McFarlane: We didn’t take our chances to sink Fleet

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 December 2015

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

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

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Urchins boss reflects on win against Haringey Borough and defeat at Thurrock

Leon McKenzie scores for Hornchurch against Thurrock (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Leon McKenzie scores for Hornchurch against Thurrock (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane admitted the finishing of his team let them down at Thurrock on Tuesday as they lost 2-1 in Ryman North.

Urchins made the trip to Fleet off the back of a 4-1 success over Haringey Borough last weekend, but lacked their usual clinical edge at Ship Lane.

They were six matches unbeaten prior to facing Thurrock and seemed set to extend that when Leon McKenzie scored his first goal since returning from injury.

It was 1-1 at that point after Joe Christou had put the home side ahead at the break by scoring against his former club.

But Lewwis Spence fired past Sam Mott in the 90th minute to leave Hornchurch without any reward for their efforts.

McFarlane said: “It was a game of two halves. Thurrock had the better of the first period, although we grew into it towards the end.

“Then we changed our formation at the break and dominated afterwards, creating a hatful of chances.

“We had one off the line, hit the post, Leon had one saved after he had scored and then they get an opportunity late on and take it.

“Not very often have I been able to criticise our shooting, but it cost us at Thurrock.”

A positive for Hornchurch was the goalscoring return of McKenzie, who is working his way back to full fitness after missing 14 months of football with ligament damage he suffered back in September 2014.

The forward found the net against Thurrock, but although McFarlane is keen to give him more time on the pitch, he needs to manage his recovery.

“You have got to remember how long Leon has been out for. As much as we would like to start him, I don’t want him to get another injury,” said McFarlane.

“He could easily get one if we put him on for too long and his muscles get fatigued. It is a bit of a catch-22 for me at the moment.

“Leon needs minutes, but if I was to play him in an under-21 match, then we lose him on a Saturday. Every time he has come on he has made an impact.

“We started off by giving him 10 minutes and then 15, before 20. At Thurrock he came on in the 73rd minute and we had eight minutes stoppage time so he got around 25.

“By Christmas we are hoping to get him up to 45, but as much as I want him to start, I would like him to be available for the rest of the season, not just a couple of games.”

Hornchurch did not need McKenzie to make a positive impression at the weekend as they comfortably defeated Haringey Borough at Bridge Avenue

George Purcell was the star of the show, firing a hat-trick to inspire Urchins to three points and take his league tally to 19.

Abs Thompson was also on target and McFarlane added: “George is working really hard and when you do that you get your rewards and I am sure it won’t be the last time he gets a hat-trick this season.”

Hornchurch are now third with 46 points from 22 matches, five behind leaders Cray.

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