Sunday, 26 October 2014

Gillingham 1 Crawley Town 1

Match 35/14/1144 - Saturday, 25th October 2014 - League One

Gillingham (1) 1 Legge 44
Crawley Town (0) 1 Edwards 29
Att. 4,850

Entrance: Season Ticket
Programme: £3
Mileage: 52/2,405

Match Report

Following Leeds United's 2-1 home defeat to Wolverhampton, Massimo Cellino sacked Darko Milanic after just 32 days in the job. Cellino has disposed of the services of two managers this season and three since his takeover of the Yorkshire side in April. Meanwhile, in slightly different circumstances, in the space of 37 bemusing days, Gino Pozzo changed the nameplate on the manager’s door four times at Watford. Both of these clubs have been through severe financial problems and their rich Italian owners are seen as both saviours and villains by the supporters of their respective clubs. Why am I opening with two clubs, not even in the same division as Gillingham? Because it highlights that we should all be careful what we wish for.

There is an air of despondency at Priestfield Stadium and speaking to one of Gillingham’s diehard supporters after the game, he seemed resigned to the club’s relegation from League One. Reviewing opinion on social media, the only salvation from that fate appears to lay in the sacking of manager Peter Taylor accompanied preferably with the sale of the club by Paul Scally.

I’m not here to defend either character, one win in ten hardly warrants the vote of confidence Taylor got from his chairman and the home performance against Scunthorpe and the first half to this game against Crawley Town made for dismal viewing. Football is no longer a game for a cheap afternoon out, supporters earn their money during the week and deserve to be at least entertained when Saturday comes and quite frankly, at Gillingham, we are not being entertained.

Cellino, in particular, proves the point that lack of stability serves no purpose. If Taylor was to depart, where do Gillingham go from there? A fresh start doesn’t always lead to a change in fortunes, in the case of Leeds United, it has proved to be a conntinuance of the decline. A year ago when Martin Allen was surprisingly sacked, Taylor took over a struggling team and despite the budget having been spent by the previous incumbent, managed to gather just enough points to ease the club to safety.

Supporters were hardly enamoured with the style of football that was on show but gave Taylor the benefit of the doubt with due regard to the team he had inherited. During the summer there was a major overhaul of the playing staff and now we have a team that plays, or at least should play, in the image of its manager. Do we like what we see? The answer to that question is an almost universal NO.

Taylor obviously made his summer signings within the budget that the chairman had set and this is where the question of whether Mr Scally has taken the club as far as he can comes into play. The old saying went, Scally might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but back in 1994 he was the only cup on the table, but 20 years on and a radically different industry has evolved in that time, many would wish that he would test the water and see if there was somebody out there with the investment to progress the club. Who are we, mere fans, to know, but he probably has. That might be our wish, but who is to say that the next cup on our table might be that of a Cellino and would we really want that?

The signs of improvement displayed in the midweek game against Preston were quickly dispelled in a first half performance that had a lot more echoes of Scunthorpe. Gillingham should have been dead and buried by the half-time whistle, but with the benefit of a towering header from Leon Legge went into the break on level terms.

Negative tactics are one of Taylor’s critics’ assertions and the lack of any sort of pressing in midfield with two banks of four seemingly willing to concede 30 yards of grass in front of them frustrating everybody around me. Crawley dominated, or were allowed to dominate with Keith Keane having a free rein to dictate, they created and failed to take, several good chances. Gwoin Edwards tested Stuart Nelson before a simple, straight pass from Keane split the Gillingham defence to give Edwards the opportunity to convert from the angle of the box with a shot that Nelson got a hand too, but failed to stop the ball from trickling into the far corner. Further chances, a shot from Matt Harrold that hit a post and a header from central defender Joe Walsh, should have extended the visitors lead before Legge’s powerful header from Jake Hessenthaler’s corner levelled the scoreline.

In fairness to Taylor, his half-time change of Bradley Dack for the ineffective Jermain McGlashan made the difference in the second period, but why Dack sits on the sidelines defeats me anyway.

Keane was no longer allowed to rule the roost in the middle of the field and with that the dominance of the game changed hands although Crawley would point to the lack of serious saves needed from Jamie Ashdown with the central defensive pairing of Walsh and Leacock standing strong. As Gillingham grew into the game, the debut influence of Michael Doughty, on loan from Queens Park Rangers, grew with them. So it was something of a surprise, and to the annoyance of many, that he was substituted with 12 minutes remaining, but with very few games under his belt this season, it was to be expected that he wouldn’t last the full 90 minutes.

