Category Archives: Local sport

2018 – the season continues

Billericay Town supporter Mike Joyce updates us with the latest news at the club

Happy New Year to all my followers, here at BTFC we are looking forward to the rest of the season.

❤️Sadly on the 15/12 one of the clubs best known and loved fans, Nigel Harris (57) died at home, it was later discovered he had died peacefully, his heart had just stopped working. Tributes were paid to Nigel at the away game v Burgess Hill and on Boxing Day v Thurrock. RIP Nigel❤️

(Nigel’s funeral will take place on Friday 26th January and will commence from his beloved Billericay Town Football Club travelling to Bentley Crematorium. Details have been published locally.)

On Saturday 16/12 following the sad news of Nigel’s death we played away at Burgess Hill, the first half didn’t go well losing 2-0 and 3-1, but we managed to go in at half time only losing 3-2. The 2nd half was completely different, we dominated the half winning 4-3, Nigel would have been happy with the result.

On Boxing Day we were at home to Thurrock winning 1-0 in a not so entertaining game in front of one of our biggest attendances (1653 ) The new year didn’t start well, games on the 30/12 v Dulwich & away on 1/1 v Tonbridge were postponed because of waterlogged pitches.

On 6/1/18 we were at home to Margate in an entertaining game resulting in a 1-1 result. (Attendance 1570) The after match comments of owner Glenn Tamplin were very interesting and honest. He believed 3/4 players didn’t fully commit to the game and it was something he wouldn’t tolerate. He stated established player/s would go out on loan because of this, today the club announced Leo Chambers & Louie Theophanous would go on loan to Kingstinan for 28 days. It was also reported by Echo reporter Luke Lambert the possibility of new players.

On the 09/1/18 we played Harlow winning 3-0 in the Quarter Final of the Essex Senior Cup.It was a good performance played on Harlow’s artificial pitch. Jamie O’Hara played the full 90 minutes on his return from injury and had a good game. We have been drawn at home to play Romford or Grays, the other semi final is between Chelmsford & East Thurrock.

The average home league attendance is now up to 1226 which is over 110% up on last season. It’s interesting to note that local teams in the league above us are averaging a lot less. Chelmsford 905, Braintree 588, East Thurrock 289, Concord Rangers 276. (Dagenham in the National League are averaging 1467) We have some way to go to achieve the 2000+ but I’m sure it will happen as we continue to push for promotion.

The team have only conceded 17 goals in 22 games, the best in the league, this includes 11 clean sheets. It’s also the best defensive record currently in the non league premier divisions, the National League, National League North/South as well as the 2nd Division.

We are currently 5 points behind Dulwich who are top but do have 5 games in hand. Our next 2 games are cup matches, home v Stourbridge on the 13/1 in the FA Trophy and away v Wingate 16/1 in the League Cup. The next league game is 20/1 v Harrow at home.

The game on Saturday 13th January v Stourbridge is another big game and a chance to reach the last 16 of the second biggest cup competition in the country. If you can join us come and see what has happened to BTFC in just 12 months, Glenn Tamplin took over ownership in December 2016

Essex Senior Cup Semi-Final Draw

Chris Evans reports…


Billericay Host Romford, East Thurrock Meet Chelmsford

Essex Senior Cup underdogs, Romford, have been handed a high-profile Semi-Final tie away at Billericay Town after the draw was made on Wednesday (10th January), with East Thurrock United set to entertain Chelmsford City.

Paul Martin’s ‘Boro’ side, who defeated Grays Athletic 1-0 a short time after the draw was made thanks to a Connor Hammond strike, are currently in the lower reaches of the Bostik North Division. Yet their Senior Cup performances have been a source of great pride, already dispatching promotion contenders Maldon & Tiptree and Canvey Island.

Now they’ll have Glenn Tamplin’s Premier Division leaders in their sights as they bid to spring a surprise and make it to the final at Colchester United FC’s Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday 20th March. Billericay themselves progressed, 3-0, past Harlow Town with two Billy Bricknell goals and one from Dean Inman the previous evening.

