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Grier's Updated Guide to Hornchurch

The match: Hornhcurch v Kingstonian, Isthmian Premier. Tuesday 17 January, 19:45

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 should be about an hour and a half - though potentially longer in the evening rush hour - 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 our 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 are now three points clear at the top of the league with games in hand. They've only lost one of their last eight and Ks will face a stern test.

Players to watch: Sam Higgins and Liam Nash are top scorers with 20 and 16 respectively, ranking second 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 Monday 16th January 2023