By JOHN CHUBB
There was a storming second half performance from Hornchurch in the Isthmian Premier League on Saturday, as hosts Worthing were hit for six.
After a goalless first 45 minutes Chris Dickson helped himself to a hat-trick, Ronnie Winn weighed in with a brace and Charlie Stimson scored a minute from time to make it 6-0.
The win left Urchins in second place behind Haringey Borough, who the only Premier Division side to have won all their first three fixtures.
Just behind them in third place are Bowers & Pitsea, who also enjoyed a fine win in Sussex as they triumphed 2-0 away to Lewes courtesy of goals from Bradley Warner and Lewwis Manor.
East Thurrock United fell to their first defeat of 2019/20 at home to Potters Bar Town, who beat them 3-1 with goals from Josh Hutchinson (2) and Ryan Young.
Mitch Gilbey scored Rocks’ consolation a minute from time, but despite losing John Coventry’s side are still in fifth place.
In the Isthmian North it was an historic day for last season’s Essex Senior League champions Hullbridge Sports, who were hosting their first ever match at non-League step 4 but it ended in disappointment as they were well beaten 3-0 by Witham Town. George Bugg, Marcus Bowers and Oliver Emsden all found the net for the visiting side in the first half.
Grays Athletic enjoyed a very good start to their campaign against fellow Essex club Brentwood Town, who they beat 4-1 with two goals from Tony Stokes (via the penalty spot), plus one each from Timothy Ogunrinde and Joao Carlos cancelling out Jacob Wiggins’ opener for Brentwood.
The visitors had to play with 10 men for the majority of the second half, following Michael Toner’s dismissal.
Another all-Essex affair saw Canvey Island triumph 2-1 away to Romford, who had taken the lead in the 11th minute through Jimmy Cox but two second-half goals from George Purcell gave the Gulls all three points.
Great Wakering Rovers enjoyed an impressive opening day victory, as they won 4-1 at Felixstowe & Walton United.
Brandon Diau and Jack Stevenson gave Rovers a first half lead before home goalkeeper Danny Crump was shown a red card on the hour mark, for handling the ball outside his box.
Stevenson then added a second before Tom Debenham pulled one back for the Suffolk side. But Billy Johnson made sure of three points for Wakering when he added a fourth goal with ten minutes to go.
Heybridge Swifts played their first league match under new boss Karl Duguid, who has taken over in the Scraley Road hot seat following Julian Dicks’ departure to West Bromwich Albion as Slaven Bilic’s assistant manager.
And the Colchester United legend got off to a fine start, as he watched his new charges triumph 3-1 away to newly promoted Histon.
Elliott Ronto (2) and Alex Teniola scored in the first half for Swifts, with Lee Smith heading one back for the hosts in the 48th minute.
Heybridge’s neighbours Maldon & Tiptree also got off to a winning start, beating Soham Town Rangers 3-1 at the Wallace Binder Stadium.
Danny Parish (with two goals) and Hanza Kaid were on the scoresheet for the Jammers, before a late penalty from Mulready gave the visitors a consolation.
Aveley came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw at Dereham Town. Adam Hipperson and Shaun Wones gave the home side a half-time lead before Wyan Reid struck twice for the Millers after the break.
But there was disappointment on the road for Basildon United, who lost 3-1 at Bury Town and for Tilbury, who slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Cambridge City.
In the newly formed South Central Division Harlow Town got the better of visitors FC Romania in a seven-goal thriller, but they had to hang on after their opponents made a spirited second half comeback.
Oliver Gnandi, Sergei Erkalsan and De’juane Taylor-Crossdale (2) fired the Hawks into a 4-0 lead before Felix Lupu (with a brace) and Samuel Oyeniran got their side back into the match, but it finished 4-3 to the hosts.
Waltham Abbey gained a point with a 2-2 draw away to South Park. The home side went ahead through Reece Williams-Bowers (penalty) and Charlie Pitcher, but Abbey fought back with goals from Junior Appiah and Louis Bowen.
But Barking began with a defeat, losing 3-1 at Marlow. Emmanuel Ighorae found the net for the Blues but goals from Ashleigh Artwell, Junaid Bell and Charlie Samuel sealed it for the home side.