Hornchurch will 'learn, go again' after play-off blow says Stimson

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson applauds his players

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson applauds his players - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson says they will recover from their Isthmian League Premier Division play-off final heartbreak.

Urchins were beaten 2-1 by Cheshunt, who secured promotion to National League South in front of a 2,035-strong crowd at Bridge Avenue on Bank Holiday Monday.

But while admitting to a great sense of disappointment, Stimson felt his side had done all they could on the day.

"We're frustrated, disappointed, but we will settle down and realise we couldn't do any more," he said.

"On another day we'd score three or four goals, but we have to take it on the chin, learn from it and go again."

Cheshunt took the lead on 19 minutes as Amadou Kassarate headed home from Joe Re's free-kick.

Amadou Kassarate celebrates putting Cheshunt ahead at Hornchurch

Amadou Kassarate celebrates putting Cheshunt ahead at Hornchurch - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

But Urchins were back on terms on 35 minutes when Ollie Muldoon found Liam Nash on the right and Tobi Joseph laid the cross back for Joe Christou to fire home.

Hornchurch players celebrate after Joe Christou's equaliser against Cheshunt

Hornchurch players celebrate after Joe Christou's equaliser against Cheshunt - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

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Joe Wright saved a Rowan Liburd penalty just before the break, but was beaten by a stunning Zack Newton effort into the top corner midway through the second half.

Stimson added: "It was one of those games, a cup final, tight, between two good teams going for it.

"You don't expect it to be fluent, it was edgy, a scrappy first half. But we got to 1-1 at half-time.

"We knew the way they'd play and we dealt with that. Was it a penalty? I'm glad we didn't lose on that, it was a great save from Joe Wright.

Joe Wright of Hornchurch saves a penalty from Rowan Liburd of Cheshunt

Joe Wright of Hornchurch saves a penalty from Rowan Liburd of Cheshunt - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

"Second half we did everything except score. We created good chances, there was some great defending by Cheshunt, we had one off the line and they scored a wonder goal. 

"You have to hold your hands up. If he hits it 10 times, only one goes in."

Cheshunt players celebrate after Zack Newton's stunning goal against Hornchurch

Cheshunt players celebrate after Zack Newton's stunning goal against Hornchurch - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Urchins kept attacking throughout the second half and thought they had snatched a last-gasp leveller when Jordan Clark turned the ball home, only for a free-kick to be awarded to Cheshunt.

And Stimson, who said the loss of Tom Wraight in their semi-final win at Enfield Town was 'the biggest blow we could've had' felt the rub of the green went against his men.

He added: "After watching the game back, I thought the goal we had disallowed was harsh. You need a bit of luck at times and we didn't get it.

Frustration for Jordan Clark of Hornchurch against Cheshunt

Frustration for Jordan Clark of Hornchurch against Cheshunt - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

"Ola [Ogunwamide] got down the line and put some good balls in but we have to be honest, the defending by them was fantastic. 

"On another day, those blocks might deflect in. It wasn't for the want of trying, we've given everything and fallen just short at the end.

"You need Lady Luck some times. You've only got to look at our equaliser at Wembley [in the FA Trophy final] last year.

"The ball hits the crossbar and drops down for Charlie Ruff to head/shoulder it in. It could've hit the crossbar and gone over."

Losing in such fashion this season will no doubt hurt, but after some time spent reflecting and resting, Urchins will return to start pre-season in early July.

Hornchurch fans look on during their play-off final against Cheshunt

Hornchurch fans look on during their play-off final against Cheshunt - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

"The club is in a good place, we should be down, it wouldn't be right if we wasn't," said Stimson.

"We've got to regroup, see what we need to do. We might lose one or two who want to play more than they have been, players have been on the bench who are too good not to play regularly. 

"We don't want to lose anyone, the squad is good, but we will juggle it a bit and go with the same effort and attitude, which has been fantastic, on and off the pitch."