The AFC Hornchurch Blog

PUBLISHED: 12:30 30 August 2018

Hornchurch players warm up ahead of their game at Brightlingsea Regent (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch players warm up ahead of their game at Brightlingsea Regent (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Two matches over the Bank Holiday weekend, two draws, both 1-1, and we are still unbeaten after five league games.

We struggled for the first twenty minutes against Bognor Regis Town, and were a goal down at the interval, but it was a different story in the second half.

Sean Marks scored from close range to put us back on level terms, and both sides could justifiably claim they could have won, but for two exceptional performances by the respective goalkeepers.

We were a little apprehensive on the Monday, not so much about how we would play, but it was a Bank Holiday and we expected traffic jams on the A12. But we had a remarkably smooth journey and arrived in plenty of time, to find a revamped ground, with a new stand and some new terracing behind one goal.

As the team coach could not get through the narrow approach roads, we had to park in a quiet cul-de-sac on the far side — what must the locals have thought to find a 50-seatrer coach reversing past their very impressive lawns and bungalows?

Brightlingsea Regent took an early lead, and we were still behind at half time, although many thought that we had a perfectly good goal disallowed, and we were also denied a penalty when George Purcell went down under the combined efforts of two defenders.

Brad Warner equalised in the second half, and neither team could find a way through to get the decisive goal.

We now look forward to our next game, at home this Saturday to Carshalton Athletic. They are just one of an ever growing number of teams who have a 3G pitch, and we can only look towards Aveley to understand the advantages of having such a playing surface.

At least ten teams have used Aveley’s new ground for home games — Aveley, Billericay Town, Bowers & Pitsea, Brentwood Town, Grays Athletic, Hackney Wick, Hullbridge Sports, FC Romania, Tower Hamlets, and Wadham Lodge they have all played home games at the new Parkside just off the Aveley by-pass.

Groundsharing now seems to have taken on a new meaning; the message being if your own ground is out of action for whatever reason, you simply switch the match to Aveley.

Last weekend, Bowers played at Aveley on the Friday, as their own new 3G surface was not ready, then on Saturday morning FC Romania beat Grays on the same pitch, followed by Aveley playing in the afternoon — three cup matches in less than 24 hours on the same ground, which must be something of a record.

There are now so many clubs groundsharing elsewhere that it is reaching epidemic proportions. Harlow Town, another club with a 3G surface, have two Essex Senior League clubs sharing with them, namely Enfield and Woodford Town, one using the ground on a Friday and the other on alternate Saturdays.

Over at Haringey Borough, they are sharing with the oddly named and much-criticised Hashtag United. Wingate & Finchley do not have an aritifical pitch, share their ground with Broxbourne Borough, who last season shared with Haringey.

West Essex play their home games at Barking; Benfleet play at Canvey Island; Romford, last season at Thurrock, are now at East Thurrock United; Hackney Wick play their home games at the Clapton’s Old Spotted Dog; Newbury Forest share at Redbridge; and Barkingside are sharing with Ilford.

As for Hornchurch we only share with the athletics club, and any attempts to install a 3G pitch have met with opposition, as the athletics club use the pitch for their javelin practice — not the ideal way forward if you have an artificial surface.

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