Former Urchins captain Styles reveals top five games from 11-year club spell
PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 June 2020
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Former long-serving Hornchurch captain Elliot Styles has picked his top five games from the 541 appearances he made for the Bridge Avenue outfit.
The versatile Styles experienced plenty of big games during his time at the Urchins and picked out the most memorable, including play-off semi-final clashes and FA Cup ties.
“There is plenty to choose from, there is a lot that I’d like not to remember where I’ve not done too well,” said Styles.
“The times I’ve been sent off and let the team down or a wrong decision from me like giving away a penalty or not getting tight enough to a marker!”
Weymouth 1 Hornchurch 2 October, 25, 2008
“My number one game, and I’ve always said it whenever I’ve been asked that question, was Weymouth away in the FA Cup – nothing could beat that in terms of what came with it.
“It was the FA Cup, it was the last qualifying round before the first round, and I’d never reached the first round until then.
“It was away from home, it was a distance, so we went the night before, travelled as a team, shared rooms, had breakfast together, and it felt like it was your full-time job for that little bit of time.
“For all of us that was why we played football as we wanted it to be our full-time living, so it was a great experience to be around that.
“To go to a team at that stage where they were full-time in the National League, in the play-off positions, we were written off and no one thought we were going to achieve what we did in that game.
“We went 1-0 down and clawed it back, not through luck, but through determination and a strong team effort.
“To win in the last minute, I thought we were going to get a replay, which we would have been grateful for but ‘Parkes’ (Simon Parker) scored the winning goal literally with the last kick of the game.”
Hornchurch 3 Bury Town 1 May, 2, 2012
“The semi-final of the play-offs in the Isthmian League Premier at home to Bury and we’d never reached the play-off final in the Premier before.
“We always wanted to go a step further and reach the National League South, which was our biggest aim at the club.
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“Bury had a very good season and I know we did as it was between us and Billericay Town for the title.
“We had a big crowd that night. We had a fantastic side, plenty of options, and our bench was just as strong as our starting XI.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t play in the final that year and I never thought about that before that game, but it was about getting to that stage, and to win that night under the lights it was a great night and got us one step closer.”
Billericay 0 Hornchurch 1 December 26, 2011
“Derby matches were always fantastic for us, the atmosphere in the changing room and amongst the supporters was brilliant.
“There was a big rivalry between Hornchurch and Billericay. Both clubs wanted to be number one within the area and we were always up there.
“We played them the year we went up from the Isthmian Premier to National League South and Billericay won the title.
“We beat them at home on Boxing Day, away from home, and they were a team of giants. I thought with the likes of Frankie Curley and myself playing we were a big team, but they dwarfed us.
“We knew their game plan, went there and worked it out. We stuck by our plan and came away being able to inflict their first defeat. I think we were the only team that year to stop them scoring at home.”
Wimbledon 3 Hornchurch 1 May 2008
“This is for pure atmosphere, not the result, but to be play in front of a crowd like that – I think it was 5,000 that day – that was my first real experience of playing in front of a crowd like that and it was electric.
“Although it wasn’t the result we wanted, just to experience that was enough for me. That pushed me on and made me want to play big games.
“I was fortunate enough to be at a club where we were big achievers and had many big games.”
Hornchurch 0 Peterborough 1 November 8, 2008.
“Playing in the FA Cup first round against Peterborough, again another big occasion with a big crowd, and televised I think by Setanta TV at the time.
“It was a great experience, we narrowly missed out through an error, but we were close to getting a replay.”
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