The Incredibles were in town, top of the league and flying. Time to pull in a decent crowd and put on a show. The weather was dank and drear, with a strong wind and drizzle blowing across the pitch, making it a challenging day to keep your superhero cape on, as well as to play football.
To fortify the 520, the Tonbridge catering crew had a ruse for using up the Christmas leftovers, by dedicating a new Stilton burger to long serving defender Sonny Miles. Strong, long lasting and with blue running through his veins! Or was it slow to turn and smelling slightly of old socks, as one of his teammates suggested. I leave you to decide.
On the pitch, the first half saw Tonbridge having the lions share of possession, and enough good chances to secure a lead by half time. Frozone in the Haringey goal treated the ball like a block of ice, dropping it every time it came near him, and (sl)icing his kicks towards the burger shack with remarkable consistency. Maybe he was under instructions from their No5, so he could pop in and pick up quarter pounder to supplement his Neil Razor Ruddock diet plan, in the hope of a call up from Swindon Town. As the half went on the Angels had the best efforts on goal, but shot too close to the keeper three times, and hit the post, as chances came and went, when they ought to have been in front.
Haringey complemented the home team’s passing game with similar quality of their own. The rangy, athletic Nouble had a roving brief to find space and create opportunities, but the home keeper had little of note to do compared to his counterpart. Haringey were probably happy with the 0-0 score line at half time.
The visitors pressed more effectively in the second half, as Tonbridge over-elaborated in their efforts to find a clear chance. There was no point in the home team just launching the ball forward as the tall and wide Haringey defenders made short work of high balls. The Angels passing moves yielded another couple of good shots which the keeper duly fumbled, but nobody was close enough to take advantage, and the influential Theobalds hit the bar with a lovely curling shot from 20 yards, but the ice man’s fortress was not breached.
Meanwhile, Haringey’s tidy approach work usually ended in an overhit pass or a shot into a birds nest in the field behind the goal. Their challenge seemed to be how creater and provider Nouble could be the finisher as well. He couldn’t. The home keeper Henly had to be alert, but compared to Frozone he continued to have a relatively quiet game.
As the likelihood of an away point grew, Haringey seemed to be more content with “slowing the game down” (ie falling over and bending the referees ear) much to the annoyance of the home fans. What had seemed like a one goal game looked more and more like ending as a 0-0 draw.
However, Tonbridge’s own spring-heeled Dash, Adem Ramadan, had different ideas and as the clock ticked to 90 minutes he locked and loaded a shot from a clearance, and hit it perfectly past Harimgey’s blue clad keeper. Ramadan has always had an impact every time he’s pulled on an Angels shirt, but wasn’t scoring the goals he felt that he should – this one more than made up for it. The timing of the goal was as perfect as the timing on the shot, as Haringey couldn’t get back into the game and Tonbridge closed out a 1-0 win.
The result was the right one on clear chances created in an entertaining match, buoyed by two sets of fans who were loud and proud in supporting their teams in song at both ends for the entire match. While Haringey and Dorking, to whom they lost top spot with this defeat, have stretched away slightly from the chasing pack in recent weeks, this result emphasises that there are 10 teams who can still realistically fancy their chances of promotion in a wide open league, and Tonbridge are getting back into the groove at just the right time.
Post match interviews AND that goal, courtesy of Angels TV
Walk off music