The AFC Hornchurch blog
PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 January 2019
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After twelve weeks without a win in league matches, we desperately needed to turn our season around, as we began to look anxiously at the results of the handful of teams still below us in the league table.
And one of those teams is Harlow Town, where they have a unique way of celebrating a goal, in the form of a World War II air raid siren.
And at 3.37 pm on Saturday last the siren sounded loud and clear over Harlow, announcing their first goal.
And when it sounded again just three minutes later, it seemed as if they were on their way to picking up three points.
And to make matters worse, it was Hornchurch on the receiving end.
Our twelve winless weeks was rapidly becoming thirteen.
But manager Mark Stimson had Sean Marks back in the line up.
Sean had not played for five weeks, due to injury, and he marked his return to the side with a goal in first half stoppage time, when he reacted quickly after the home keeper had been unable to hold on to a Taylor Miles free kick.
The air raid siren stayed silent in the second half, as Hornchurch came back strongly, with Jay Porter, scoring from a George Saunders cross, and, thirty seconds later, Marks headed us into the lead, from a Porter cross.
Three points beckoned, and when Marks added the fourth goal, from a Saunders cross, our New Year celebrations started a couple of days early. A win at last. And a Sean Marks hat-trick.
Surprising as it might seem, the last seven hat-tricks have all been away from home - Marks at Harlow, Chris Assombalonga, at Brentwood last season (the match being played at Aveley as Brentwood’s ground was waterlogged).
Theo Fairweather-Johnson scored a hat-trick last season at Romford (and this was the last time a player scored a hat-trick at the now derelict Ship Lane, hone of Thurrock FC).
Leon McKenzie scored hat-tricks at Mildenhall, Heybridge, Great Wakering, and Witham, all in 2016-17.
And the last hat-trick at home? Leon McKenzie, just over two years ago against Ware. So another home hat-trick is overdue.
News of two of two of last season’s squad - Christ Assombalonga has now returned to Waltham Abbey, and Olu Oluwatimilihin is now playing for Three Bridges.
This Saturday we are at home to Dorking Wanderers, who are firmly at the top end of the table.
We went there earlier this season, and were three goals up at the interval, on their newly laid 3G pitch, with clouds of black pellets rising up whenever the ball bounced.
We missed a chance to go further ahead immediately after half time, and then struggled as Dorking staged a very impressive comeback.
In the end we were happy to go away with just one point from a 3-3 draw, after at one time seeming certain to win comfortably.
On Tuesday we are again at home, to Brentwood Town, in the quarter final of the Essex Senior Cup.