Ryman North: Leon McKenzie hat-trick powers Hornchurch past Heybridge Swifts
PUBLISHED: 16:59 25 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:56 25 February 2017
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Ryman North: Heybridge Swifts 0 Hornchurch 3 (McKenzie 5, 15, 24p)
A first-half hat-trick from striker Leon McKenzie helped Hornchurch surge to a 3-0 success away to Heybridge Swifts in the Ryman North.
Hornchurch made one change in the starting line up with Kenzer Lee coming back after missing one match through injury.
Playing into a strong wind, Hornchurch took an early lead after Ross Wall was fouled on the left wing. Teddy Nesbitt swung the free kick into a crowded goalmouth, where Wall’s shot was blocked, and McKenzie followed up to open the scoring.
Ten minutes later, Wall again took possession out on the left, and McKenzie was waiting unmarked in the middle to turn the cross wide of Danny Sambridge and into the net.
Hornchurch almost had a third, after Alieu Njie fouled Wall, again out on the left. Nesbitt floated the ball into the middle and McKenzie’s first time shot rebounded off the crossbar.
Wall sent another cross into the middle, and Sambridge saved McKenzie’s header.
The third goal came on 24 minutes, after Abs Thompson had left defenders trailing in a run down the right wing. Thompson cut inside and was tripped inside the area. McKenzie took the penalty and completed his sixth hat-trick of the season, this time in just nineteen minutes.
Swifts had offered little apart from two long throws, one headed away by Nathan Cooper and the other caught by Sam Mott, but went close with a well-flighted free kick by Jack Cawley following an infringement by Cooper, and Mott turned the ball around he post.
Swifts, aided by the strong wind, came back into the match strongly as an attacking force, but rarely threatened Mott, and their best chance came when a long range centre from the left dropped onto the bar before bouncing out of play.
Thompson opened up the play again with another run along the right wing, and although his centre found Wall, the header was directed straight at Sambridge.
A minute later, Jed Chouman made a powerful solo run through the middle, only to fire his shot narrowly wide of the goal.
Heybridge had much more of the play in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, despite playing into the wind. Glen Little twice in a matter of minutes sent over dangerous corners, and from the second of these the ball was quickly played up field, and Chouman ran through, only to be denied by a fine save from Sambridge.
McKenzie went close with a first time shot, the ball hitting the side netting, and shortly afterwards Ozzie Adeniji came on to replace Nesbitt.
Thompson, leaving defenders trailing in his wake, raced down the right, and crossed to Wall, and although his shot beat Sambridge, it also went wide of the far post.
Martin Tuohy came on for McKenzie, but play swung to the other end, where a corner dropped into a packed goalmouth, and a combination of Mott and Cooper cleared the ball off the line.
Tobi Joseph replaced Thompson, but the home defence had little respite, and shots when Joseph fed the ball over to Wall, the shot hit the side netting.
Adeniji went close as the match entered stoppage time, only to be denied by an excellent save by the overworked Sambridge.
Hornchurch: Mott, Cohen, Bentley, Lee, Cooper, Styles, Thompson (Joseph 83), Chouman, McKenzie (Tuohy 76), Wall, Nesbitt (Adeniji 74)
Subs: Coker, Hussain
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