Leon McKenzie hit a superb 19 minute first half hat-trick – his 6th hat-trick of the season – as the Urchins continued their good run of form to strengthen their play-off position.
HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 0 HORNCHURCH 3
HS – Sambridge, Ramon (Grant 68), Cawley, Morgan, Njie (Baker 78), Anderson, Little (Cole 68), Godbold, Yusuff, Bolle, Dark ©
Subs – Andrews, Hornsey
HFC – Mott, Cohen, Bentley, Lee, Cooper, Styles ©, Thompson (Joseph 84), Chouman, McKenzie (Tuohy 75), Wall, Nesbitt (Adeniji 73)
Subs – Coker, Hussain
Officials – Neil West with Steven Marr and Jamie Pope
Scorers – McKenzie 5, McKenzie 15, McKenzie 24p
Styles 7 (H) – Bentley 53 (H) – Yusuff 81 (HS) – Adeniji 90+1 (H) – Cole 90+1 (HS) – Bolle 90+1 (HS)
Duration 47.00 + 49.00
HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 0 HORNCHURCH 3
Hornchurch made one change in the starting line up, 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 Leon McKenzie followed up to open the scoring.
Ten minutes later, Wall again took possession out on the left, and Leon 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. Leon 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.