Angels gatecrash End of Season Party
Tonbridge Angels are in the Bostik Premier play-offs following a 1-0 win against Carshalton Athletic, the second time manager Steve McKimm has achieved this feat during his five season tenure of the Longmead outfit. Next Saturday’s final league fixtures could see Merstham overhaul the Angels although they have a significantly inferior goal difference, but crucially Carshalton Athletic play Bishop’s Stortford, the only other two sides capable of moving above 70 points.
Of course nothing is won yet and Tonbridge will want to get maximum points at Potters Bar to ensure 2nd or 3rd place with the home advantage that gives in the semi finals and possibly the final. A win combined with Haringey Borough failing to gain maximum points would put the Angels into the final runners up spot.
McKimm chose to start with the same starting lineup employed in the 1-1 draw at Worthing on Good Friday. Ex Dartford goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim was on the bench as backup to Jonathan Henly.
The first period saw the Angels enjoy the majority of possession but created very few clear cut chances. In the 8th minute Sonny Miles should have done better at the back post following a corner but seemed to slightly delay his effort. The 24th minute saw Miles set up Joe Tuner but his pile driver was just wide of the left hand post.
There was plenty of pushing and probing by the home side often through D’Sean Theobalds but the Robins defence in the main stood firm and seemed content to soak up the pressure the Angels threw at them.
As is often the case in these scenarios, Carshalton towards the end of the half suddenly looked more dangerous. In the 42nd minute a free kick from Bobby Price found its way to Ricky Korboa whose pin point cross saw Danny Dudley’s goalbound effort diverted for a corner. From the resultant set piece Kalvin Morath-Gibbs was just over with a header.
Carshalton emerged for the second half with a little more intent but the Angels defence was in mean mood and in truth it was difficult to recall theRobins having any real clear cut chances. When they did attack Tonbridge always looked the likelier to perhaps break the deadlock. On 53 minutes a Turner free kick provided chances for both Tom Derry and Chinedu McKenzie but the strikers couldn’t take advantage.
The 63rd minute saw a decent run by Korboa but the striker blazed over the bar. Three minutes later Jack Parter fed Turner but the wideman saw his shot half blocked and the ball spun into the safe arms of visiting keeper Billy Bishop.
Gradually the home side seemed to get a better control on proceedings with a gradual increase in corners and other set pieces and urged on by the majority of the 861 crowd one sensed that perhaps a breakthrough might arrive. That moment came in the 79th minute when a Turner corner excellently delivered was headed on across goal by Sonny Miles and there was none other than defensive midfielder Craig Stone who arrived unnoticed at the back post to make contact and head the ball into the top right hand corner. The place went mad but could the home side hang on for the remaining eleven minutes + stoppage and therefore guarantee that playoff place.
The answer was surprisingly easily. The Robins seemed to have largely run out of ideas and offered little in response combined with the Angels sensible game management. In fact Derry late on could have made the game completely safe when through but he was muscled off the ball by a Carshalton defender. It didn’t matter - a few moments later referee Kane Dempster blew for full time and the Angels adventure carries on.
Afterwards, Steve McKimm said: “I’m so pleased for the players and indeed everyone who backed me earlier in the season when following defeat at ironically Carshalton I questioned my own future with the club. We’ve won nothing yet and the first thing to do is concentrate and plan how to get maximum points at Potters Bar Town next Saturday.”