Happiness is key for Hornchurch hero Hayles
PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 May 2014
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Defender enjoying his football once again
Rickie Hayles believes enjoying his football again has been the key to his successful season with Hornchurch.
The Bridge Avenue outfit are just one win away from returning to the Conference South at the first time of asking, after defender Hayles headed the only goal of their Ryman Premier Division play-off semi-final at Kingstonian on Wednesday.
That set up a Bank Holiday Monday showdown at Lowestoft and Hayles, whose performances have been lauded all year, said: “I think it is through enjoyment. This year I have had no dramas on and off the pitch, I have just enjoyed it.
“We have a great bunch of lads and I think that has reflected in my performances.
“Going back a couple of years people might have said I was a bit of a hothead, but maturity kicks in and then you just end up enjoying the game and like I said it shows in my performances, so I would say this has been my best season.”
Hayles admitted “it means everything” to the players to have qualified for Monday’s final.
And the defender hailed the desire of his team-mates in their against-the-odds win at Kingsmeadow.
“It means everything to make the final,” he added. “All 11 of us out there on Wednesday were throwing bodies in front of the ball with our desire and endeavor.
“We have worked all year for it, been comfortable for most of the season and then to slip up over the Easter holiday; we were just gutted.
“Luckily we got the win (over Met Police on April 26) and we were waiting to see if we were in the play-offs and then that feeling that we had actually made it after all the hard work, all the lads were buzzing.”
Few would have foreseen Hayles as the matchwinner in midweek, with Hornchurch boasting George Purcell and Stefan Payne in their attack, while Kingstonian had Andre McCollin and Ryan Moss up front.
The foursome had 109 league goals between them prior to Wednesday’s clash and Hayles felt it was typical none of them scored.
But he revealed he wasn’t that bothered about heading the winner, just the final result.
“It is always the way isn’t it,” he laughed. “They have been firing all season and then none of them score and the centre-half gets it!
“But it didn’t really matter to me who got it, as long as we won and got into that final.”
Fortunately for Hornchurch it was Hayles who popped up with the winner and they’ll hope for another away day success on Monday on the Suffolk coast.