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Hornchurch blog: A game to forget on our historic day

PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 March 2017

Hornchurch fans cheers their team on at Bridge Avenue earlier in the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch fans cheers their team on at Bridge Avenue earlier in the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

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Saturday March 4 was a historic day for Hornchurch FC. It was the first ever senior match to be played on that date at Bridge Avenue. Hornchurch had played fourteen times on that date, but twelve of them had been away, and the only home game was in 1944, and that one was played at Upminster Park.

And it was not a day to remember, as our nine-match unbeaten run came to an end against a Cheshunt team who won deservedly on a day when our own form was left behind in the changing room.

Jason Hallett gave Cheshunt an early lead with a well-directed header, and Hornchurch found it difficult to penetrate a solid defence. Their best opportunity came four minutes before the interval, when Abs Thompson raced past two defenders, only to be cynically tripped up a foot outside the penalty area, denying us a possible goalscoring opportunity. To add insult to injury, the offending player escaped with only a yellow card.

We fell further behind fifteen minutes from time when a Nathan Cooper clearance bounced off a surprised, and very much delighted, Hallett and looped agonisingly over Sam Mott and into the net.

Tobi Joseph and Martin Tuohy came on as substitutes, and Cheshunt had to defend for the remainder of the match. And it was Joseph who headed on a Nesbitt corner to Tuohy, who touched home his first goal since rejoining the Urchins. But it was not enough, and although both Ross Wall and Leon McKenzie had shots blocked, the visitors held out to severely dent our championship hopes.

Off the pitch, the Hornchurch Football Academy was officially launched on the February 28, and we held trials at the club for prospective footballers, and gave a presentation to the boys and their parents after the trials to set out the objectives both from a football and an education prospect.

The response was overwhelming, and we feel that the Academy will help to shape the future of Hornchurch Football Club. A second and final trial will be held in early April, the exact date to be confirmed.

There is no match in midweek, and we now travel to Ware on Saturday. We first played Ware in our first season as a senior club, in the Spartan League in 1938, and have now played them on 61 occasions, winning 32 and drawing twelve.

When we met them in 1950-51, we lost 7-4 in our home encounter, with three of our goals coming from Albert Graham. In February 1957, Stanley Sparrow was on target three times in our 5-2 away win.

In 1958 we won 5-1 and it was the turn of Eddie McKenzie to score three times, and in 1994 Darren Gray netted three goals in our 5-2 extra time win at Ware in a league cup match.

Prior to this season we had not met them since 2006-07, when we won 2-1 both at home and away. In December 2006 Jim McFarlane and Simon Parker were the scorers at Bridge Avenue, and Parker was on target twice in the return match in April. This was Colin McBride’s first season in charge, and we took the Isthmian League North by storm, finishing 21 points clear of second placed Harlow Town, and clocking up 103 points in the process.

Ware came to Bridge Avenue in December and we won with three goals from Leon McKenzie and another from Ross Wall.

Ware have not had an easy run of late, losing twice to table topping Brightlingsea, and also to Maldon & Tiptree and Bowers & Pitsea, when ex-Urchin David Knight scored three of the five goals for Bowers.

Ware have one ex-Urchin in their line up, Darren Behcet, who played 107 times for Hornchurch between 2008 and 2011.

Ware cannot be taken lightly, despite their recent run of defeats, and we are hoping for a high turn-out of Hornchurch supporters for this match.

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