Tobi is a Hornchurch hero
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 December 2015
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Tobi Joseph is now out of hospital after his injury last week against Bury Town.
It was a double break in his right leg – both tibia and fibula – and it was very much a surprise when he boarded the team coach to go to Heybridge.
But the real surprises were just after he broke his leg. He asked to be removed to the touchline, to prevent the match from being abandoned.
And then he did not want to be taken to the warmth of the changing room to await the ambulance, as he wanted to watch the remainder of the match – which he did whilst laying on the stretcher at the side of the pitch on the East Side.
Tobi has played 30 matches this season, and scored 15 goals, and his contribution will be greatly missed for the remainder of the season.
If the Bury Town match was our best performance of the season, the performance at Heybridge was arguably our worst.
As we approached Heybridge, the rivers were full to overflowing following the heavy rain overnight, and the car park was a mass of deep puddles.
So it was something of a relief to find that the pitch itself was in good condition and a credit to the local groundsman.
The only real problem was the strong downfield wind, and the home side coped far better and deservedly ran out winners, in their attempt to avoid a return to the Essex Senior League, which they left in 1984 after winning that league three times in succession.
Perhaps the result was not quite the surprise it seemed at the time, as Hornchurch had only won two of their previous 10 matches at Scraley Road, where the once open fields are now rapidly disappearing under the ribbon development of houses.
It’s nearly five years since Hornchurch last travelled to Heybridge, when they lost in the Essex Senior Cup, and Billy Coyne and Elliot Styles are the only two players left from the Hornchurch line-up in the previous match.
We are hoping for a return to form when we travel to Maldon on Tuesday.
We were there last season in the Essex Senior Cup, when we won on penalties after the match had ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, and the home side had two players sent off.
Only two of the current squad played in that match – Elliot Styles and Tobi Joseph.
Callum Chafer, on loan at Redbridge, was also in the starting line-up, as was Joe Christou, who scored the opening goal for Thurrock the other week when we played at Ship Lane.
Our Youth Alliance side entertained Sudbury on Wednesday afternoon, in a match that seemed to go on forever, with a total of 16 minutes of stoppage time.
The result was a 5-3 win, and although Hornchurch are seventh in the league table, they are the only side still unbeaten, and are only five points behind leaders Chelmsford, with four matches in hand.
They are scheduled to play at West Ham on Friday, though not at the Boleyn ground, but at their excellent 3G pitch at Beckton, kick off at 1pm.
Our next first-team home match is this coming Saturday when we entertain Waltham Abbey.
We lost at the Abbey earlier this season, 4-3 on penalties, after the Senior Cup match had ended 1-1 and it ws their goalkeeper, Jayden Purdue, who scored the winning penalty.
Several of the Hornchurch team who played in that match have since left, including Chafer (on loan at Redbridge, Liam Burgess (at Romford), Tom Pennells (at Wadham Lodge), Leon Smith (at Aveley) and Harry Baker (unattached at present).
So it will be a much-changed line-up this time and hopefully a better result, although performances against teams at the wrong end of the table have not always been encouraging.
One other player who will be missing from that match is Danny Johnson who, like Tobi, has a lengthy recovery period following his operation on a cruciate ligament, sustained in the match against Barkingside in September.