• By Yann Tear

Proud Stimson says FA Trophy win is a sign Hornchurch belong in higher division


Hornchurch boss Mark Stimson believes the Urchins proved they have it in them to play at a higher level after landing the FA Trophy with a thrilling 3-1 comeback win over Hereford.

Saturday's Wembley triumph was the fourth time the Hornchurch boss has led a club to victory in the non-league's premier showpiece final and he rated it as one of the very best.

They are a division lower than the team they vanquished and eager to get themselves up to level six in the football pyramid.

"I was fortunate to win it three years on the trot and that was special, especially the third one here with Stevenage, where we were 2-0 down at half-time," Stimson said. "But to take Hornchurch to Wembley from the level we're at and with the season we've had, it must be up there. That's how highly I rate this game today

"We brought 3,000 fans today. Our average crowd is about 400. We'd like more of those to come to our stadium next season to help us get out of that league because I think we deserve to be a Conference [National League] South side."

Looking back on a thrilling afternoon for his charges, Stimson said: "We've been on this trip a long while and we're going to enjoy this evening. We've made everyone so proud to be a Hornchurch supporter, or be involved with the club today.

"We've been behind a lot in this competition and it tests the character of players.

"We didn't play particularly well first half - Hereford were better than us and scored a well-worked goal. But at half-time we had a calm chat and came out in the second half trying to get things going.

"To score three goals in this fantastic stadium, everyone can be so proud tonight.

"It has been very difficult season. Many times we didn't know if we could carry on and even train. We went through a period of three weeks where we weren't able to train because we weren't classed as an elite team. But we thought we had a chance in every game and when you've got characters like I've got, they'll take that chance if you let them.

There was a word of praise for match-winner Liam Nash, who fired home the second goal to get the party started.

"Liam is a very confident guy and he said 'I will score at Wembley.' It's a big statement but to go out there and finish like he did is a great credit to him," said Stimson.