The AFC Hornchurch blog
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 February 2019
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After beating Enfield Town in our last match, we were optimistic about our chances when we travelled around the M25 to Leatherhead.
We had our usual large away following, enhanced by a growing number of ex-Thurrock supporters who have switched their allegiances to Hornchurch, but our optimism was tempered somewhat when we found out that we were without George Saunders, Sean Marks and George Winn, and manager Mark Stimson was only able to name two substitutes in what was a much-depleted squad.
To make matters worse, with just ten minutes on the clock, we lost George Purcell to a straight red, and we faced the next eighty minutes a player down and against an in-form team that had won five and drawn one of its last six league games.
We then went a goal behind on twenty minutes and it began to look like it would be a question of damage limitation.
Our sombre mood lasted just three minutes - Kenzer Lee headed a corner back across the six-yard box for Charlie Stimson to finish of, and we were back in the hunt for the points.
Twenty minutes from time, Lewwis Spence scored the winning goal from a Ronnie Winn cross.
We then endured what seemed to be a never-ending period of time added on for stoppages, mainly for a mass of yellow cards.
As Max, our regular announcer, often points out, years ago referees would control a game through player management, and now it has been replaced with management by yellow card.
Yes, the rules and guidance to referees have changed and referees no longer have the power of discretion that they once had, but yellow (and red) cards are getting out of hand.
In simple terms, they are ruining football, when a player knows that an early yellow card can easily lead to dismissal if he picks up a second yellow for a minor offence that, not that long ago, would not have only merited a free kick.
We cannot blame the match officials - they have little choice, especially when an assessor is watching their performance. A return to player management and a little bit of common sense is needed.
This week we are at home to Margate, who had taken seven points from nine since the return of Jay Saunders as manager to Hartsdown Park, and they strengthened their squad with the signing of forward Tobi Sho-Silva, on loan from Dover Athletic.
It seemed as though they were heading for defeat against Carshalton in their midweek match, when they went behind after four minutes, but they grabbed a last minute equalizer through Kendell Daniel.
We went to Margate in December, and, in atrocious conditions, came away with a point from a goalless draw.
Since then, we have lost Jay Porter, to Enfield Town, Taylor Miles, recalled to his parent club Chelmsford City, Nana Boakye-Yiadom, who is at Barking, and Lee Prescott, who is now at East Grinstead.
We will be without George Purcell following his red card at Leatherhead and there is a doubt about George Saunders, recovering from injury.
But we are optimistic, nonetheless.