A point was not enough to stop Gillingham dropping into the bottom four and the calls for Taylor and Scally to take responsibility for that situation becomes ever louder. Are those people calling it right, who knows, but those fans at Leeds and Watford might say loud and clear, be very, very careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Gillingham 0 Preston North End 1

Match 34/14/1143 - Tuesday, 21st October 2014 - League One

Gillingham (0) 0
Preston North End (0) 1 Gallagher 59
Att. 4,632

Entrance: Season Ticket
Programme: £3
Mileage: 52/2,353

Match Report

Firstly, it has to be said, that this was a massive improvement on Gillingham’s last time out at Priestfield and that humbling defeat by Scunthorpe. Unfortunately, the result was the same leaving the Kent club with their heads only above the relegation line by virtue of goal difference and have now gone six league games since their last win.

This was a game of two very different halves that was largely governed by the stiff wind caused by the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo that had battered Britain all day. It was necessary to take advantage of your turn to have Gonzalo at your backs, Gillingham may feel slightly unlucky not to have entered the break with a lead but, in not doing so, the second period was always going to be a much different game.

Preston North End are no mean side, they came into the game with five straight wins and, having extended that, sit very nicely in third place in League One.

Gillingham are being hurt by an injury list that shows no sign of abating. Danny Kedwell and Stuart Nelson have returned to first team duty after their time on the sidelines, but in their place, Aaron Morris and Kortney Hause were absentees from this game.

Kedwell, back with his usual bundle of enthusiasm, nearly opened the scoring in the opening minutes. A cross from Joe Martin saw the striker throwing himself at the ball and meeting it with a firm header. A yard to the left or right would surely have seen the ball nestling in the net, but it was straight at the Preston goalkeeper, Jamie Jones, who blocked his effort on the goal line.

The visitors responded with a header from Joel Garner that hit the bar but Gillingham were denied again when John Egan’s header from a corner was cleared from the line.

The game was proving to be very entertaining despite the difficulty caused by Gonzalo and after 35 minutes a cross-cum-shot from Brennan Dickenson caught the wind and deceived Jones who was mightily relieved to see the ball strike the bar and cleared to safety.

The storm was actually gathering momentum into the second half and Priestfield became rain-lashed in the process. Preston now had the benefit of the wind and the possession stats swung heavily in their favour. After 55 minutes, they hit a post with a close range shot and a few minutes later, a header from Callum Robinson also struck a post. The warning signs were very much there but they were not to be heeded.

From the resultant corner following Robinson’s header, the ball was retrieved on the right, swung back in by Chris Humphrey to the far post from where Paul Gallagher buried his header.

The goal and the subsequent substitutions drew much of the momentum from Gillingham’s game and the last half hour was largely controlled by the visitors. They struck the woodwork a fourth time when Gallagher hit the bar with a shot after being set up by the veteran Kevin Davies.

Gonzalo has blown its course; we now need the wind of change to turn in Gillingham’s favour as they stare at the trap door. Peter Taylor will come under mounting pressure should the winnable game at Priestfield against Crawley on Saturday end in another disappointment.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Tonbridge 1 Grays Athletic 2

Match 33/14/1142 - Saturday, 18th October 2014 - Ryman Premier

Tonbridge (0) 1 Parkinson 71
Grays Athletic (2) 2 Dumaka 28, Lapado 40
Att. 429

Entrance: £6 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 36/2,301

Match Report

Tonbridge met Grays Athletic for a first time in a League fixture, leaving aside a FA Trophy encounter back in 1988, their only other competitive matches were in the Kent Floodlight Cup and Kent Senior Shield, surely a case of geographical dyslexia.

Those Kent cup fixtures were played during the late 1960s and early 1970s, if they have happened in the last five years then Grays' geographic displacement could be understood as they have led a nomadic life since the demise of their Recreation Ground. They presently play their home fixtures at Aveley, but also have played at East Thurrock and Romford in that time.

Grays Athletic were one of the top non-league teams in the country back in 2005 winning the FA Trophy in successive years under the stewardship of Mark Stimson, who, of course, went on to have an up and down managerial career at Gillingham. My memory of Grays at the Recreation Ground was a pre-season friendly with Gillingham that ended in a 1-0 defeat for the League club with the goal a thumping header from a certain Danny Kedwell.

Today’s game was played in unseasonable October weather with the temperature rising above 21degC but with dark clouds circling above Longmead threatening a downpour that materialised as a brief shower midway through the first half.

The first 20 minutes took a good deal longer with three lengthy stoppages, two of which being the Tonbridge physio attending their goalkeeper, Kyle Merson, after a collision with Freddie Lapado. With no substitute keeper on the bench, Melvin Slight stood adjacent to the 18 yard box assessing the goalkeeper’s state of health as he had taken a knock to the head.