Meanwhile, two clubs who are very familiar with each other are Vanarama National League rivals East Thurrock and Chelmsford, who’ll go head-to-head at the FutureFuel Stadium. John Coventry’s Rocks are hoping to go a stage further as 2017 runners-up to holders City, managed by Rod Stringer, who knocked out Colchester United 1-0 thanks to Shaun Batt’s late finish. East Thurrock also snuck past Concord Rangers by a single Montel Agyemang goal.

The Semi-Final ties are due to be completed by 10th February. Two special guests assisted with the draw – local non-league football journalist, James Colasanti, pulled out the home clubs, while Nick Alliker selected the away sides. Colasanti felt it was an intriguing pair of ties.

“You’ve got a repeat of last season’s final on one side of the draw,” he said. “Personally I try to remain Essex-neutral but I always kind of have a hankering for the underdogs so I’d like to see Romford come through and certainly get to the final or, perhaps, win it. I know they run things on a shoestring down there, so that would be the romantic one.”

James also commented on the fortunes of Bostik North challengers Heybridge Swifts, for whom he has a media reporting role. Swifts have performed exceedingly well in the FA Cup and Trophy this season and have the chance of further glory in the League. He added: “It could go any way for Heybridge at the moment.”

“In context, they’ve only beaten relegation on the final day for the last two seasons now so, for this season to come through and be the lowest-ranked team left in the FA Cup at League Two Exeter City, and also the lowest-ranked team left in the FA Trophy, it represents quite a turnaround in fortunes. They’ve now got up to a dozen games in hand so, if they can remain consistent, hopefully they can push themselves and challenge for a play-off place.”

Essex Senior Cup Semi-Finals (on or before 10th February)

Billericay Town vs Romford

East Thurrock United vs Chelmsford City



National League Preview 13 January 2018

With the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy taking place this weekend, only three National League games are scheduled, but it is a chance for all six sides to pick up some valuable points…

AFC Fylde vs Guiseley @15:00

A draw at home to Chester on Tuesday night stalled some of The Coasters’ momentum, but it is still four League games without a loss for the 11th placed side, and they are still in reach of the playoffs, six points off with two games in hand on Dagenham and Redbridge who sit 7th.  The fact that Fylde have only won four League games at Mill Field will worry some, but with the League’s top scorer in Danny Rowe on hand, fans will always be confident on getting something from a game.  Visitors Guiseley had their home game against Gateshead on Tuesday postponed due to a frozen pitch, so should be fresher, but are three without a League win following last weekend’s loss at Eastleigh, typical of a season where they have picked up nine of a possible 42 away points.  The Lions are the only side in the division to have conceded 50 League goals and have scored exactly half that number, only Torquay scoring fewer.  However, despite sitting 23rd, Guiseley are only nine points off safety with two games in hand on 20th placed Barrow.

Torquay Utd vs Eastleigh @15:00

Torquay are bottom of the League, 11 points off safety, with a sizeable amount of goal difference to make up.  They have lost their last two League matches to make it six without a League win, with only three points taken in that time and only two goals scored, no surprise for a side who are the lowest scorers in the division (23 from 28 matches, conceding 45 – almost double!).  Gulls fans will also be well aware that they have the worst home record in the National League.  Eastleigh are 15th, a 4-2 win against Guiseley on Saturday making it five without a League defeat.  However, Andy Hessenthaler will want to improve The Spitfires’ form on the road with only three away League wins.

Woking vs Tranmere Rovers @15:00

A remarkable 4-4 draw with Maidstone on Saturday continued a run of six without a League win for The Cards with only one win in the last 12 National League matches.  However, Woking can look to a solid home record in the division which has seen them win seven, draw three and lose four.  After a phenomenal December, Tranmere have no League wins in 2018, with a draw to Barrow following up a loss to Fylde.  Both of these games were on the road, and the away run continues with this trip.  It is perhaps no surprise that Rovers didn’t win the opening matches of 2018 as they have only won three away League games all season.  The visitors can, however, lean on a defence that has conceded only 26 in their 28 National League matches, but memories of conceding five to Fylde must still haunt them.

