Here it is, the last league game of the regular season, and one which Tonbridge Angels still have an incentive to win.
It involves a trek to a new town and ground for most of the away fans, to Potters Bar. Yes, it’s a trip to another of those Isthmian League staples – a dormitory town just outside the M25, once a sleepy medieval village which grew fat with the revenues from railways, and its proximity to London.
Like its brothers and sisters around the Road to Hell, the historic town centre has been “modernised” by the Local Council. Pavements have been thoughtfully widened and areas pedestrianised, so that oiks on stolen bicycles can harass the few remaining shoppers, picking through charity outlets and nail bars, without fear of getting knocked off by a passing car. Naturally the locals voted in favour of Brexit, so that their uniquely English way of life could be preserved for posterity.
As for the football club, they are also a fairly modern construct, an old boys club from the 1960’s which has morphed in to the town’s team. They were promoted to the Isthmian Premier Division this season, and by the halfway stage seemed to have settled well, lying in the play off places. However, they have fallen away alarmingly in 2019, and will end the season uncomfortably close to the relegation zone.
In contrast, 2019 saw Tonbridge power into the play offs, apart from a brief splutter in the final run in. A win in this game offers a the Angels a chance to finish in second or third place, securing a home play off semi final next Thursday. Apart from losing captain Parkinson to another serious ankle injury which may well end his career at this level, Tonbridge have a full squad to select from, and a large travelling contingent of fans is expected to make the trip.
As a spectacle the game is likely to be spoiled by impending stormy weather, and an apparently bumpy pitch, but the fans’ day out will only be spoiled if the team get a bit windy on the pitch. Momentum going in to the play offs has proven vital to success in the past, so a win for the Angels will be what they all want to see, ideally with the forwards contributing some long overdue goals.
Here’s hoping this is how it’s all going to end…