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The AFC Hornchurch blog

PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 February 2019

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

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Just one match over the weekend and we were pessimistic about what would happen, as we went into the game against Enfield Town without Glenn Wilson, who has been out for a couple of weeks with an injury.

To add to our concerns, George Purcell, our all time leading scorer, was missing with an injury, and Sean Marks was not in the starting line up.

If that wasn’t bad enough, we were playing a team challenging for a place in the play-offs, Enfield had Billy Bricknell, the second highest scorer in the league.

So it was an unusual line up, with Joe Christou and Charlie Stimson both making their starting debuts in a league match.

We were also minus Jay Porter, who was released a few days earlier, with Enfield’s Remi Sutton coming in, and making his home debut against his old club, whilst Porter made a quick return to Bridge Avenue, playing for his new club against his old club, and getting a warm round of applause when his name was read out over the tannoy.

Remi has been a regular for Enfield Town this season, with thirty appearances, and had previously spent five seasons at Thurrock, clocking up two hundred appearances, and so perhaps it was not too much of a surprise.

Remi actually started his senior career here at Hornchurch, as he played for our Capital League side in 2008-09, so it is ‘welcome back, Remi’.

When we lost George Saunders after twenty minutes with an injury, we wondered what else could go wrong.

The answer was nothing at all. Sean Marks came on as substitute, and it all began to click.

Six minutes later an Alex Bentley throw was nodded on by Charlie Stimson to Ronnie Winn, who weaved his way past the defence and poked the ball home, to put us ahead.

And that is how it stayed, until fifteen minutes from time, when Marks headed a long ball sideways to Stimson, who showed incredible calm in threading a path through the defence and stroking the ball home for the second goal.

In between, the Enfield forward line had only rarely offered a threat, and there was even time to give one of our junior players, Sonny Dutton, some playing minutes.

And to cap a fine afternoon, James Goode, who has not playing for over three months, also made his Hornchurch debut.

So things were definitely looking up, and our pre-match pessimism was unfounded.

There was another surprise bonus, as the attendance was over fifty percent up on our average for the season, and it included a sizable number of new recruits, in the shape of an ever-growing following of ex-Thurrock supporters.

The demise of Thurrock at the end of last season was a big loss to football in Essex - an excellent stadium, with some of the best facilities in the league, and a good team and manager.

Their supporters for a time went to Waltham Abbey, following both Mark Stimson and the ex-Thurrock players, and when Jim McFarlane’s resignation led to Mark Stimson coming to Bridge Avenue, he not only brought six of his Thurrock team with him, but also quite a few of ex-Thurrock supporters, so it was a big Urchins welcome to the green and yellow followers, who will hopefully become regulars.

This weekend we have just one match, away at Leatherhead.

We played Leatherhead in our opening match of the season, and won 3-0, with goals from Bradley Warner, now at Bowers & Pitsea, Jay Porter, now at Enfield, and Sean Marks,

It is not going to be easy. Leatherhead are the in-form team at the moment, and have won five of their last six matches, including a three nil away win at Haringey Borough.

But after our impressive performance last Saturday, we are hopeful of coming back with the points.


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