Basildon Edge Through On Penalties

Barkingside 1 Basildon United 1 (Basildon United won 4-3 Penalties)

Errington Challenge Cup 2nd Round

Monday 8th January

Report by Scott Lanza / Photo by Sherry Cumming


Basildon United are through to the Quarter Finals of the Errington Challenge Cup after defeating Barkingside on penalties on Monday evening. The hosts put aside a losing league run at Burnham Ramblers on Saturday and were able to keep their high-flying visitors at bay for large parts of the game, going in at half-time a goal to the good.


The Bees had an early chance in the opening ten minutes when Kurt Smith floated over a cross that Jamie Selby-Knight headed over. Barkingside had a go themselves with Jayden Mitchell-Brown attempting to lob Connor Wheatley, but the Bees keeper kept the shot out.


The always dangerous Marc Bowers was kept quiet by a hard working Side defence, who showed a bit more resolve and fight, putting in many strong tackles to deny Basildon shooting opportunities. Bowers was able to fire off a shot midway through the half, but veteran keeper Ryan Karrar, who was drafted in recently, showed good instincts to stop the shot.


Roddy Lemba bundled his way into the Basildon box but was soon dispossessed by Selby-Knight. But he was soon able to force Billy Willis into an error which allowed him to unload, but on this occasion Wheatley pulled off a good save. Lemba however pounced on the rebound, centred to Ryan Imbert, who side-footed the ball home to give Barkingside a 37th minute lead.


The Bees immediately asked the Barkingside rear-guard a few questions after falling behind. A lofted pass to Bowers was cleared by Joe Mendy, while Karrar controlled his defence so well that they were at times solid, meaning he wasn’t tested too much in the first half. However Karrar had to pull off a diving save to keep out a Bowers free kick right on the stroke of half time.


The Bees opened the second half with a swarm of activity around the Side box, with Karrar having to cut out a Bowers shot, before a Basildon corner was flicked onto the post by Luke Hornsley.


Barkingside went on the attack themselves when Michael Ogboin had a crack but Wheatley charged the shot down and it was cleared. But in the 57th minute the Bees launched an attack themselves which ended up with a fine delivery from Ashley Blackburn being rifled home by Bowers, who doesn’t miss chances like that from close range.


But clear cut chances dried up as both teams cancelled each other out. Lemba won Barkingside a corner in the 75th minutes when his shot was knocked away by Chris Charlery. The hosts made no usage of the corner and it drifted tamely away.  Matheus Santos turned the Bee’s defence inside-out but his final shot was straight at Wheatley. Karrar had to cut out crosses as Basildon spent the final five minutes trying to penetrate the Side box. Lemba cleared one ball away and Karrar had to tip away a lofted George Whitby free kick. Side however had the ball in the Basildon box twice in the final minute. But both were wasted as first Ogboin fouled a Basildon defender whilst trying to connect with Lemba’s cross;  then the final seconds saw the ball fall to Santos but he hurried his shot and ended up spooning the ball high over the bar.


Barkingside scored their opening three penalties as Ogboin, Lemba and Billzy all despatched their kicks; Karrar pulled off a save to keep out Selby-Knight’s penalty for Basildon United, which was sandwiched between two successful kicks taken by Bowers and Spooner. Wheatley then saved Santos’ penalty with Renew rifling home his one to level the shoot-out at 3-3. Briggs took Barkingside’s final penalty which Wheatley saved; the final penalty was taken by George Whitby whose conversion won the tie for Basildon United. They now have a home tie with holders Takeley in the Quarter Final.


Barkingside: Ryan Karrar, Kofi Billzy, Ricardo Bailey, David Etcheri, Joe Mendy, Mike Bottone, Roddy Lemba, Jayden Mitchell-Brown, Ryan Imbert (Matheus Santos 81’), James Briggs, Ben Clarke (Michael Ogboin 51’).

