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Hornchurch have grounds for fresh hope

PUBLISHED: 09:55 30 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:55 30 November 2016

The newly named Colin McBride stand is unveiled at Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue ground (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The newly named Colin McBride stand is unveiled at Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue ground (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

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

Lates blog from the Urchins Supporters’ Association

Junior Luke was back in a Hornchurch shirt against Maldon & Tiptree after rejoining the club from Canvey Island (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo) Junior Luke was back in a Hornchurch shirt against Maldon & Tiptree after rejoining the club from Canvey Island (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The Hornchurch Supporters Association has now completed work on the River Side of the ground, which will hopefully be appreciated by all who frequent that part of the stadium.

Though we sometimes wonder just how many balls are lost in the adjacent River Ingrebourne, which flows alongside the ground, unfortunately it is not practical to put up 100 yards of netting along that side.

When Hornchurch took the field on Saturday against Ryman North leaders Maldon & Tiptree, it was a surprise to find that Junior Luke had returned to Hornchurch, after spending the early part of the season at Billericay, and then very briefly at Canvey Island.

Junior played for us in 2014-15 and 2015-16, scoring six times in his 83 appearances, and his long throw-ins were once again very much in evidence.

George Purcell celebrates his goal for Hornchurch against Maldon (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo) George Purcell celebrates his goal for Hornchurch against Maldon (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

There was a very noticeable increase in enthusiasm, particularly evident on the East Side of the ground, when George Purcell got onto the scoresheet in the 33rd minute with one of his spectacular long-range volleys.

Purcell could easily have had a hat-trick in the first half and Maldon have their goalkeeper to thank for keeping them in the game, as we piled on the pressure in the second half after weathering 15 minutes of intense Maldon pressure.

Just when we were thinking about three points, Maldon drew level with five minutes to go, when a shot from the edge of the area took a deflection and crept in at the far post.

We were looking forward to extending our unbeaten run with the visit of Bury Town on Tuesday, but then came the news that the visitor’s coach was stuck in heavy traffic on the M25.

Hornchurch's Alex Bentley does not enjoy matches against Dereham (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo) Hornchurch's Alex Bentley does not enjoy matches against Dereham (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Our matches with Bury seem to be plagued with travel problems.

A couple of seasons ago, our own coach was in motionless traffic for two hours on the A12 en route to Bury St Edmunds and the kick off had to be delayed by 15 minutes.

In April we went there for our final away league match of the season, but the coach was stranded for nearly three hours at Colchester when a tyre burst.

With over 700 people inside the ground, the home officials quickly arranged some pre-match entertainment, using their youth squads, and the main event finally started just over an hour late.

We never found out what time the Bury coach would arrive at Bridge Avenue last night as the weather took a hand.

It was a pleasant afternoon, with plenty of sunshine, and the temperature was eight degrees. However the clear skies meant that there was a possibility of frost later in the evening.

The temperature dropped rapidly once the sun went down, but the pitch was passed as playable at 6pm.

However in the next 15 minutes the temperature fell to zero degrees and the playing surface turned a nice shade of pale green as the frost came through.

A further inspection at 6.15pm was made and with the frost getting whiter and whiter the match was called off.

Disappointing, yes, but even more for Bury Town, whose lengthy midweek journey will now have to be repeated sometime in mid-winter.

We start our run-up to Christmas with a long journey of our own, to Dereham, in Norfolk, on Saturday, weather permitting.

There will be a coach to this match and we still have a few seats available if anyone wants to travel up with the team.

Last season we won 3-0 on our first-ever visit to Dereham, although it was not a memorable one for Alex Bentley, who, in the final minute of the match, received a shoulder injury, which kept him out of contention for over three months.

When Dereham came to Bridge Avenue in September, Alex again picked up an injury that kept him out of the side for another month.

For anyone who cannot go to Dereham this Saturday, there is an attractive match at Bridge Avenue, when FC Romania take on Tring Athletic in the third round of the FA Vase. Kick off is at 3pm.

FC Romania usually groundshare at Cheshunt, but could not do so as there was a fixture clash.

We also have a new date for our match against Aveley, which was originally scheduled for Boxing Day, but has now been brought forward and will be played on Friday December 23, with an 8pm kick-off.

Our next home match is on Tuesday when we entertain AFC Sudbury in a league cup match, with kick off at 7.45pm.

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