Hornchurch produced another excellent performance running out 5-1 winners against Witham Town with Leon McKenzie netting his 4th hat-trick of the season. Abs Thompson and Kenzer Lee rounded off the scoring.
WITHAM TOWN 1 HORNCHURCH 5
WT – Reece Payne, Mallett, Anderson (Kemp 79), Watson ©, Akins (Regis 55), Green, Korenteng, Lewis Payne, Monsheju, Imbert (Bradford 65), Adeniji
Subs – Hudson, Hayes
HFC – Mott, Bentley, Da Cruz, Lee, Cooper, Chouman, Thompson (Cohen 73), Wall, McKenzie (Styles 84), Coker, Luke (Coley 45).
Subs – Hussain, Joseph.
Officials Darren Knox with Sam Ingrey and Gavin Jolley
Scorers – McKenzie 33 (H) – McKenzie 34 (H) – Thompson 50 (H) – Monsheju 58 (W) – McKenzie 83 (H) – Lee 90+1 (H)
Bookings – McKenzie 23 (H) – Wall 53 (H) – Thompson 60 (H) – Mallett 67 (W) – Lewis Payne 84 (W) – Kemp 86 (W)
Duration 48.00 + 50.00
WITHAM TOWN 1 HORNCHURCH 5
A hat-trick from Leon McKenzie helped Hornchurch to what was eventually a convincing win at Witham, against a side who looked far better than their league position indicated, and who had only last week drawn against title chasing Thurrock. Despite the wide margin at the finish, Hornchurch had been forced to defend in depth for the first fifteen minutes of the second half, but eventually ran out deserving winners to take the three points.
The previous day’s snow had disappeared, leaving a very muddy playing surface, on a day then the temperature hovered close to zero.
Hornchurch had the first scoring opportunity when Ross Wall exchanged passes with Leon McKenzie, whose shot from outside the area dipped just over the bar on three minutes.
Three minutes later Junior Luke and Ross Wall provided he build up, and Wall’s cross eluded both McKenzie and Abs Thompson before going out for a goal kick.
Witham looked dangerous when coming forward, and Nathan Korenteng could have done better with a shot when well placed which went wide.
Sam Mott saved from Usman Adeniji on 17 minutes, though Hornchurch were beginning to look dangerous whenever they came forward.
Tobi Coker, making his debut on loan from Barnet, had a free kick saved at the near post by Reece Paine, and Coker twice put over dangerous crosses, but without anyone connecting.
Coker continued to frustrate the home defence, and when his cross-cum-shot was deflected for a corner. Jed Chouman sent the ball into the goalmouth where Nathan Cooper headed on for Leon McKenzie to fire past a defender and into the net.
A minute later Junior Luke gained possession inside his own half, and ran down the left flank, avoided two tackles and sent the ball forward and into the box, where Leon McKenzie, slotted home.
Luke needed attention after providing a good cross into the middle, and in stoppage time he was replaced by Ayrton Coley.
Witham came out strongly after the interval, and Hornchurch were forced to defend against a very determined home side. Korenteng tried a shot from outside the area, which went wide of the target, and Nathan Cooper made a timely interception to prevent a possible goal a minute later.
Sam Mott saved from Korenteng effort, but, just when it looked as though Hornchurch were going to endure a long and difficult second half, the ball was played out of defence to Ross Wall, who switched play to the right, where Abs Thompson ran forward and glided the ball past Reece Payne, and it rolled slowly across the line for the third goal, despite the efforts of Luke Mallett to keep it out.
Witham continued to give the Hornchurch defence a difficult time, and Tim Monsheju found a bit of space just outside the box and placed a shot beyond the diving Mott and into the far top corner.
But this proved to be another turning point, as Hornchurch regained control in midfield, and when Ayrton Coley attempted to break through on the left, he was brought down by Luke Mallett, who was booked. Coker took the free kick, and the clearance went only as far as JJ Da Cruz, whose shot was wide of the goal.
Jimmy McFarlane sent Gary Cohen on for Thompson for the final 17 minutes, with Cohen quickly became involved with a run along the right, before his cross found McKenzie, whose firm time attempt went past the post.
Coker almost got onto the scoresheet with a shot from Wall’s left-wing cross, but the ball was scrambled away, as Hornchurch now threatened to increase their total.
Hornchurch went 4-1 up with nine minutes left, when Cohen gained possession on the right, can through, past a defender, and his excellent cross found Leon McKenzie, who volleyed home to complete his hat-trick and take his total for the season to 26.
Elliot Styles then came on in place of McKenzie, and Hornchurch never looked like conceding any more goals as Witham’s challenge faded.
Reece Paine turned a Chouman shot around the post, Chouman took the corner and Nathan Cooper’s header was scrambled away by the Witham defence.
And Hornchurch wrapped it all up in stoppage time when Chouman’s corner found Kenzer Lee, who had spent most of the match in defence, but who had moved forward when Styles came on, and Kenzer fired home from close range to score his second goal of the season.
The outcome was a convincing final scoreline, but credit to the home side who applied considerable pressure after the interval.