Scorer – Ryan Lambert (37’).

Pens – Michael Ogboin, Roddy Lemba, Kofi Billzy.

Basildon United: Connor Wheatley, Billy Willis, Jamie Selby-Knight, Grant Cumming, Chris Charlery, George Whitby, Luke Hornsley, Tom Barton (Oli Spooner 46’), Marcus Bowers, Sam Marsh (Jack Renew 74’), Kurt Smith (Ashley Blackburn 17’).

Scorer – Marcus Bowers (57’).

Pens – Marcus Bowers, Oli Spooner, Jack Renew, George Whitby.






Leopards Win Thriller

Dave Ryan reports…

Levett Essex Leopards made it four wins on the bounce as they came from 15 points down in the first half to beat Westminster Warriors 75-73.

For the third successive time at Brentwood, the game went down to the final seconds before the Big Cats came out on top.

The result keeps Thomas Baker’s team in the hunt for promotion, with their next home game seeing leaders Nottingham Hoods visit Brentwood on Saturday January 20 (7pm).

Will Ashby led the way for the hosts, hitting three treys in a 20 point, four rebound, three assist performance, while fellow Brentwood boy Dougie Bennett added 18 points and four assists.

Shaq Lewis again provided the spark off the bench with ten points and six boards, while Jamie Hayes added four points to a ten rebound performance.

For the visitors, player-coach Jon Johnson again redoubled the Big Cats with a 24 point, 12 rebound double-double – though he took 17 shots and lived at the free-throw line – while former Leopards Justin Hitchman and Lawrence Brown added 13 points apiece, Hitchman also pulling down ten boards.

Brown opened the scoring for the visitors, and Leopards struggled with Warriors’ size in the opening stages as the seven footer caused them problems, allowing another former Big Cat Tosin Oyelese to hit seven straight points.

Warriors led throughout the opening period, and despite Ashby and Jerrell Layne hitting treys, the Big Cats trailed 27-14 at the first break.

Hayes opened the second period scoring, but back-to-back triples from Johnson saw Warriors’ lead grow to 33-18.

This finally sparked the hosts into life, with Lewis converting a lay-up before Ashby scored seven straight points capped by a trey to cut the deficit to six.

Warriors replied with six unanswered points before captain Bennett caught fire, landing two triples as he hit ten points in a 13-2 run to send his side into the locker room only trailing 41-38.

Bennett continued that run with the opening score of the second half before Ashby gave Leopards their first lead of the game, and Caleb Taberner  completed the 19-2 run to put the Big Cats 45-41 ahead three minutes into the period.

Warriors grabbed the lead back with an 8-2 run and the rest of the third period was nip and tuck before treys from Korey Callum and Jose Morais sent Leopards into the final break with a 59-54 lead.

That lead quickly evaporated as Warriors scored six straight points to open the fourth period, before Lewis, Bennett and Ashby helped Leopards’ reply with a 6-0 run of their own.

A Johnson triple saw Leopards’ lead cut to 66-65 at the five minute mark but scores from Lewis and Ashby saw them lead by four heading into the final three minutes.

A steal and lay-up from Ashby extended that advantage before Hayes hit a pair at the line to make it a five point game with a minute remaining.

Lewis fouled out to send Hitchman to the line where he converted both shots before Johnson split a pair at the charity stripe to cut Leopards’ lead to two 32 seconds on the clock.

Johnson had a shot to tie the game after grabbing the rebound from his missed free-throw, but some good defence kept Leopards ahead and Hayes’ pass found an unmarked Bennett who was able to run the clock down and seal the win.

The Big Cats travel to Derbyshire Arrows on Sunday where they will face a side sitting ninth in the table with four wins from nine games.

The teams were regular opponents during Leopards’ early days in Division One, but haven’t met since Arrows were relegated in 2009/10.



