Facing the basement club, it was with relatively high hopes that the travelling Angels support witnessed the kick off at a sunny and cold Harlow Arena but 45 minutes later they would start to become concerned as they had just witnessed probably one of the most inept halves their team had played so far this season. The hosts had offered very little up front and it was therefore incredible that the away side had managed to effectively waste the first 45 minutes playing a type of football that lacked any intensity, poor passing and at times careless defending.
The best two moments of that dreadful first half was after 24 minutes when a Tom Beere free kick caused chaos in the Harlow defence with the ball running loose but the resultant Joe Turner cross was over hit and on 29 minutes when a host’s free kick flashed just wide of Jonathan Henly’s left hand post.
Surely the 2nd half would improve for the 277 spectators? It did but not by much. Harlow continued to offer very little threat up front with their occasional forays into the Tonbridge final third easily dealt with by the defenders. For their part the Angels did improve slightly with an Arthur Lee header crashing against the crossbar on 50 minutes but we had to wait until the 72nd minute for their next genuine potential goal scoring chance when a free kick was headed just over.
As the game reached its final stages it seemed it was most likely to end in a goalless draw. The only way Harlow would score would be through some catastrophic error in the Tonbridge defence while the Angels for their part needed to be braver in front of goal.
In the 85th minute it was that catastrophic error that at last gave the majority in the crowd something to cheer about. A miss kick in the away defence and a following moment of hesitation with no one taking control allowed Harlow substitute Laurence Vaughan to slip through and prod the ball into the net from close range.
Tonbridge now threw caution to the wind and played with that high intensity that had been missing for so much of the match. Harlow, however, were not going to let this one slip and defended as if their lives depended on it.
There were strong Angels appeals for handball in the area, and then a Sonny Miles on target effort that was deflected for a corner, but it was to be Harlow’s day and as the referee blew the final whistle there was joyous cheering from the home support as they celebrated their first league win at the Arena.