Unhappy start for Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 09:32 11 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:32 11 August 2013

George Purcell went close to a goal for Hornchurch against Lewes (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

George Purcell went close to a goal for Hornchurch against Lewes (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Ryman Premier: Hornchurch 0 Lewes 1

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane was disappointed to see his side lose their opening fixture of the new Ryman Premier campaign at Bridge Avenue.

A first-half header by Ade Olorunda was the difference between the sides and McFarlane bemoaned his side’s inability to take their chances.

“If you don’t take your chances, you don’t win anything and that was the story,” said McFarlane.

“We probably created three chances but they were all chances we missed, we never made the goalie make a save.

“George (Purcell) could have scored, Elliot (Styles) could have scored. There was a few of them that could have gone in but I’m very disappointed.”

Styles made his 300th appearance for the club at the heart of their defence and McFarlane handed debuts to Inigo Echepare, Phil Starkey and George Purcell.

Spanish keeper Echepare impressed, especially in the first half as he produced several top class saves.

Firstly he denied Olorunda with a fantastic finger-tip save from the forward’s powerful header and in the sixth minute he made himself big to block Fraser Logan’s effort from inside the box.

Echepare was however, unable to prevent Lewes from taking the lead in the 18th minute as Jack Dixon crossed from the right and Olorunda, who looked offside, ran onto the ball to head home from 12 yards.

McFarlane felt the goal was offside but did go on to praise his keeper’s performance and continued to talk about the Spaniard in high esteem.

“You are speaking to the preacher. I’ve backed him all summer and I think he’ll get better and better,” added the Urchins boss.

“He hasn’t put a foot wrong so far, so I’m real pleased with him.”

Hornchurch made a double substitution at half-time as Frankie Curley and new signing Ade Yusuff came on for Joey May and Chris Bourne.

It meant the Urchins switched to a 4-3-3 formation but despite McFarlane praising the second half-display, he was frustrated his side wasn’t more threatening out wide.

He said: “We was very lethargic in the first half, we never got going and grizzled about the referee.

“Second half we changed it around and we were the better side.

“We didn’t get the delivery in the box, out wide we never really looked a massive goal threat.”

Hornchurch’s best chances fell to Purcell and the fans at Bridge Avenue thought he had equalised in the 47th minute but his shot unfortunately hit the side netting.

The forward had another good opportunity 16 minutes into the second half but shot straight at Rikki Banks after Yusuff had played him through on goal.

Styles came close to celebrating his landmark with a goal but his header was saved and it meant the Urchins were consigned to an opening day defeat.

They visit Margate on Tuesday.

Hornchurch: Echepare, Coyne, Bentley, Hayles, Styles, Starkey, Spencer (Lawrence 84), May (Curley 46), Rook, Purcell, Bourne (Yussuf 46).

*There was opening-day disappointment for Romford in Ryman Division One North as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Needham Market.

Boro fell behind early on as Ian Westlake put the hosts ahead.

But the match remained in the balance until the closing minutes when Lee Townrow and Sam Newson added late goals for the Marketmen.

Paul Martin’s side will look to bounce back when they host Waltham Forest at Ship Lane on Tuesday.

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