Hullbridge Gunned Down By Tring

Hullbridge were gunned down by Tring Athletic in their FA Vase 4th Round clash on Saturday


Tring Athletic 5 Hullbridge Sports 1 (Buildbase FA Vase 4th Round)

Saturday 6th January

Report by Scott Lanza / Photo by Neil Hunwicks


With a place in the last sixteen at stake it was no surprise that both teams opened the game determined to challenge for every ball and it was quite frantic at times. However Tring were able to settle themselves down and coped with the heavy pitch a lot better than Sports did. And ultimately were able to get a grip on the game whilst Hullbridge were only able to show brief moments of their capabilities.


It was the hosts who had the opening chance of the game when Luke Dunstan cut inside and cannoned a shot into the side-netting. Hullbridge found their hosts strong in the tackle with Perry Hurst and Michael Salako both coming under robust challenges that won them two free kicks. Jimmy Cox unfortunately wasted both opportunities firing one straight into the Tring wall and they other being smashed way too high to pose any threat.


Tring took the lead in the 13th minute when Elliot Goward worked his way into position and had a shot saved by Russell Hartley. What happened next was simply a calamity as Hullbridge’s defence didn’t clear their lines at all well.  Shawn Coe’s attempted clearance crashed into team mate Gus Douglas and ricocheted into their own net. It was a horrible way to concede and Tring immediately took the game by the scruff of the neck and tried to get the ball as often as possible into the Hullbridge box. A long ball reached Chris Vardy who hurtled down the right flank and sent over a cross which Dunstan almost connected with at the back post. Vardy was a constant thorn in Hullbridge’s side as he had the speed to get on the end of most of the long balls that were being fed to him.


A Cox header did force Jack Hopwood to make a save on the line whilst being challenged by Salarko. Having gone behind due to a defensive error, Hullbridge then nearly equalised via a lapse themselves; Dan Steadman slipped, allowing Salako to easily chip the keeper, but the ball rattled against the cross bar and bounced away to safety. It had been Hullbridge’s best chance of the half and they were then presented another opportunity when a wayward Tring pass came to Cox who lobbed Hopwood but the shot hit the side-netting. Hullbridge ended the half in control having spent rather a long time to get into the game.


However Hullbridge were not able to take that momentum into the second half as within three minutes of the re-start they found themselves two goals down. A ball bobbling around the Hullbridge box was turned into the net by Jack Read at close range.


Tring upped their game once again after scoring; soon afterwards Max Hercules darted down the left wing, found Read who placed a shot inches wide. Cox did have shot blocked by Hopwood and Hullbridge did try and go forward but in doing so it opened up gaps at the back which Tring exploited. Just before the hour mark Vardy showed some sublime skill as his back-heel wrong-footed Harley and the Tring striker then finished the job off by shooting into the bottom left hand corner.


Hullbridge were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute which Cox converted. For a moment it looked like it may be a life-line – but any such ideas were extinguished in the 71st minute. Hercules held up the ball before setting up Dunstan,  whose shot was kept out by a quality save from Harley. But the resulting corner was met by the head of Mark Riddick who timed his run to perfection with his powerful header crashing into the back of the net.


Luca Frankis headed a Hullbridge chance narrowly over in the 75th minute but Read was involved in another Tring  foray into the Hullbridge box, which only ended when stern Matt Tapley put in a challenge. Read then went even closer in the 80th minute when he quickly turned and fired off a low shot that was


Tring were able to add further gloss to their victory when a fine delivering from George Carbery was volleyed past Harley by Hercules in stoppage time. After a slow first half the hosts seemed to be more up for it in the second period,  winning all the important battles, backed up with clinical finishing. They now go into the 5th Round draw for the first time in their history. Hullbridge, who had started slowly in the first half, picking up a bit of momentum towards the end of it, didn’t start their engine at all in the second half.  After an amazing FA Vase campaign it sadly petered out on Saturday with barely a whimper.


