Tonbridge Angels v Brightlingsea Regent – 5th January 2019
Isthmian League Premier Division, Longmead Stadium, Tonbridge
“Six shots or only five….You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
I doubt the words of Clint Eastwood were in the mind of the Tonbridge Angels Chairman, or indeed manager Steve McKimm when he was appointed, but right now McKimm’s a man who needs to find a large slice of luck.
After topping the table in early Autumn, the New Year dawns for the Angels on a dire run of 10 defeats in the last 11 games. Relegation form.
Early season success was built not so much on free scoring attacking, as on a mean defence. But the team now leaks goals at will, with the regular loss of either the first choice right back, left back, or both, to injury and suspension, at the same time as the scoring has dried up. The wrong kind of luck.
The unsettled back four been bolstered from midfield, in turn weakening that area, reducing both defensive cover and attacking precision. A vicious circle with an increasingly predictable outcome – as soon as the opposition score Tonbridge have deflated like a popped ballon.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s opponents Brightlingsea had an uneven start to the season, but are currently on the rise with 5 wins out of their last 6 games, marred only by a 5-0 drubbing by Lewes, which shows they can be vulnerable. Adding the scalp of in-form Bishops Stortford last week suggests another testing afternoon for the Angels.
Regent’s last five goals have all been scored by Aaron Condon, who rejoined the club in November, so it’s easy to predict where you’d expect the threat to this week’s Angels back four will come from, which Regent will no doubt do their best to exploit.
It’s essential that McKimm’s patched up defence consolidates enough to allow his weakened midfield to build his strikers a solid goal scoring platform.
And if they build that platform, his out of form marksmen need to start finding the target, and hitting it. Six shots or only five? Are they feeling lucky……?
With last minute new signing Chinedu McKenzie unveiled, maybe it’ll be what the team needs.
Go ahead, Steve, make my day.