Hornchurch having a happy new year

PUBLISHED: 12:41 17 January 2017

Leon McKenzie celebrates scoring for Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Leon McKenzie celebrates scoring for Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Ross Wall celebrates his goal for Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Ross Wall celebrates his goal for Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch are now three matches into the New Year and have recorded three wins in three matches, netted 11 goals, and sit fourth in the Ryman North table, in a solid play-off position.

Leon McKenzie has netted five times in those three matches, while Ross Wall has found the net three times and the other goals have come from Abs Thompson, Kenzer Lee and Jed Chouman.

Leon has now scored four hat-tricks this season, equalling the record set by George Purcell last season.

Since Hornchurch FC became AFC Hornchurch in 2004, following the massive financial crisis, there have been 25 hat-tricks, with Calvin Poku leading the way with his five goals at Barkingside last season.

A total of 16 hat-tricks have been at Bridge Avenue and nine at away venues, with Witham Town, Barkingside and Haringey Borough on the receiving end twice, with Barkingside the only club to concede two Hornchurch hat-tricks in the same season.

Purcell and Wayne Gray have both scored four goals in one match, whilst Harry Elmes and Simon Parker are the only players to have scored three goals each in the same match, against Leyton in 2008.

We are still without Purcell, Paul Goodacre and Joey May, who are all out with what are beginning to look like long-term injuries, but manager Jim MacFarlane added Tobi Coker to the squad, and he took his place in the side at Witham Town last Saturday.

Tobi has had only one senior club, having spent two seasons at Barnet, although mainly in their youth team.

To quote from the Barnet team profiles: “Tobi is a box-to-box central midfielder who has been with Barnet Football Club’s Academy for just under two years. He is an extremely hard worker and very creative in possession when he gets forward.”

Our 5-1 win at Witham was in the end a convincing victory, with Leon getting two goals in a minute in the first half, but it could have been very different, as Witham looked very impressive for the first 15 minutes of the second half, with Sam Mott making two good saves to deny them, and Nathan Cooper making a timely tackle to prevent what seemed a certain goal, proving once again the value of having a solid defence.

This Saturday we are at home to Tilbury, whose own play-off challenge has faded somewhat, and they currently occupy 10th position in the table.

Tilbury have won one, drawn three and lost two of their last six matches, although when we went there in November we came away with a goalless draw.

Last season we also drew 0-0 with Tilbury at Bridge Avenue, and won by the only goal of the game at Chadfields, with Ricky Freeman scoring 15 minutes from time.

Freeman is now at Chatham Town in Ryman South and another ex-Urchin on the move is Tambeson Eyong, who became player number 51 to play for Billericay Town this season, although his debut, at Leiston on Saturday, was not a happy one, as Blues, with Abs Seymour also in their line-up, went down 4-1.

Two other ex-Urchins are now established in the Football League, as Stefan Payne is now at Barnsley in the Championship, whilst Omar Beckles is a regular for Accrington Stanley in League Two.

We have no midweek league matches scheduled and after Tilbury on Saturday we have to wait for Tuesday week for our next home fixture, when Dulwich Hamlet come to Bridge Avenue for a league cup quarter-final tie.

The only other midweek game scheduled is for our reserve team, who are at home to Thamesmead on Thursday January 26.

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