Football: McKenzie hat-trick wins it for Romford

Horsham 1 v 3 Romford
Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round

Report by Gary Redwin

ROMFORD started brightly with Ryan Mallett winning a free kick on the edge of the left hand side of the area in the fifth minute. Jamie Dicks whipped in the ball but McKenzie could not get proper contact and it went just wide. Two minutes later Ayo Olukoga won the ball just outside the box but his drive was deflected just over before Romford opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute. Dicks sent in a corner that Mallett headed towards goal but the ball cannoned back off the crossbar to Matt Toms who headed it back towards the target and McKenzie got a vital touch that the linesman declared was over the line before it was hacked away. Just after the restart Horsham’s forward Terry Dodd chased a ball but was beaten to it by Matt Toms before collapsing to the ground with what looked like a nasty knee injury and after five minutes of treatment was carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Tony Nwachukwu and the substitute nearly got his team back into the game but after a good run could only fire over. In the twenty-third minute Olukoga won the ball in midfield and tried to release Will Green but the ball was cleared to Mallett who tried the same pass only for it to be cleared to McKenzie twenty-five yards out. With no hesitation the Boro striker hit the ball first time and it flew straight into the top corner to send the visiting fans into ecstasy. It was nearly three, five minutes later when another Dicks free kick from thirty-five yards out hit the bar and bounced clear. Olukoga then got around his marker in the fortieth minute but the Horsham stopper made a smart save. Horsham finally started to attack with more purpose in the run up to half time and twice headed wide from corners. Ryan Boswell was on hand with a goal saving block before a defensive clearance was intercepted and fell into the path of Nwachukwu who appeared to be a good three yards off side but the flag stayed down and as he cut in from the right debutant Tarren Dhariwel could not get out of the way and collided with the Horsham man just outside the box and despite him not seeming to have had a clear run on goal the referee showed a harsh red card. Back at the other end and deep into stoppage time Mallett had a powerful header well saved from a Dicks corner.

Reduced to ten men it was going to be a long second half for the boys in blue and gold and Callum Chafer produced a fantastic flying save from a powerful free kick four minutes into the period before Romford grabbed their third of the match in the fifty-first minute when Olukoga stole the ball in midfield and passed to McKenzie who once again hit a powerful effort from distance that beat the keeper to secure his first hat trick for the club. Dicks had another free kick beaten away before Horsham grabbed a life line in controversial fashion when Romford seemed to have two players fouled before Sackman belted the ball high into the net from close range on the hour. From then on despite their dominance of possession Horsham rarely threatened Chafer’s goal and when they did the Boro keeper was on hand to make a couple of good saves. In the last minute of normal time it looked like Horsham were going to set up a frantic finish but a goal mouth scramble was finally cleared and Olukoga nearly grabbed a fourth for the visitors but could only hit the side netting after a swift counter attack by Green and Nick Reynolds. After five minutes of injury time the referee blew the whistle and it was Romford who went into the draw on Monday after another profitable away tie against Ryman Division One South opposition.


Romford fancy a difficult trip to Ryman Premier AFC Sudbury in the 2nd qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy – with prize money of £3,250 up for grabs for the winning team. Grays Athletic also appeared in the draw as they are still in the competition – with their reply against Wingate & Finchley on Tuesday evening having to come to a conclusion. Should Grays beat their fellow Ryman Premier opponents then they also face an away day; this time to Ware. It presents a potential banana skin as Ware sit mid-table in Ryman North and have had to go through two ties, both of which were on the road, to earn their chance of landing all-important home advantage with a decent payday also at stake. Grays have to pull off a bit of away day magic at the Harry Abrahams Stadium before they can even think about what awaits around the corner at Wodson Park on Saturday 12th November.

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