Two goals for the visitors in the space of 12 minutes were not to be attributed to Merson’s injury as long range strikes from Dumebi Dumaka and Lapado became out of context in a game of many woeful misses.

On 27 minutes, Dumaka opened up space for himself, ending a mazy dribble with a cracking 20 yard shot into the bottom corner and after 40 minutes, Lapado took a cross from the left to bury another 20 yarder past Merson.

The second half was an entertaining affair as Tonbridge, to their credit, set about the task of repairing the damage. They were quickly offered the opportunity to half the deficit with the award of a spot kick when Tom Parkinson was fouled in the box. Tommy Whitnell shrugged off the request from top scorer Billy Medlock to take the penalty but his attempt was a perfect height for the giant Grays’ keeper, Conor Gough, to turn over the crossbar.

As Tonbridge threw caution to the wind in search of a way back into the game they were being picked off on the counter attack with alarming regularity. In once such attack, Grays’ livewire winger Joao Carlos, with Merson grounded, dispatched the ball into the prone goalkeeper’s hands from a yard away.

Carlos, then hit a post, before Tonbridge scored to get themselves back into game. A run and pinpoint cross from James Folkes down the right found Parkinson, whose volley gave even the man mountain no chance.

The hosts certainly rode their luck as on a two further occasions the Essex side hit a post whilst Medlock clipped the bar and Chris Piper shot narrowly wide as the time ebbed away.

A great afternoon’s entertainment and when Tonbridge pass through the Dartford Tunnel in February for the return fixture we can hope for more of the same. If nothing else, we will know which county we are in!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tunbridge Wells 1 Cray Valley PM 0

Match 32/14/1141 - Tuesday, 14th October 2014 - Macron League Cup

Tunbridge Wells (0) 1 Smith 78
Cray Valley PM (0) 0
Att. 138

Entrance: £4 Senior
Programme: £1.50
Mileage: 36/2,265

Match Report

In early August as your club embark on their pre-season schedule, the guessing game of who’s the number four; is that Smith, no he’s eight, so who’s seven then, is all very fine and actually quite good fun, but in the middle of October any supporter worth his salt should know who each player is.

Such has been the turnover of players at Culverden this Macron Cup Tie managed to ignite the guessing game once more. The last time I watched the Wells was just three weeks ago at Lingfield and in that time four players have departed and another two have arrived. Results haven’t been what Martin Larkin would have hoped for, but the constant chopping and changing of personnel cannot help a team to gel.

In fact, for the first time since the Vase run, social media has more than a few dissenting voices regarding Tunbridge Wells’ performances and this reached a peak a fortnight ago when a 2-0 advantage at Culverden against Erith Town was overturned into a 4-2 defeat.

A victory at Croydon on Saturday and this evening’s League Cup win would surely have eased the pressure on the manager, but this was a performance that was far from convincing in a pretty poor game.

Cray held the better of the possession as both sides appeared to lack the necessary quality to cope with a sodden pitch.

Tunbridge Wells’ hero on the night became their goalkeeper, Steve Lawrence, who made a great penalty save to deny Jimmy Rogers after Nick Davis had brought down Marcel-Henry in the box.

After taking the lead with a quick-fire attack that was completely out of context with the rest of the game in terms of quality, Lawrence was called into action again in the closing minutes, plunging low to his left to turn a header from Cray player-manager Paul Gross around the post.

Wells broke the deadlock with 12 minutes remaining, Harry Smith coming off the bench, to fire home from 12 yards after a wonderful cross from Dane Luchford.

A partial floodlight failure in the second half made viewing as gloomy as the football in front of us before the lights came back on to illuminate Smith’s fine effort.

A run of good results will ease pressure on Larkin and this in turn should lead to more stability in team selection and less of a revolving changing room door.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Gillingham 0 Scunthorpe United 3

Match 31/14/1140 - Saturday, 11th October 2014 - League One

Gillingham (0) 0
Scunthorpe United (1) 3 Madden 41, Bishop 72, McSheffrey 90+3
Att. 7,042

Entrance: Season Ticket
Programme: £3.00
Mileage: 54/2,229

Match Report

Every club has a low point in their season; it is just a question of degree. For Chelsea, it might be that they lose in the semi-final of the Champions League or for Maidstone, they might already have had their low point when they were beaten at Tonbridge (tee-hee). For Gillingham, I desperately hope that this defeat against Scunthorpe United was their nadir because if they are to sink to a depth lower, then I don’t want to be around to see it.

