Hornchurch’s derby delight is overdue
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
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Prior to last Saturday, Hornchurch had played Romford three times in the Isthmian League and failed to score on all three occasions.
So it was very much a relief when Teddy Nesbitt calmly finished off a long ball from Tobi Coker to score what proved to be the only goal of the game.
We had a very worrying moment just three minutes into the match when our leading scorer, Leon McKenzie, needed a long spell of treatment before being able to continue, albeit at reduced pace.
A few minutes later Sam Mott was victim to a very late challenge and we expected the referee to wave a red card at the offender.
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Instead we were surprised when it only turned out to be of the yellow variety and it set the pattern for the remainder of the game, with eight bookings in total, in a match punctuated with stoppages and lectures.
We could have run up more goals. ‘Ozzie’ Adeniji missed an excellent chance on 10 minutes and McKenzie, Elliot Styles and Ross Wall all went close, but we had to be content with just the one goal and full marks to visiting keeper and ex-Urchin Callum Chafer, whose late saves kept his team in with a chance.
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With no midweek match, we now travel to bottom-of-the-table Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday, but we cannot assume it will be an easy three points.
We won 3-0 in the home match at Bridge Avenue, with Wall scoring twice on his debut and McKenzie netting the other goal, but none of the Wakering players were in the line-up that drew 1-1 at Norwich United last week.
The new-look Rovers side only lost by a narrow margin at Brightlingsea and Maldon & Tiptree and cannot be taken lightly.
Last season we won 5-0 at their ground, with Alex Bentley leading the way with two goals, and George Purcell, currently out with a long-term injury, adding two more, as David Knight, now with Bowers & Pitsea, also got on to the scoresheet.
Possibly the most memorable match against Great Wakering was the final game of 2002-03, when, providing Northwood lost at Hemel Hempstead, Hornchurch needed to win to become champions.
The first half saw five goals scored as Wakering took the lead after seven minutes through Dan Trenkell, before Hornchurch equalised in the 21st minute when a Garry Kimble free kick was allowed to travel low into the penalty area to Andrew Martin who from a couple of yards out touched the ball home.
Eight minutes later, Wakering regained the lead through Danny Scopes, who volleyed in a far post free kick, but almost straight from the kick-off an Urchins attack led to a goalmouth scramble with Steve Carter nodding in from six yards.
Just before half time Hornchurch took the lead, as Nick Lowery volleyed home a loose ball in the area from 15 yards.
Wakering levelled two minutes after the restart and it was ex-Urchin Keith Wilson who scored, drilling past the advancing Michael Collier from the corner of the penalty area.
And Wakering then defended resolutely, as Chris Moore headed just wide from a free kick with 15 minutes left and, in the dying minutes, a Jamie Southon header from a corner went an inch or two wide.
As it happened, Hemel carried out their part of the bargain (thanks guys) but we couldn’t quite do our bit.
This Saturday, the result will be equally as important, as we need the points to maintain our challenge for the play-offs, and hopefully the championship.
We are unbeaten in our last six matches, with 15 goals and three clean sheets, and confident our run will continue.
There are two matches at Bridge Avenue this week, with the reserves at home to Brightlingsea Regent on Thursday (7.45pm) and then entertaining Tilbury on Saturday, with a 2pm kick-off.