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The AFC Hornchurch blog

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 December 2018

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

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Theo Fairweather-Johnson of Hornchurch during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018Theo Fairweather-Johnson of Hornchurch during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

December - A new ground, a new month, and a new manager. But, with so many players out with injury, the squad virtually selected itself. Mark Stimson’s first match was away at Whitehawk, and perhaps we should not be surprised, as our previous twelve managers had all started their reign with an away game.

We have to go back to August 1986, when Keith Goodwin took charge, with a home match against Letchworth.

And perhaps we should not be too surprised that the game ended all square, as seven of the previous ‘firsts’ had also ended level, and five of these ended in goalless draws.

Mark Stimson’s first match in charge was at Whitehawk - Result - 1-1

George Saunders of Hornchurch during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018George Saunders of Hornchurch during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

Jim McFarlane - (September-09) at Margate - 0-0

Colin McBride - (August-06) at Enfield Town - 2-1

John Lawrence - (August-05) at Waltham Abbey - 0-1

Tony Choules - (Jan-05) at Maidenhead - 2-2

Lewwis Spence of Hornchurch scores the second goal for his team and celebrates during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018Lewwis Spence of Hornchurch scores the second goal for his team and celebrates during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

Garry Hill - at (August-04) Weston-Super-Mare - 0-0

Gary Calder - (April-04) at Grays - 0-0

George Borg - (Aug-03) at Hendon - 0-1

Micky Marsden - (April-98) at Southall - 0-0

Dave Cox - Aug-94) - at Harefield - 2-1

Keith Newman - (Aug-90) - at Barton Rovers - 1-0

Arthur Wenborn - (August-89) - at Aveley - 0-0

Brian McFadyen - (august-87) - at Finchley - 0-2

And at last, a home match for a new manager -

Keith Goodwin - (August-86) -home to Letchworth - 2-1

The previous two were also both away -

Paul Delea - (Dec-83) - at Walton & Hersham - 0-0

Brian Davie - April-83) - at Farnborough - 0-2

Mark Stimson has an excellent record, both as a player, and as manager. He was with Tottenham Hotspur as a youth player, between 1984 and 1988, and he made two appearances in their first team during that time.

He had loan spells at Leyton Orient, where he made ten appearances, and at Gillingham for whom he played eighteen times.

His next senior club was Newcastle Utd, and in two seasons he scored two goals in 86 appearances.

He then played for Portsmouth, making 62 appearances and scoring twice. After a short loan spell at Barnet, his next club was Southend Utd, and 67 appearances, and another loan spell, at Leyton Orient.

His first snon-league club was Canvey Island, from 1999 to 2002, where he took them to two F.A. Trophy finals, He played in their 1-0 win over Forest Green in 2000-01, and he took them to the final in 2003-04, when they lost 1-0 to Hednesford.

He became player-manager at Grays Athletic from 2002 to 2006. He took them to two FA Trophy successes - a 6-5 win on penalties in 2004-05 against Hucknall Town, after the match had ended 1-1, and a 2-0 win over Woking the following season.

Grays also won promotion to the Conference under his management, having signed five players from Hornchurch in November of that season when our financial troubles forced us to release all our contract players. The five were Ashley Bayes, John Martin, Steve West, Lee Matthews and Jamie Stuart.

He managed Stevenage Borough the following season, and they were also FA Trophy winners, beating Kidderminster Harriers 3-2, to give him a unique record of four F.A. Trophy wins with three different clubs.

His next club was Gillingham, and in 2008-09 they were play-off winners. After Gillingham he managed Barnet and Kettering Town, before going to Thurrock in 2012, where he remained until they folded last season.

This season he was at Waltham Abbey, and they were in fifth position in the league when he left them to take over at Bridge Avenue.

Our cup form is in marked contrast to our league form, and Mark’s first win came on Tuesday against Great Wakering. It’s not often we have two visiting players sent off in the same match, but it happened on Tuesday at Bridge Avenue against Great Wakering. By an incredible coincidence, sixteen years ago, almost to the day (7th December 2002), Rovers also had two players sent off in their match here, and there was further confrontation at the final whistle, after Adam Locke had hit the winning goal with almost the last kick of a very lengthy period of stoppage time.

We are at home on Saturday, when we play a revitalized Kingstonian, and again on Tuesday, against Potters Bar.

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