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'No complaints' as Hornchurch lose Ryman North promotion play-off

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 May 2016

Despondent Hornchurch players contemplate Harlow's opening goal (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

Despondent Hornchurch players contemplate Harlow's opening goal (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

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Harlow were better than us says manager Jimmy McFarlane

Hornchurch striker George Purcell tries a long-range effort against Harlow (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)Hornchurch striker George Purcell tries a long-range effort against Harlow (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane had no complaints after seeing his side lose their Ryman North promotion play-off final at Harlow.

Urchins fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Harlow Arena to see their hopes of a quick return to the Premier Division shattered.

But boss McFarlane admitted they were second best on the day.

He said: “We had no complaints. They were cleverer than us.

David Knight of Hornchurch is crowded out by the Harlow defence (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)David Knight of Hornchurch is crowded out by the Harlow defence (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

“The best side won. We huffed and we puffed but we never got nowhere near the heights that we got on Wednesday at Thurrock.”

Goals from George Purcell and Junior Luke had led Urchins to a 2-0 win at Ship Lane in midweek, but they found themselves behind after only 12 minutes.

Junior Dadson found space on the left to cross for Piers Wixon, who somehow missed with the goal at his mercy from close range as he hit the crossbar, but the ball rebounded into the net off Elliot Styles.

Harlow then broke out from a Hornchurch corner to double their lead, with Alex Read teeing up Wixon for a tap-in.

Ibrahima Sonko and Layne Eadie of Harlow Town challenge Hornchurch's Dave Collis (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)Ibrahima Sonko and Layne Eadie of Harlow Town challenge Hornchurch's Dave Collis (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

And although Purcell replied from the spot, after a foul on Tambeson Eyong, the visitors conceded just past the hour when left-back Layne Eadie flashed home a speculative effort.

McFarlane added: “We gave away three poor, poor goals. We’ve got the best goals against record, but we never dealt with the ball on all three goals.

“We had a chance to deal with it and we never did, but in big games that’s what happens.

“I thought even at 2-0 we were still in with a chance and I thought we looked dangerous with balls over the top but we just seemed to lose momentum and the third goal just absolutely killed us.

Sam Mott of Hornchurch (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)Sam Mott of Hornchurch (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

“I don’t think any goalie would’ve got that. The minute it left his foot, especially with a bit of wind as well, you could see it was sailing in.”

Purcell’s penalty had raised hopes of a fightback, but Urchins lost momentum when play was held up for several minutes due to a disturbance in the crowd behind the dugouts.

And another lengthy hold-up for keeper Sam Mott to have treatment to a head injury early in the second half proved equally frustrating.

McFarlane said: “When there’s all those stoppages, if you’re winning you don’t mind, because it takes the wind out of the sails of the other team. But when you’re trying to get into it...

Harlow players celebrate after Layne Eadie nets their third goal against Hornchurch (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)Harlow players celebrate after Layne Eadie nets their third goal against Hornchurch (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

“I thought we were just getting better when Motty got injured and it knocked the stuffing out of him.

But hand on heart we just didn’t have enough. George wasn’t his normal self, he took a knock in the first half and looked a bit laboured, but fair play to Harlow. I’ve got no complaints.”

Purcell was replaced for the final quarter of an hour, plus 11 minutes of stoppage time, as Hornchurch went with three up front.

But substitutes Ricky Freeman and Leon McKenzie had little joy alongside David Knight as Sam West and Senegal international Ibrahima Sonko held firm at the heart of the Hawks defence.

McFarlane added: “I don’t get this thing with Sonko. Everybody I talk to says he can’t do this, but I think he’s a terrific player. I really do.

“He doesn’t lose a thing in both boxes and he heads the ball. and I thought he was top, top drawer.

“They were better than us. No hard luck stories today, we’ve got no-one to blame, we can’t blame the referee.

“I don’t think there’s any excuses, they’ve had just as long a season as us, I don’t think there’s an excuse.

“On the day, we were outplayed. I’m not a person who looks for excuses, because today’s there wasn’t one. They were better than us.”

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