Tonbridge Angels have momentum going into ‘massive’ FA Cup tie clash

    Tonbridge Angels Grays Athletic
    Tonbridge’s Luke Blewden challenges Grays’ keeper PHOTO: David Couldridge

    Grays Athletic 0-2 Tonbridge Angels

    By Jim Rowe

    Tonbridge Angels carry the momentum of a 2-0 win at Grays ­Athletic with them as they prepare for their FA Cup clash with Dartford this weekend.

    Manager Steve McKimm conceded that last Saturday’s away victory ‘wasn’t the greatest’ but acknowledged it was vital in maintaining the side’s third-place spot in the Ryman League Premier Division.

    If a team is to have a successful campaign, then sometimes winning in an ugly fashion is crucial, and that was exactly the case at Field Mill on a difficult pitch against a hard-working Grays Athletic side.

    Following an early spell of pressure from the home team that included two near-chances, Tonbridge’s Nick ­Wheeler produced crosses in the 20th and 21st minutes that provided opportunities for Craig Dundas and Nathan Elder. ­However, neither player was able to break the deadlock.

    The breakthrough for Tonbridge came shortly after the second half started, with a quality cross from Ugo Udogi that found Elder, who hit the target with a crisp header.

    Important

    On 65 minutes, Dundas combined with Elder to produce a moment of panic in the Grays defence, but the ball was ­ushered away for a corner and the attack petered out.

    With around 20 minutes to go, it was now or never for the home side, and ­following some substitutions they ­asserted themselves and began to test the Angels’ defence with some intelligent balls over the top.

    Tonbridge needed that second goal to confirm the win, and it came in stoppage time from a corner.

    It was met by Sonny Miles, his effort was only partially saved, and the ball fell into the path of Luke Blewden, who fired home into the empty net from close range to put the match beyond doubt for the visitors.

    Manager McKimm hailed the win as significant for the high-flying Premier League side, who he believes have been strengthened with the addition of four new players this season.

    He said: “Having lost the last two league games, it was very important for us to get the win. It wasn’t the greatest of matches, with the pitch playing its part in that.

    “We’ve made a pretty reasonable start to the season and we will be working hard for the match against Dartford at the weekend, and am pleased that our defence has been quite solid for most of our matches so far.

    The Dartford clash comes at home in the fourth round of FA Cup Qualifying.

    “The Cup game is going to be a massive one for fans and I am sure they will ­enjoy it,” he added. “We will be the ­underdogs, but we have a great bunch of lads and the new players we have in the side this season have fitted in well.”

    Tonbridge Angels play Dartford in the FA Cup at home on Saturday, October 15 at Longmead Stadium. Kick-off 3pm.