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Hornchurch grateful for Bury help

PUBLISHED: 13:30 04 January 2016

George Purcell of Hornchurch cuts inside Max Bradford of Witham Town (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

George Purcell of Hornchurch cuts inside Max Bradford of Witham Town (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

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Aaron Gayle of Witham Town heads clear as Elliot Styles of Hornchurch lurks (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)Aaron Gayle of Witham Town heads clear as Elliot Styles of Hornchurch lurks (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

When Tobi Joseph suffered a broken leg against Bury Town, it meant that one of our leading players would miss the rest of the season.

No blame was attached to the Bury player, who was very distraught at what had happened, and the Bury supporters were also upset, holding a collection at their recent home match which raised £500 for Tobi.

It was a gesture which was both unexpected and very much appreciated, so a massive thank you to all at Bury Town.

After playing twice a week for most of the season, Hornchurch now have very few midweek matches scheduled as we move into the run-in for the title. There is no match this Saturday as the original fixture, against Barkingside, was brought forward when both teams had a vacant Saturday earlier in the season.

Billy Coyne of Hornchurch challenges Witham's Aaron Gayle (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)Billy Coyne of Hornchurch challenges Witham's Aaron Gayle (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

Although our away support has been very encouraging, our home crowds have been very disappointing, so it was with some relief that the attendance for the Witham match was 30 per cent up on our average for the season.

This was despite concerns about the match going ahead, with many other local matches postponed. In fact there was never any doubt, and we did not even need a pitch inspection.

The rain held off until the evening and then it poured down, which unfortunately led to an early postponement for the West Ham United Ladies, who were hoping to play Cardiff Ladies at the Bridge on Sunday.

Our next first team fixture is in two weeks time when we travel to Sudbury.

Joey May of Hornchurch (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)Joey May of Hornchurch (pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO)

There will be a coach to this match, and we should not be lacking in support, as the coach is already almost full.

But if anyone wants a match this Saturday, the under-21 team are at home to Harlow Town with a 2pm kick-off, and our Youth Alliance side is at home to Luton Town on Wednesday, also with a 2pm kick-off.

Luton’s Youth Alliance team finished second in the table last season, but they are not having a very good time at the moment, as they are firmly on the bottom of the table with just two wins in their 10 matches.

Hornchurch are in a mid-table position, but have games in hand of all the teams above them. Please note admission is free for both this match and the under-21 match on Saturday.

Junior Luke scored his first goal of the season against Witham on Saturday, while George Purcell netted the other goal to bring his total for the season to 31.

George is now just two goals behind Alan Noonan, who holds the career record for goals scored, with 94 goals in 231 matches for Hornchurch.

The individual record for one season has stood since 1956, when Wally Winsley scored 40 goals, and if George can maintain his scoring run, this record could also be in danger.

As we move into 2016, Elliot Styles now stands at 441 appearances for Hornchurch, though he is still a long way short of Peter Goddard’s 522.

Billy Coyne has moved up to seventh in the all-time appearance table on 239, Joey May is on 145 and Alex Bentley on 132, which could have been a lot more had it not been for two long-term injuries in the last two seasons.

Attendances in the Ryman North division have been a cause for concern for many clubs this season, with Redbridge and Haringey both recording crowds of just 42 paying spectators.

On Saturday Romford only managed to attract 44 people through the gate for their match with Barkingside, while nine clubs are averaging less than 100 for the season.

Bury Town and Sudbury lead the attendance table, which isn’t surprising really as they have very little local senior opposition, unlike at Hornchurch, where there are 10 senior teams (Aveley, Barkingside, Brentwood, East Thurrock, Grays, Ilford, Redbridge, Romford, Thurrock, Tilbury) within a 10-mile radius.

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