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Hornchurch blog: Can Urchins impress under Friday night lights against Aveley?

PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 December 2016

The Colin McBride Stand at Bridge Avenue, the home of AFC Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The Colin McBride Stand at Bridge Avenue, the home of AFC Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

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This Friday Hornchurch are at home to Aveley with an 8pm kick off. Is playing on a Friday night before Christmas a good idea? We will soon find out.

We have played Aveley once this season, winning by the only goal of the match in the FA Cup. Aveley hope to move to their new ground in time for the start of next season, although at the moment it looks as though a lot of work is still needed. The ground is on the outskirts of Aveley, just off the bypass, though there is so much housing development going on in the vicinity that it will soon be in the middle of a new housing estate.

No fewer than 221 players have appeared both for ourselves and for Aveley. There are far too many to list here, but you can find their names on the AFC Hornchurch website or on the forum, together with details of previous matches against Aveley.

We travelled to Wroxham last Saturday hoping for a win against a team at the foot of the table. As we went along the M11, we began to wonder if the match would be on, with mist and fog most of the way, but it cleared soon after we entered the Norwich ring road, and the match went ahead.

The pitch was an interesting mixture of sand and grass, and Wroxham had also signed three players during the week, including two who had played against us for Sudbury in the Ryman League Cup.

After Ross Wall put us ahead we seemed to be heading for a comfortable win, but then a defensive error let Wroxham grab a surprise equaliser. Leon McKenzie put us back in front, and he added another early in the second half.

Again we were heading for a comfortable three points, only to lose Junior Luke to a second yellow card, and when Wroxham pulled a goal back, again something of a surprise, we had to defend in depth for the next ten minutes, before recovering our composure and almost adding a fourth goal in stoppage time.

The ground was hit by a power cut shortly after the final whistle, and although it only lasted for a few minutes, perhaps we should be grateful that the match was able to get to its conclusion.

Our travelling support caught Wroxham out, as they ran out of food before the start, necessitating a quick trip to the local Tesco to restock their supplies. They did not have the bar open when we arrived, though that was very quickly remedied. And we certainly did better than our reserve team, whose match at Brightlingsea was postponed before the start due to fog.

We then had a misty and foggy trip back home, but no one was complaining, as we are now twelve matches unbeaten in the league. But seven of those are drawn games, and the fourteen points dropped is the difference between being at the top of the table, and the eighth place we occupy at the moment.

It is probably fair to say that no one expected Leon to be our leading scorer this season, but we are not complaining, and his two goals at Wroxham last week had our travelling support in raptures.

Leon has 18 goals to his credit so far this season, including three hat-tricks, two against Haringey and one against Ware, Ross Wall has now scored in his last four matches since rejoining us from Thurrock, and George Purcell will be anxious to get back among the scorers once he has got over his injury problems.

So perhaps when you consider the number of injuries we have had this season, we have done well to be eighth in the table, and definitely in line for the play-offs, and Maldon & Tiptree can still be caught.

After Aveley this Friday, our next two games are both away, at Brentwood on the last Saturday of 2016 - please note the earlier than usual kick-off of 1pm - and then on the following Tuesday we are at Thurrock, this match being originally scheduled for the Monday, but it has now been put back 24 hours and will have a 7.45pm kick-off.

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