Another McKenzie hat-trick helps five-star Hornchurch
18:20 11 February 2017
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Great Wakering Rovers 2 Hornchurch 5
Leon McKenzie’s fifth hat-trick of the season led Hornchurch to a comfortable win at Ryman North basement boys Great Wakering.
The big striker scored all three of his goals in a 21-minute spell in the second half to take his tally for the season to 30 and lift Urchins above Thurrock into third place, six points behind leaders Maldon.
And Jimmy McFarlane’s men will now turn their attentions to their league cup quarter-final with Premier Division outfit Dulwich Hamlet, who visit Bridge Avenue on Tuesday.
McFarlane named the same starting line-up as the one that had started the derby against Romford a week earlier, but Rovers made a bright enough start at Burroughs Park.
Urchins opened the scoring on nine minutes when Teddy Nesbitt’s crossfield ball found Usman Adeniji and his cross was headed in by Ross Wall, but the hosts missed a good chance to level three minutes later, while Tobi Coker sliced wide of the target on 18 minutes for Urchins.
Alex Bentley produced a good block to thwart the hosts, but they were back on level terms midway through the first half when a free-kick was curled into the top corner by Jake Gordon.
Rovers went close to taking the lead just before half time, but sent a chance wide as Hornchurch looked second best.
And another effort was sliced off-target four minutes after the restart, before Urchins regained the lead on 53 minutes when substitute Abs Thompson saw his shot across the face of goal deflected into the net.
It was 3-1 just two minutes later as McKenzie pounced to poke home from a corner, following a goalmouth scramble, but Sam Mott had to be alert to produce a good save as Rovers broke upfield just before the hour.
Hornchurch were awarded a penalty on 61 minutes when Adeniji was fouled by home keeper Dylan Skinner and McKenzie stepped up to convert from the spot.
McKenzie headed just wide from Thompson’s cross soon after, while Jed Chouman was booked midway through the half before his unselfish pass set up McKenzie to sidefoot home his third goal of the game.
Wall made way for Tobi Joseph for the last 11 minutes of the match and he saw a shot from Thompson’s cross saved by Skinner, before Jonathan Nzengo grabbed a late consolation for the home side.
But Urchins had done enough to leapfrog Thurrock, who lost 4-0 at Maldon, to keep their promotion bid firmly on track with 11 matches still to play.
Hornchurch: Mott, Bentley, Nesbitt, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Styles, Wall (Jospeh 79), McKenzie (Coley 82), Coker (Thompson 46), Adeniji. Unused subs: Da Cruz, Morrish.