Tring Athletic: Jack Hopwood, Colin Parrott, Chris Mason, Mark Riddick, Dan Steadman (Capt), Dave O’Connor (Steve Nott-Macaire 73’), Max Hercules, Tommy Twelves, Chris Vardy (George Carbery 81’), Luke Dunstan, Eliott Goward (Jack Read 30’).

Scorers – OG (13’), Jack Read (48’), Chris Vardy (59’), Mark Riddick (71’), Max Hercules (90+1)


Hullbridge Sports: Russell Harley, Shawn Coe, Sam Taylor, Joe Pattison, Rob Hodgson, Gus Douglas, Michael Edgar (Matt Tapley 52’), Harry Watkins, Michael Salako, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Perry Hirst (Luca Frankis (71’).

Essex Senior League – Saturday 6th January Round-Up

Barkingside end their losing streak by firing 5 past Burnham Ramblers

Premier Division Round-Up

Report by Peter Dudley / Photo by Philip Lindhurst


Premier Division

Basildon United 1 West Essex 1
A late header saw West Essex take a point at The Hive against Basildon United. Luke Hornsley had put the hosts ahead but a header five minutes from time from Josh Kane saw the Mayesbrook Park side take a point.

Burnham Ramblers 1 Barkingside 5
Side got their 2018 off to a flyer by ending a long losing run by smashing five past a previously in form Burnham Ramblers side at Leslie Field. Roddy Lemba bagged a brace, with Ryan Imben and Mattheus Santos also chipping in plus an own goal adding to the tally. Ramblers replied via Karl Swanborough. It means Side are out of the bottom four whilst Ramblers remain eleventh.

Hackney Wick 0 Great Wakering Rovers 2
Rovers netted twice inside the opening twenty minutes to take the points at The Old Spotted Dog against struggling Hackney Wick. Jay Nash broke the deadlock on eight minutes before Stephen Butterworth doubled that lead on twenty minutes, which helped Rovers seal another three points.

Ilford 0 FC Romania 2
FCR are now just four points behind leaders Redbridge after they took all three points against Ilford at Cricklefield. George Taban opened the account in the 34th minute with Florin Pop sealing the victory in the second half.  It leaves the Foxes in ninth spot.

Redbridge P-P Stansted
Today’s match at Oakside was postponed due to storm damage at the ground.

Sawbridgeworth Town 4 Sporting Bengal United 1
A great second half performance from the Robins saw them see off Sporting Bengal United and pick up the three points at Crofters. Toby Cleaver converted a 43rd minute spot kick to set them on their way, and although Sporting levelled with a good passing move being slotted home by Ashaan Siddik, Sawbo were back in front courtesy of an Aaron Thomas belter. Toby Cleaver then added another to make it three for the hosts before Billy Skinner chipped over the visitor’s keeper to seal a welcome win for the hosts.

Takeley P-P Wadham Lodge
Today’s match at Station Road was postponed due to an unplayable surface.

Tower Hamlets 3 Enfield 1893 0
Hamlets began 2018 with a terrific home win over Enfield at Mile End. Wale Odedoyin put them ahead after just three minutes before a late double from James Ross sealed the deal for the Mile End side. The hosts are eighth whilst Enfield slip back into the bottom four.

Waltham Forest 1 Clapton 0
Forest are now six unbeaten after an early goal from Abdoulai Njai was enough to defeat Clapton at Kitchener Road in Walthamstow. The win sees Forest in fourteenth place whilst Clapton remain in sixth spot.


Prokit UK Essex Olympian League – Saturday 6th January Round-Up

Premier Division

Ashley Taylor-Forbes scored a very important goal on Saturday. His contribution helped Frenford beat defending champions Springfield 1-0 which means that Frenford are now the leaders of the Premier Division. Harold Wood Athletic were held to a 2-2 draw by Leigh Ramblers which now sees them sitting second. Stephen Willis and Connor Hartwell scored the Harold Wood goals with Tom Hollingsworth and Ryan Lowe notching the Leigh strikes. Rayleigh Town posted another point to the board after a 2-2 with Catholic United. Alex Witham and Jack Long scored the Rayleigh goals which means that the point gained closes the gap slightly on the teams just above them. Bottom-placed Basildon Town lost 4-1 at White Ensign with Luke Skinner, David Limber, Liam Sewell and Elliot Vile doing the damage. Dominic Locke scored the Basildon consolation.

