The Urchins put in an excellent all-round performance as they brushed aside Aveley 3-1 in front of a crowd of 273, Hornchurch’s best of the season. Leon McKenzie scored twice to bring his goal tally to 20 with Kenzer Lee notching his first of the campaign.
HORNCHURCH 3 AVELEY 1
HFC – Mott, Bentley ©, Da Cruz, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (May 85), Seymour, McKenzie (Morrish 90+3), Wall (Cohen 80), Luke
Subs – Styles, Cohen
AFC – Johnson ©, Coyne, Clark (Gleed 70), Odamo, Spillane, Skelton, Edwards (Maja HT), Pinto, Bloomfield, Toner (Dauti 60), Peart
Subs – Gibbs, McCullock
Officials – Neil Morrison with Kennedy Kikulwe and Chris Bodell
Scorers – McKenzie 34 (H) – Bloomfield 36 (A) – Lee 41 (H) – McKenzie 43 (H)
Duration 46.00 + 50.00
HORNCHURCH 3 AVELEY 1
The Christmas fixture against Aveley was brought forward to Friday night, the intention being to attract the best possible attendance, and the turnout of 273 was the best of the season.
Manager Jim McFarlane made two changes to the starting line up, Kenzer Lee and Abs Seymour replacing Elliot Styles and Ben Osman, the latter having been released. Joey May, returning to Hornchurch after a brief spell with Canvey Island, was included in the squad.
On a damp and windy night, Hornchurch kicked towards the windmill end of the ground. Hornchurch had an early scare when Jack Edwards gained possession from a Sam Mott clearance, but his hurried shot was wide of the post.
Hornchurch replied with an Abs Seymour free kick, which found Nathan Cooper, whose header went into the side netting.
Hornchurch had the better of the territorial play, and when Ross Wall played the ball out to Junior Luke on the left wing, the resulting cross was scrambled away, whilst an Abs Seymour free kick met the same fate a minute later.
Hornchurch went close to opening the scoring when Leon McKenzie chased down the right, and pulled the ball back to Abs Thompson, whose hard shot was deflected over the bar for a corner.
McKenzie had a chance two minutes later, when he moved on to a pass from Jed Chouman, only to fire his shot wide.
Wall opened up the visiting defence before playing his cross low into the goalmouth, where Thompson slid in but could only direct the ball over the bar.
Thompson was causing problems on the right wing, and another penetrating run led to a corner.
At the other end, Aveley won a free kick ten yards out, and Billy Coyne fired his shot into the wall. The ball rebounded to Edwards, but he could not get any accuracy into his shot.
Both Thompson and Wall went close before Hornchurch opened the scoring, when Wall sent the ball out to Luke on the left wing, and Leon McKenzie, in his one hundredth game for Hornchurch, was quick to place the cross firmly into the net.
The lead lasted for only two minutes, when a corner was deflected out for a follow up corner, and Billy Coyne floated the ball over from the right for Mason Bloomfield to head home.
Lamar Johnson then saved from Luke, before Hornchurch regained the lead, when Kenzer Lee headed home in a packed goalmouth from an Abs Seymour free kick.
Three minutes later, Thompson again left defenders in his wake before crossing into the middle, where Leon McKenzie was waiting to plant the ball into the net.
Hornchurch continued to press after the interval, Chouman forcing Johnson into making a fine save.
Ross Wall almost found the net with a good shot after Thompson had again opened up the left side of the Aveley defence, and Wall had another shot blocked two minutes later.
On 66 minutes, Alex Bentley broke up an Aveley attack, and raced seventy yards upfield, with Johnson saving well.
Johnson was again in action with an excellent save from Chouman, and he reacted quickly to save the follow up shot, as Hornchurch threatened to overwhelm the visitors.
McKenzie then turned the ball back to Ross Wall, and Johnson again saved, and Wall went close with another shot, the ball curling past the far post.
Jim McFarlane introduced Gary Cohen after Wall picked up what we hope is just a minor injury, whilst Joey May came on for Thompson, possibly to the relief of an overworked Aveley defence.
Billy Coyne needed some lengthy treatment before eventually being able to resume, though limping badly.
James Morrish replaced McKenzie as the match moved into stoppage time, and Hornchurch comfortably played out the final few minutes to extend their unbeaten run to thirteen matches, and at the same time move into the play-off positions.