The situation coming into this game was nothing new to Gillingham. An opposition without an away win all season and manager-less following the midweek sacking of Russ Wilcox after a run of four successive defeats. We’ve been there before, and more often than not, it ends in tears.

Gillingham’s defence was short of the services of Kortney Hause, who was on England Under-20 duty whilst Stephen Bywater retained the goalkeeper’s jersey despite the midweek heroics of Stuart Nelson, returning from injury sustained in the first game of the season.

It started well enough, Scunthorpe were opened up down the right hand side leaving Cody McDonald with a scoring opportunity, albeit from a tight angle, but he crashed his shot into the side netting.

And from that point, it went progressively downhill. Gillingham had their warnings, the visitors were picking them off on the break and made chances, one of which being a disallowed goal when Paddy Madden headed in at the far post.

Whilst Gillingham laboured in midfield, misplaced passes aplenty, they managed to draw a fantastic save from Bobby Olejnik, who tipped over the bar a header from Luke Norris.

One suspects that frustration was the root of a very poor challenge from Gillingham’s captain Doug Loft that brought a straight red card. If nothing else, the crowd’s reaction as Loft’s studs made contact with the shin of Luke O’Neill, gave the game away and the referee was left with very little choice.

The period between the sending off on 34 minutes and half time was one in which things went from bad to worse. A straight pass from Sean McAllister, dissecting the centre backs and inside Joe Martin, allowed Madden to round Bywater and slide the ball into an empty net before Gillingham’s manager, Peter Taylor, was sent to the stand following the throwing of an empty water bottle that supposedly bounced out of the technical area.

If ten men are usually galvanised by adversity, it didn’t happen for Gillingham. Scunthorpe used their man advantage to great effect, controlling the weakened midfield and counter attacking dangerously on regular occasions.

A cross from the right, following a short corner, was headed in by Neal Bishop after 72 minutes, who was allowed time and space to make an unchallenged run into the six yard box to score. It was woeful defending.

Amine Linganzi, a second half substitute for the totally ineffective Josh Pritchard, brought another wonder save from Olejnik, in a rare moment of Gillingham ingenuity, before a pass between the centre backs from Deon Burton saw Gary McSheffrey race clear and round Bywater to complete the rout.

Perhaps this was an accident about to happen. It is almost a fact of history that when Gillingham induce a decent attendance by virtue of a ticket offer, they invariably fail on the pitch, Kids for a Quid had boosted the crowd to 7,000-plus on this occasion.

But the fact is three successive defeats and no win in four has left Gillingham sitting perilously above the bottom four only by virtue of goal difference. I guess many would have already reached the conclusion that this is going to be a season of struggle, but if this game is not to be their low point then the outcome is going to be significantly worse.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tonbridge 2 Chatham Town 1

Match 30/14/1139 - Tuesday, 7th October 2014 - Ryman League Cup 1R

Tonbridge (2) 2 Knight (o.g.) 38 Teniola 45
Chatham Town (0) 1 Kaffo 66
Att. 182

Entrance: £4 Senior
Programme: £0.50
Mileage: 34/2,175

Match Report

The Isthmian League management might not appreciate their Cup competition being treated as a trialling ground for fringe players, reserves and youngsters but, in common with the competitions of the Football League through to the Kent League, this is the way it is, particularly in the early rounds. As much as it gives the management the opportunity to watch players that he doesn’t see on a week-to-week basis, the same can be said for the supporters.

From a Tonbridge point of view, a few players showed potential and, getting on an old hobby horse, proved to me that the first team should never have to go into a fixture with a less than full bench as there were players on view that could, at the barest minimum fulfil that role. Charlie Slocombe has made the odd appearance and served time on the bench gave an accomplished performance and although James Steel in goal might lack a few inches in height, he made some good saves at important times. But the eye-catching performance of the night came from Jack Brivio, who looked comfortable on the ball at all times.

For their part, Chatham who have lost the services of the man I stalked last season (!) Alfie May, who is now at Erith and Belvedere but recently trialled at Crewe Alexandra and Ade Yussuf, who has made his way into league football at Dagenham, they appear to have unearthed another rough diamond in Junior Kaffo.

The teams traded early efforts on goal that were comfortably dealt with by the respective goalkeepers before Chatham twice created one-on-one situations that were both saved with the legs of Steel. The visitors were made to pay for those misses with Tonbridge scoring twice in the last ten minutes of the half to give themselves a slightly flattering half time lead.

In the 37th minute, Slocombe crossed from the right towards Owen Kabodi at the near post, from where Lewis Knight, attempting to intercept the cross, sliced the ball into his own net.

