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Match Guide - Bank Holiday double-header

Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend we have two of our remaining seven fixtures as the 2023/24 season edges ever closer to its conclusion. First up we take the trip to champions-elect Hornchurch on Saturday, before returning to the Maurice Rebak Stadium on Monday for a clash against local neighbours Potters Bar Town. At the time of writing, we are occupying 5th place, the final playoff place, and with tricky games against those around us, this weekend represents a challenge but also an opportunity to enhance our playoff credentials.

Saturday 30th March - Hornchurch (A)

Hornchurch have been knocking on the National League South door for a number of years now, having been promoted into the Isthmian Premier League from the Isthmian North Division in 2017/18. Hornchurch finished in a playoff spot in 2021/22, before losing in the playoff final to Cheshunt, the deciding goal for Cheshunt coming from current Blues winger Zack Newton. Last season, it was deja vu for the Urchins who again made the playoffs, this time losing to Aveley in the final. This season has been an improvement for Hornchurch and it looks increasingly likely that Daryl McMahon's men will be crowned champions sooner rather than later.

We played Hornchurch early in the season, back in the glorious September sun, at the Maurice Rebak Stadium. Hornchurch ran out 4-1 winners on that day thanks to four different goalscorers; Sam Higgins, Ryan Scott, Ade Yusuff and Sean Scannell. Our goal was a late consolation through Elliot Long.

Will Seager on the ball against Hornchurch

As you would expect for a team that is flying high at the top of the league, Hornchurch have been in very good recent form, winning 9 of their last 10 league games as they look to secure the title as quickly as possible. In fact, the Urchins could be crowned champions this weekend if results go their way. Their only defeat in the last 10 was a 1-0 loss at Hastings, however this was quickly brushed aside with a 4-0 win at Whitehawk last Saturday and a late 1-0 victory over struggling Concord Rangers on Tuesday night.

Hornchurch have the best attack in the league (85 goals at an average of well over 2 per game) and the best defence having conceded only 26 goals in their 35 league games so far. Their main goal threat comes in the form of Femi Akinwande, who signed for Hornchurch from league rivals Hastings United after an impressive start to the season in East Sussex. Alongside Akinwande is Liam Nash who had a breakout season in 2016/17 as a young forward at Maldon & Tiptree scoring 33 goals in 41 games in the Isthmian North Division, earning him a move to Gillingham who were in League One at the time. Another name in the Hornchurch ranks which will be familiar to Blues fans is midfield maestro Mauro Vilhete who had a short spell with the Blues after his departure from Barnet in 2020.

On Friday, if Chatham Town fail to win against Cray Wanderers, Hornchurch can win the title with a win against the Blues on Saturday, adding some extra spice to an already tasty fixture! Tickets can be bought in advance from the Hornchurch website. Safe travels to those making the journey to Essex on Saturday!

Monday 1st April - Potters Bar Town (H)

Monday will see us facing Potters Bar Town for the 3rd time this season after a Velocity Cup defeat at the Maurice Rebak Stadium was followed by a Boxing Day thriller at The Lantern Stadium. Potters Bar have transformed their season in recent weeks from one of mid-table obscurity to having an outside chance of playoff contention thanks to some excellent recent form including a spell from the end of January to mid March which saw the Scholars achieve 6 wins and 3 draws in an excellent unbeaten run. Their unbeaten run was brought to an end on Tuesday night by Dulwich Hamlet but optimistic Scholars fans will know that they have games in hand over those above them and evidently have the firepower to mount a late push.

The Velocity Cup clash back in October was hardly a thriller, with a second half David Hicks goal being enough to settle the game. In contrast, the clash on Boxing Day was one you couldn't take your eyes off of, a topsy-turvy game ending 3-2 to Potters Bar thanks to a 97th minute winner from ex-Wingate & Finchley forward Darnell Goather-Braithwaite after goals from Elliot Long and Zack Newton looked to have been good enough for a point.

Christian Frimpong breaks against Potters Bar Town

As mentioned, Potters Bar Town come into this game in good form recently, highlights of their 9-game unbeaten run included a thrilling 4-3 win over Concord Rangers thanks to two goals in added time at the end of the 90 and more recently a convincing 6-1 win over relegation-threatened Kingstonian. The run was ended on Tuesday night, however, with Dulwich Hamlet taking all 3 points in a 2-1 win in a very wet Potters Bar on Tuesday night.

Centre-forward Brandon Adams has scored plenty of goals this season, putting him in with an outside chance of the league golden boot with 17 goals to his name this season. In the side's excellent form of recent weeks, Adams has been supported well, particularly by Ore Bello who was signed from Dover Athletic this season and netted two of the Scholars' six goals against Kingstonian last weekend.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Maurice Rebak Stadium on Monday, be sure to pop into the Wingate bar for a Bank Holiday pint and try our new draught beer additions; Cruzcampo and Beavertown Neck Oil! Adult tickets can be purchased in advance here or on the gate on the day (cash and card accepted). Concession tickets can be purchased on the day with valid ID, Under 18s go FREE!

Photos courtesy of Martin Addison.


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