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Grier's Guide to Hornchurch

The match: Hornhcurch v Kingstonian, Isthmian Premier. Saturday 4 December, 14:00

The club: Reformed in 2005 after the original club went bust, they quickly won their way back into the Isthmian League. They beat us in an agonising playoff semi-final in 2014, Alan Dowson's last game in charge of Ks, before losing 3-0 to Lowestoft in the final. They won the FA Trophy in 2021, an astonishing achievement for a step 3 club.

The town: Suburb on the London/Essex border, though the ground is in neighbouring Upminster. It hosted an important RAF airfield during the two world wars, which has since been converted into housing and Hornchurch Country Park.

The ground: Bridge Avenue, Upminster, Essex, RM14 2LX. The ground is surrounded by a running track and you can't see much from behind either goal but there are covered stands and terraces down both sides of the pitch.

Directions: It's an eight minute walk from Upminster Bridge tube, one stop from the very end of the District Line. But 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, tube or 15 minute walk, is the better option. The drive will be about an hour and a half, with parking available in the streets near the ground.

Tickets: £12 adults; £7 over 65s; £3 12-16; U12s free. You can buy them online at https://www.hornchurchfc.com/club-information/admission-prices/

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 went there in good form but still lost 2-1 despite a Dan Ajakaiye goal.

Current form: The pre-season favourites have just hit the top of the league, helped by a spectacular 5-2 win over title rivals Potters Bar. Ks, still without an away win this season, will face an extremely stern test.

Players to watch: Sam Higgins and Liam Nash are top scorers with 19 and 14 respectively, ranking first and fifth in the league. Higgins has long been a reliable goal-getter - he scored some 275 in ten seasons at East Thurrock. Centre-back Rickie Hayles scored the only goal of the game when they beat us in that playoff semi-final.

Crowd: Hornchurch are on a roll and getting good crowds, although the inability to go behind the goal means fans can be quite spread out which affects the atmosphere.

Drinking: The only pub between Upminster Bridge and the ground is Greene King's The Windmill. In Upminster, the Upminster Taproom is a micropub focusing on real ale and a lengthy gin menu, and the Junction has big screen sports and a pool table.

Food: The row of shops by Upminster Bridge tube includes a chippie, a bakery and a curry house. 


Published Friday 9th December 2022