Mixed Easter weekend for Hornchurch in Ryman North against Phoenix Sports and Aveley
PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 April 2017
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It was very much a mixed Easter for Hornchurch supporters. We started with a very convincing performance at home to Phoenix Sports on the Saturday, and we followed this up with a less-than-convincing showing at Mill Field.
We took a very large following to Aveley on Monday night, and their presence gave the Millers their highest league attendance of the season, almost four times higher than their average.
The evening kick off meant that we knew exactly what we had to do in order to finish in third position.
It also put undue pressure on the team, and the defeat means that we can only hope that Thurrock slip up on Saturday, if we want to have home advantage in the play-off semi final.
And we became the last ever club to play Aveley at their Mill Field HQ, their home for the last 65 years, and they produced a special programme to mark the occasion.
Bizarrely, the back page contained a ‘photo’ of a match taking place at their new ground, which was very much of a surprise as the ground is not yet ready.
And our president, Del Edkins, who has long associations with both Aveley and ourselves, baked them a special cake, also to mark the occasion.
Our 4-1 win against Phoenix on Saturday came thanks to a large extent to a very impressive first half performance, whilst our defence took the honours in the second half, at one time defending five corners in quick succession.
And a special mention to Kenzer Lee, primarily a defender, but against Phoenix he headed two almost identical goals, both from Abs Seymour corner kicks.
Leon McKenzie added another with a typical powerful finish, Seymour not only made two of the goals, but he also got onto the scoresheet himself, converting a Sam Bantick cross at the far post.
We had high hopes that we could beat Aveley in the second of our Easter matches, but, after having the majority of the attacking play in the first half, we fell behind when we failed to clear a free kick.
The ball fell in front of Jerrimiah Maja, who promptly volleyed it into the back of the net, for what proved to be the only goal of the game.
Credit must be given to the Aveley goalkeeper, Lamar Johnson, who made a series of fine saves, although he was perhaps fortunate to stick out a leg to deny Martin Tuohy in the first half.
And it was Johnson to the rescue in the seventh minute of stoppage time, when he made a magnificent save to deny Kenzer Lee.
We now entertain Bowers & Pitsea in our final league match of the season on Saturday.
We lost 3-2 when we went to Bowers earlier in the season, our goals coming from Elliot Styles and an own goal.
Interesting to note that eight of the players included in the squad way back in August are no longer with Hornchurch, including, David Knight.
Knight has since joined Bowers and netted seventeen goals for them, whilst Brad Warner has hit the target on 28 occasions.
Only seventeen players have appeared for both Hornchurch and Bowers, with Rhys Madden the only other current player who could be included in their current squad.
Two other players, Harry Agombar and Ayrton Coley, have also played for both clubs, and although they started the season with Hornchurch, they have since moved on, ironically both to Bowers, albeit only briefly.
As Saturday’s game could be our last competitive home match of the season, our supporters may not be aware of two landmarks coming up, assuming we reach the final of the play-offs.
We all know that Elliot Styles is close to making 500 appearances, but, if we get there, he could be making his 500th in the play-off final.
And Jed Chouman, again assuming we reach the final, will be making his 100th appearance as an Urchin in the same match.
Our sponsorship scheme has proved once again to be very successful this season, and we handed £1,500 over to the football club.
Our club shop takings also held up well, despite playing in a lower division once again, and we have handed £400 over to the football club, with more to come on Saturday.
Coach travel was somewhat limited this season, as the majority of the matches were within easy reach and close to the M25.
But our travels into East Anglia - to Soham, Norwich, Wroxham, Brightlingsea, Bury and Dereham - were all well supported, as well as our FA Cup trip to Rushden & Diamonds.
Our away support has been the highest in the league, with an average attendance at away games of 163, well ahead of Maldon & Tiptree, on 144.
Our home attendances have been the second highest in the league, currently an average of 176, but well behind the ‘attendance’ leaders Bury Town, whose average is 279.
Considering the amount of other local football in this area, we can be pleased that our home gates have held up reasonably well, though of course they could be a lot better.
The Supporters Association has enjoyed another successful season, with over seventy members, not our best, but higher than our last season in the Premier Division.
The Supporters Association staged a number of very encouraging fund ranging activities over the course of the season, all of which helped to increase the revenue for the football club.
And our 59 Club has been once again fully subscribed, and over the course of a year raised almost £1,400, all of which went to the football club.
And so we now wait to find out if we will be at home or away to Thurrock in the play-off semi final, Thurrock are at Wroxham, who are already doomed to relegation, and a return to the Eastern Counties League, but we can always hope that they do us a favour in their final match.