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The AFC Hornchurch blog

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 December 2018

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson during AFC Hornchurch vs Great Wakering Rovers, BBC Essex Senior Cup Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 4th December 2018

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

Two league games over the weekend, but only one point to show for it. A goal down against Kingstonian, we clawed our way back, and George Saunders scored his first ever goal for Hornchurch, when he spun around and fired the ball hard into the net with ten minutes to go.

Saunders created the second goal a few minutes later, setting up George Purcell to put us ahead. We thought we had done enough to take the points, but we were wrong, as Kingstonian came back a minute later to grab a late equaliser.

We had high hopes that we would gain our first league victory for almost twelve weeks when we played Potters Bar, but it was not to be, as the only goal came from the visitors, and we cannot complain too much about the result, as we simply did not get into any sort of rhythm.

The scorer was Bradley Sach, so perhaps we should not be too surprised. Bradley joined Potters Bar from Boreham Wood, and at the end of last season he played for Wood in their Academy side when they needed fifteen goals in their last two games to overtake West Ham at the top of the table. And Bradley scored seven of the eleven goals, to beat our Academy side by eleven goals to one.

After 184 appearances and 68 goals, striker Leon McKenzie has returned to the Walthamstow FC, over 12 years after last playing for them when they were known as Waltham Forest FC. Leon made his Waltham Forest debut at the start of the 2005-6 season, signing from Aveley. He was ever-present in the Waltham Forest side, scoring 12 times in 35 games, but missed the final two months of the season due to injury.

Leon joined Thurrock in the summer of 2006, staying for three seasons, before playing for Grays Athletic, Bishop’s Stortford, Thurrock, Bromley, Billericay Town, Boreham Wood, Bromley (again), and Grays (again).

He signed for AFC Hornchurch in February 2012. In March 2013, after 47 appearances and thirteen goals, he joined Concord Rangers, for whom he scored three goals in fourteen games. His next club was East Thurrock, with six goals in 25 appearances.

He joined Maldon & Tiptree midway through the 2014 season, scoring ten goals in 46 appearances, before coming back to Bridge Avenue. He was injured after only two matches and it was not until November 2015 that he was able to play again. His best season came in 2016-17, when he scored 37 goals in 48 appearances, including six hat-tricks. He also won the Player of the Year award.

Last season he scored thirteen goals in 45 appearances. In total he scored 68 goals for Hornchurch, in 184 appearances, and it is likely to have been a lot more had he not missed over a year due to injury. Arguably his most important goal was the one he scored in 2012 against Lowestoft in the Play-Off final, which helped secure Conference South football for the following season.

Theo Fairweather-Johnson has also been released. Theo has played for a number of clubs, notably Thamesmead Town and Phoenix Sports. He joined Hornchurch at the start of the 2017 season. He made his debut in August 2017 against Soham Town, and went on to play a prominent role in our promotion campaign, scoring sixteen goals in fifty appearances. This season he made a further 22 appearances this season, scoring twice, but he has been sidelined for a time due to injury. In his last match was against Kingstonian, where he came on as substitute and laid on the second goal for George Purcell.

Leon Smith played for Hornchurch in the 2013-14 pre-season matches, but joined Redbridge, and went on to play for Great Wakering, Thurrock and Basildon Utd, before making his official debut for Hornchurch against Cray Wanderers at the start of the 2015 season., but left in November, and after a brief spell at Enfield Town, he played for Southend Manor and Barkingside, before joining Thamesmead for the 2017 season. He returned to Bridge Avenue in September, making twelve appearances, but was another player who was sidelined due to injury.

Abdul (Bode) Anidugbe who joined us when Thamesmead folded earlier this season, made five appearances, although four of them was a substitute, and he became the fourth player to be released.

On the plus side, we have brought in five new players, all from Waltham Abbey - Ronnie and George Winn, James Goode, Joe Christou and Charlie Stimson, although three of them will not be able to play immediately as they are nursing injuries.

All five played last season for Thurrock, and all of them followed manager Mark Stimson to Waltham Abbey this season.

George Winn joined Thurrock from Redbridge in 2015, and went on to play 71 times for Thurrock. This season he made thirteen appearances for Waltham Abbey.

Ronnie Winn, (they are twin brothers) also started with Redbridge, before joining Thurrock, for whom he scored 31 goals in 120 appearances. This season he scored six goals in fourteen matches for Waltham Abbey.

James Goode spent four seasons at Thurrock, scoring twenty goals in 113 appearances, and this season he has played thirteen times for Waltham Abbey.

Joe Christou has played for Hornchurch before, having joined us in 2014 from Tilbury, making fifteen appearances before joining Thurrock. In his three seasons at Ship Lane he scored 19 goals in 104 appearances, before signing for East Thurrock in February018. He made ten appearances for Waltham Abbey this season, and was then sidelined with injury. He is expected to be back playing in three or four weeks.

The fifth signing from Waltham Abbey is Charlie Stimson, son of manager Mark. Charlie had a very impressive record at Thurrock, 53 goals in 184 appearances, and this season he had an equally impressive goal scoring record at Waltham Abbey, with four goals from seven matches, until he was another player sidelined with a long-term injury. He is expected to be back for selection in a couple of weeks.

So - four players have left, and five have joined, with the possibility of more signings to follow. We do not have a match this Saturday, as our scheduled opponents, Carshalton Athletic, are engaged in the FA Trophy, and on Tuesday we make the second journey of the season to Margate, after our original match was postponed due to a floodlight failure.

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