Hornchurch Take The Points At Parkside

Aveley 0 AFC Hornchurch 2 (Bostik North)

Friday 5th January

Report by Scott Lanza


A bumper crowd of 398 turned up at Parkside on a crisp winter evening to see Aveley take on Bostik North leaders AFC Hornchurch. Aveley went into the game having been winless over the Christmas period whilst their opponents opened the New Year with a 4-3 home defeat at the hands of Brentwood Town.


Both teams took a while to get into their stride as neither side were willing to let the other dominate in the opening exchanges. A Russell Malton delivery to Alex Teniola suddenly created an opening for the Millers but Teniola couldn’t keep his shot down. Max Bradford then went close with shot that just whizzed the wrong side of the left upright. However the Millers found the Urchins defence water-tight; even when they did find a way through Sam Mott rushed off his line to mop up, denying Teniola in the process.  A swerving Robbie Rees shot bent just wide was the best of the Aveley chances.


The Urchins rearguard had been leaky on New Year’s Day but were back to their usual solid state, marchalled by Nathan Cooper with Jamie Hursit, Jay Porter and Kenzer Lee all doing their bit to keep to stunt Aveley attack. However at the same time the Urchins hadn’t penetrated the Aveley box until they sprang into life in the 28th minute. On that occasion George Purcell found his way into the box blocked by Connor Witherspoon and Myles Keizer-Burrows who both harried the Urchins talisman, denying him an opportunity to fire off a shot. Purcell however played the ball out to the left flank where Matthias Fanimo was waiting;  he swiftly centred to Nathan Livings whose shot clipped the post. Witherspoon had to head away a dangerous cross, then former Miller Olu Oluwatimilehin thumped a long-range effort narrowly over. Hornchurch having made a slow start were now having much more possession and nearly broke the deadlock in the 39th minute when Fanimo dinked a shot over; then the Urchins saw Purcell miss a golden opportunity when  a ball landed at his feet,  but he wasn’t able to get a clean connection and dragged his shot wide.


Aveley ended the half with two free kicks; and it was from one of them that caused the break away from which the Urchins opened the scoring. Lewis Gard’s free kick was caught by Mott who kicked it out, launching a fast-paced counter offensive which ended up being swept across the Aveley box with  Fanimo ramming the ball home to give the Urchins the lead a mere few seconds before the interval.


The Millers may have gone a goal down right at the end of the first half but they didn’t dwell on that too much; they went straight at the table toppers from the start of the second period with Witherspoon firing over after some nice play from Max Bradford. The Millers kept the ball well at times and did have a bit more of the possession but the Urchins are top for a reason – their defence marshalled by Cooper kept everything out as Hursit, Porter and Lee worked in tandem to stem the Aveley flow. Added to that the Urchins  looked dangerous on the counter which at times tested the Millers defence. However a Fanimo cross from the left failed to reach any Hornchurch players as it pinged across the Aveley goalmouth; and then a ball from the right flank reached a similar conclusion. Purcell though missed a sitter after Fanimo chased down a ball that resulted in Madden and Witherspoon clattering into each other, laid it off to Purcell, who then missed the target.


After that let off the Millers then had another go themselves with Gard and Teniola both having shots blocked. The Millers even spurned a good opportunity to equalise as Teniola could only rifle of a tame shot which Mott easily saved; had there been a bit more power  the Urchins keeper may have been picking the ball out of the net.


Purcell had a header hit the cross bar, but Aveley showed some solid defending as McKenzie headed the rebound goal wards but Russell Malton cleared the ball off the goal line. The hosts were soon up the other end with a dangerous cross only being cleared as far as George Doyle, but his powerful follow up shot was brilliantly tipped around the post by Mott.


