Hornchurch v Cray Wanderers – Match Preview

Photos: www.hilligerpix.com

After the excitement and anticipation of the return of Isthmian Premier League football last weekend after a matchless midweek, Cray Wanderers are on the road on Saturday in the league for the first time since October as Danny Kedwell’s side visit FA Trophy holders Hornchurch. Kick off is 3pm.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers before the Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Lewes at Hayes Lane on August 14, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Both sides won their first games of the season so both bring good form into what should be a great match in Hornchurch’s first home league game since winning the FA Trophy in May.

Cray Wanderers began their league campaign with a classy 3-1 win against Lewes at Hayes Lane last Saturday getting Danny Kedwell’s managerial league career off to a cracking start. Despite being without Dean Beckwith, Charlie Allen and Jack Hanson available for the game, Cray were able to field ten league debutants in the starting lineup and two first half goals from skipper Anthony Cook and half way through the second half Jamie Yila capped off a fine performance with his first goal for the club to seal the victory. There were some other top rank performances from the team including Ejiro Okosieme and Freddie Cray at the back, Cameron Brodie in midfield and Adam Coombes up front.   Also substitutes, Anis Nuur, Sadik Balarabe and Fjord Rogers all made an impact when they come on off the bench.

BROMLEY, ENGLAND – August 14: Cray Wanderers’s Adam Coombes takes a shot whilst through on goal during the Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Lewes at Hayes Lane on August 14, 2021 in Bromley, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix)

Hornchurch meanwhile won their opening game impressively 2-0 at Horsham last Saturday with Liam Nash scoring both goals in the first half. Mark Stimson’s side are one of the favourites to get promotion this season and certainly got off to a great start.

The Urchins FA Trophy success was one of the most remarkable stories of the unusual 2020-21 season. With no league games being played from November, Hornchurch won nine cup ties from the 3rd Qualifying Round to the Final beating Bowers & Pitsea (3-1, A), Wingate & Finchley (4-1 , H), Tonbridge Angels (1-0, A). Dulwich Hamlet (2-1, A), Kings Lynn (1-1, H won on pens), Maidstone United (5-4, H), Darlington (2-1, A) and at Notts County (3-3) advancing on penalties to face Hereford at Wembley on 22nd May. Coming from a goal down with fifteen minutes to go, goals from Charlie Ruff, Liam Nash and Ellis Brown won the trophy for the Essex side for the first time.

This will be the first time the teams have played at Hornchurch since the opening day of the 2015-16 season which Hornchurch won 2-1. The most recent meeting was a 1-1 draw on 15th January, 2020 during the null and voided 2019-20 season but the teams do have a habit of meeting early in the season

Hornchurch FC were formed in 1923 as Upminster Wanderers and worked their way through local, Spartan, Delphinian and Athenian Leagues, moving to the Isthmian League in 1975.  They earned a number of promotions and relegations and had back to back promotions from Division Three in 2001-02 and Division Two the following season.  In 2003-04 they reached the 2nd Round of the FA Cup losing to Tranmere Rovers and finished 5th in the Premier and were re-located to the Conference South following league restructuring.  Despite their new lofty status the club suffered financial problems and folded.

Leigh Bremner on the ground scores against Hornchurch on the opening day of the 2011-12 season at Hayes Lane. Tommy Whitnell (10) and Alex Bentley (3) also in the picture.

They re-emerged and re-booted as AFC Hornchurch in the Essex Senior Premier and won the league at the first attempt and then back in the Isthmian North in 2006-07 won the title to return to the Premier.  In 2007-08, Hornchurch finished 4th and lost to AFC Wimbledon in the playoffs. From the 2009-10 season, they met Cray in league competition for the first time and in 2011-12 finished 2nd and beat Bury Town and Lowestoft Town to earn promotion back to the Conference South.  They remained there one season before relegation and in 2013-14 reached the playoffs once again this time losing to Lowestoft in the final.  Perhaps surprisingly, they were relegated the following season to the North and met Cray once again.  For three seasons they were contenders and in 2015-16 and 2016-17 reached the playoffs each time losing to Thurrock. However, in 2017-18 they won the Isthmian North in some style to return to the Premier where last season they finished in 15th place in 2018-19.

Certainly a tough start to the away fixtures for Cray Wanderers but can go into the match with confidence following last Saturday and should be a great occasion and one not to be missed.


Directions to Hornchurch FC

The Stadium

Bridge Road



Admission costs:  £12.00 adults, £7.00 concessions – £31U16s–U12’s + free with an adult, Please note all admission is on the gate (cash or card) and no online sales.

Hornchurch Stadium is actually located in Upminster, Essex – just north of the Dartford River Crossing and is easily accessed via car or public transport.

PLEASE NOTE FOR TUBE TRAVELLERS – There is no service on the District Line between Tower Hill- West Ham this weekend. Pick up from West Ham via the Jubilee Line for services to Upminster Bridge/Upminster. No service all day on the entire Hammersmith & City Line for those travelling in from Central London.

By Car:

Take the M25 to junction 29 on the A127 towards London. Come off at the next major turn-off (signposted to Upminster) and turn left into Hall Lane. Follow this road for about a mile and a half, passing Upminster station on your left, until you come to a major crossroads with traffic lights. Turn right at the lights into St Mary’s Lane. Continue down the hill and take the second turning on the left (Bridge Avenue). The stadium is found about 200 yards down Bridge Avenue on the right.

Car parking is available at the ground on a first come first served basis. When full, street parking is available along Bridge Avenue and opposite the ground in Brookdale Avenue.


Nearest BR station is Upminster which is on the Fenchurch Street to Southend/Shoeburyness line. Probably easier to go via Stratford Station to Upminster. Turn left out of the station and follow the directions above.


Upminster Bridge underground station (District line) is also close to the ground. Turn right out of the station, walk under the railway bridge and take the second right turning into Bridge Avenue.

Nearest Pubs: If coming in to Upminster Bridge Tube station The Windmill on Upminster Road (Green King Brewery) will be ideal for those getting there early or for a quick one after the game. If you prefer Upminster station which probably has a bit more amenities then the Junction on Station Road (Green King Brewery) looks your best bet or nearer Upminster Park is the Crumpled Horn on Corbets Tey Road or for those with specialist tastes the Upminster Tap Room Micropub is in Sunnyside Gardens.  Your nearest Fish & Chip shop is George’s Atlantic Fish Bar on Upminster Road not far from the Windmill pub.

Upminster lies in the London Borough of Havering and just about seems to straddle the East London/Essex border. A very agricultural area back in the day, the Upminster Windmill is one of the few remaining windmills in Greater London, has a preservation order on it and acts as a museum. Also for those with an interest in agriculture then the Tithe Barn Museum in Hall Lane close to Upminster Station is worth a visit.  If you end up in Hornchurch which is a little bit more of a way away from the ground so give yourself plenty of time if you choose this route.