Hornchurch hail Friday night project
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 December 2016
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It’s been a strange Christmas for Hornchurch supporters, as our anticipated Boxing Day fixture was brought forward three days to Friday night at 8pm, leaving us without a fixture on December 26.
Was it a success? The answer appears to be yes, as we more than doubled our average gate for the season with a crowd of 273, sold out of programmes, and, most important of all, we beat title chasing Aveley to put us firmly in contention for the play-offs.
In what was one of our best performances of the season so far, we took the lead through our leading scorer, Leon McKenzie, who planted the ball firmly into the net from a Junior Luke cross.
Our lead lasted just three minutes, as Aveley showed us why they are near the top of the table with an excellent headed goal, but Hornchurch took complete control and Kenzer Lee scored his first goal for the Urchins with a neat header from an Abs Seymour free kick.
Perhaps the most crucial goal came just three minutes before half time, when Abs Thompson supplied the pass and McKenzie netted his 20th goal of the season.
At the start of the season, we expected our leading scorer to be George Purcell, David Knight or Ricky Freeman. No one would have nominated Leon.
But GP is currently still out with a knee injury, Knight has joined Bowers & Pitsea, and Freeman, after going back to his previous club, VCD Athletic, has now moved on again, this time to Chatham Town.
We have also welcomed back Joey May, who returned after a short spell at Canvey Island.
Joey joined us from Aveley in 2012 and made 161 appearances, and with this latest signing manager Jim McFarlane has built up a squad strong enough to take us to the top of the table, if only our injury list does not continue to grow.
We did not know it at the time, but it was also the final game that Abs Seymour would play for the Urchins, as he has now joined Billericay Town.
And when he played for Billericay against Canvey Island on Boxing Day, he became the 47th player this season to appear in their line-up.
In his brief stay at Bridge Avenue, Abs played 11 times, scoring once.
It is many years since we had a match actually on Christmas Day, but at one time it was traditional to play a match on December 25.
When the then-named Upminster Wanderers played in what was junior or local football, they used to play friendly matches on Christmas Day, against West Thurrock Albion, Upminster Thursday and Dagenham Cables, none of whom are in existence any more.
After the War, Hornchurch only played four times on Christmas Day, twice against Aveley, losing 2-0 in 1954, and winning 3-2 after extra time in an East Anglian Cup match in 1958.
On Christmas Day in 1961 they lost 5-0 at Grays and the following year the sides drew 3-3 in Hornchurch’s last Christmas Day fixture.
Our next match is on New Year’s Eve, when we travel the short distance to Brentwood Town, and please note the kick off has been brought forward to 1pm.
We anticipate a large following at this match, and our players and management are very appreciative of our away following, easily ‘the best in the division’.
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