Grier's Guide to Hornchurch
When: Saturday 24 August 2019, 3.00pm
Where: Bridge Avenue, Upminster, Essex, RM14 2LX. The ground is surrounded by a running track so you can't really see anything from behind either goal but there are covered stands and terraces down both sides of the pitch.
Directions: A ten minute walk from Upminster Bridge tube, one stop from the very end of the District Line. Crawling all the way from Wimbledon takes the best part of an hour and a half, so a fast train to Upminster from either Fenchurch St or West Ham, followed by a bus or tube, is often the better option.
Our record there: Mostly poor, as you have to go all the way back to 1984 for Ks' last win away to the Urchins. Last season we led for much of the game, conceded two late goals to go 2-1 down, only to grab an even later equaliser through James Daly.
Current form: Last season they finished a fairly uneventful 15th in the league. But having made a number of new signings over the summer they were installed as the bookies' favourites this time around. Opening day saw them come from behind to beat Merstham 2-1 at the Moatside, then on Tuesday night another comeback allowed them to claim a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Margate.
Players to watch: Summer signings include Chris Dickson, a striker who was once prolific for Dulwich before bagging a move to Charlton Athletic and later having spells in Cyprus and China. Centre-back Rickie Hayles returns to the Urchins - he scored the only goal of the game when they beat us in 2014's playoff semi-final.
Crowd: Similar in number to Ks' crowds, although the inability to go behind the goal means fans can be quite spread out rather than concentrated in one place.
Drinking: The only pub between Upminster Bridge and the ground is Greene King establishment The Windmill. Slightly further away in Upminster, the Upminster Taproom is a new micropub focusing on real ale and a lengthy gin menu, and the Junction has big screen sports and a pool table. If afternoon tea is more your thing, Tea Island in Hornchurch is owned by former Ks manager Craig Edwards (though the man himself now manages Cheshunt and will presumably be busy preparing for their game).
Food: To the delight of at least two Ks fans, Hornchurch and Upminster both have surviving branches of Wimpy. The row of shops by Upminster Bridge tube includes a chippie, a bakery and a curry house.