clue as what will happen.
Or perhaps we have - as Bracknell played Waltham Abbey on the opening day of the season, and Bracknell won with Liam Ferdinand scoring the only goal of the game.
Three of our current team - Joe Christou, Charlie Stimson and James Goode - were all in the Abbey squad for that match.
Our record in the various league cup competitions is not good. We lost in the final of the Delphian League Cup 1957-58 and reached the semi final of the same competition in 1959-60.
And in 1993-94 we were finalists in the Isthmian League Associate Members Trophy, but the only time we have even won a league cup was the Essex Senior League cup in 2005-06, when we beat Brentwood 2-0.