The clock showed 4.57pm and we were already two minutes into the five the referee had allowed for stoppages. Following a right flank run from Jared Small the Dorking defence was forced to concede a corner. Tonbridge had already produced some decent dead ball efforts but so far Dorking had dealt with all that had been thrown at them. Tom Beere’s effort fizzed across the goal area and the home keeper Slavomir Huk under pressure from Angels’ Alex Read elected to punch the ball but instead of getting any distance it simply flew up into the air; and there was the Lion of Longmead, Sonny Miles, to force the ball over the line and put the Angels in front.
There was still time for Dorking to get the ball down the other end and produce one more cross but the Angels defence were able to clear their lines and the referee blew for time.
It was a game that appeared to be heading for a 0-0 draw and one might make the case that this would have been the fairer result based on possession and chances created. But after experiencing a miserable November this was a hugely important result for the Angels that if nothing else restores a degree of confidence through the squad and as Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm commented “The scoreline has brought a smile to the faces of my players and we needed to lift the gloom around the place.”
Tonbridge edged the first period with a performance that made last Saturday’s dismal display against Leatherhead a distant memory. In the very first minute there was a wonderful chance for Read but Huk managed to smother the ball. On his debut Michael West on loan from Eastbourne Borough showed his quality with an effort on ten minutes.
The always willing Joe Turner for Tonbridge was instrumental in a period of superiority for the visitors during the middle of the half but Huk was in superb form in particular a wonderful save on the half hour mark from a deflected Read effort.
Dorking of course were not without threat with perhaps the best of their chances falling to Tom Tolfrey forcing a good save from Jonathan Henly in the 22nd minute.
The hosts improved in the second half with ace marksman Jason Prior more in evidence but it was the introduction of Giuseppe Sole on 54 minutes that gave them real hope of breaking the deadlock. It was Sole who brought the very best out of Henly who saved magnificently on 58 minutes to keep his side in the game.
As the clock ran down it became an end to end affair not always high on quality with both sides at times going long but it was a game with intensity that the 526 spectators couldn’t take their eyes off.
Increasingly the shut-out looked the inevitable outcome until Miles’ late, late intervention.