Aveley kept at the task and peppered the Urchins box as the game came into the final stages. The Urchins stood firm, defended resolutely before launching another counter attack which ended in Theo Fairweather-Johnson getting into the Aveley box and slotting past Madden, sealing the win only a few minutes after coming off the subs bench.


Aveley were probably worth a share of the spoils but the Urchins were decisive when they had to be and they made up for their stuttering New Year performance as they posted their first win of 2018.


Aveley: Rhys Madden, Russell Malton, Alex Stephenson, Connor Witherspoon (George Woodward 86’), Myles Keizer-Burrows, Amir Berkane, Jake Gordon (Sewa Marah 77’), Max Bradford (George Doyle 64’), Alex Teniola, Lewis Gard, Robbie Rees.


AFC Hornchurch: Sam Mott, Jamie Hursit, Jay Porter, Kenzer Lee, Nathan Cooper, Olu Oluwatimilehin, Nathan Livings (Tobi Joseph 75’), Sean Robers, Leon McKenzie, George Purcell (Theo Fairweather-Johnson 83’), Matthias Fanimo (Bradley Warner 72’).

Scorers – Matthias Fanimo (45+2’), Theo Fairweather-Johnson (85’).


National League Preview 9 January 2018

Four National League games take place on Tuesday night, with sides playing catch up on the rest of the division…

AFC Fylde vs Chester @19:45

It is now three League wins in a row for The Coasters as they build up a head of steam.  Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bromley saw Fylde up to 11th, just six points off Tranmere in 7th, with two games in hand on Rovers.  Fylde have only won four League games at Mill Farm, but equally have suffered only two losses, so may be a tough nut to crack for visiting Chester.  The Blues pulled out a surprising win away at Ebbsfleet on Saturday, which moves them up to 21st, 6 off Barrow in 20th with two games in hand.  Equally, Chester are only five off bottom, and two away League wins all season (including Saturday) point to a side who struggles to get it done on the road, but have picked up seven draws.  Only Torquay have scored fewer League goals, with 43 conceded in 27 games in the division not a record to be proud of either.

Dagenham & Redbridge vs Boreham Wood @19:45

The Daggers got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over Hartlepool that sees them back in the playoffs in 6th.  It is now three undefeated in the League for John Still’s men and his side have finally got back on the goal scoring trail after a barren run of games.  Victory on Saturday extended a brilliant home League record which reads, nine wins, two draws and only three losses. Boreham Wood arrive off the back of a 0-0 draw with Leyton Orient, their second consecutive point.  They sit 8th, a point outside the playoffs, with their record now extended to one defeat in 16 National League matches.  They have won only four away games in the division, but have picked up eight draws and will be a difficult opponent to beat with only 27 goals conceded in 28 League games.

Guiseley vs Gateshead @19:45

A 4-2 loss to Eastleigh on Saturday extended The Lion’s winless League run to three with five points taken in the last six.  They are nine points off Barrow in 20th with two games in hand, so the gap isn’t insurmountable, but Guiseley will need to improve a record of only two home League wins.  They became the first side to concede 50 National League goals this season, in 27 matches, scoring exactly half of that total.  For opponents Gateshead, a loss to Sutton at The International Stadium extended their run to six without a League win, with four points picked up.  They are now down in 18th, seven points clear of the drop zone, but with a game in hand on Chester.  The Heed will be seeking to improve a record of only two away League wins, with seven draws.

Maidstone Utd vs Ebbsfleet Utd @19:45

A remarkable 4-4 draw with Woking on Saturday saw The Stones extend their winless League run to nine, but they are unbeaten in the last four.  Despite their poor run, the 13th placed side are only six points off the playoffs with a game in hand.  Home form has been poor with only three League wins, but they have drawn seven.  Ebbsfleet were shocked 1-0 at home to Chester on Saturday and it is back-to-back League losses, winless in three in the division for a side who were putting themselves in playoff contention.  They are now five points off the playoffs in 10th, and have struggled on the road with only two away League wins, drawing seven.