A second pin-point cross from Slocombe, in first half injury time, found the unmarked Alex Teniola, who planted a firm header past Tom Welham to double the score.

Tonbridge lost one of their first team regulars, Ben King, to an injury which was bad enough for a stretcher to be called and the suspicion would be that it could be a lengthy time on the sidelines.

Kaffo, who had looked an impressive handful all evening, pulled a goal back for the Chats with 25 minutes remaining when he finished from Greg Benbow’s pulled back cross.

Tonbridge saw out time with relative comfort with perhaps the highlight of the second half, a pantomime moment in which Welham, collecting a back pass on the edge of his area, saw his clearance charged down by Kabodi. As the ball looped into the air, the Chatham keeper failed to collect the ball on three occasions before being bailed out by a defender heading to safety.

This wasn’t a great game and, with temperatures dipping for the first cold evening of the season, the final whistle was greeted with relief that no extra time would be necessary to find a winner. Tonbridge earn a visit to Ramsgate in the next round.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Tonbridge 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 0

Match 29/14/1138 - Saturday, 4th October 2014 - Ryman Premier

Tonbridge (0) 2 Medlock 53,78
Hampton & Richmond Borough (0) 0
Att. 381

Entrance: £6 Senior
Programme: £2.00
Mileage: 34/2,141

Match Report

A first time as a member of the Prawn Sandwich brigade was not entirely successful . . . there wasn’t any prawn sandwiches! But everything else about the day, from the welcome to the result, was greatly appreciated.

Last season, with Tonbridge under the management of Tommy Warrilow, the relationship between the club and the unofficial forum was less than cordial. Poor results and a style of football that wasn’t pleasing on the eye brought negative viewpoints posted that, on occasions, were perhaps too personal, particularly with reference to Warrilow. For somebody who supposedly didn’t read the forum he took a great deal of offence and there were statements from within the club that the criticism wasn’t helping matters.

With the subsequent relegation and change of management, a forum member thought that the sponsoring of a match by forum members would go some way to repairing the damage in relations. And this was how we came to be the Keyboard Warriors in search of prawn sandwiches! As it was, the forum virtually repaired itself as the new management brought a renewed sense of positivity and, albeit in a lower division, a better style of football has brought encouragement from members despite the inconsistent nature of results.

We always knew that our choice of man of the match would be difficult given 10 different opinions but the ultimate choice of the two goal match winner, Billy Medlock, brought some humorous banter towards the group leader as no-one was actually owning up to voting for him!

The game was the archetypal one of two halves each as different as the weather they were played in. In the first, in pouring rain, Tonbridge struggled to find any momentum but, as the rain ceased for the second half, they dominated the game and found a couple of goals to win the game.

Hampton started the game brightly with speedy winger, Jerome Federico to the fore. Kyle Merson made a sprawling save at the feet of an attacker and the looping ball resulting from the challenge needed clearing from the line by James Folkes. The giant Moussa Diara then found himself the man over at the far post but ballooned his shot high over the bar.

It took 30 minutes before Tonbridge started to get a foothold in the game, but in the last 15 minutes of the half created three good chances to open the scoring. Dee Okojie badly pulled a clear shooting chance wide and then took a touch too many having been set free by Chris Piper. On the stroke of half-time the Hampton keeper saved at the feet of Medlock.

The rain turned to bright sunshine in the second half with the hosts continuing the momentum gained at the end of the first period. Hampton had an effort cleared from the line before Medlock opened the scoring on 53 minutes. Folkes crossed from the right to the head of Tommy Whitnall, whose goalward header was turned in by Medlock, stealing in from behind a defender.

Medlock made the game safe 12 minutes from time with his 14th of the season. A long ball from Tom Parkinson was spilt by the Hampton keeper a long sway from his line and Medlock pounced to score from a tight angle.

The Executive Lounge was a happy place as presentations were made from the Ryman League for performance of the month, the win over that lot from the county town and Medlock's man of the match. It was good of chairman, Steve Churcher, to spend some time and explain where the club is regarding the community club status. Now, where are those prawn sandwiches.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

East Thurrock 2 Tonbridge 1

Match 28/14/1137 - Tuesday, 30th September 2014 - Ryman Premier

East Thurrock (2) 2 Gilbey 33,45
Tonbridge (1) 1 Ball 38
Att. 196

Entrance: £5 Senior
Programme: £2.00
Mileage: 87/2,107
New Ground: 266

The thought of the Dartford Tunnel always leads to misgivings. Its vagaries make any amount of planning through Route Planner or SatNAV virtually pointless, you either allow the predicted time and arrive 45 minutes late or factor in that time and arrive hideously early.

The Tunnel was not my only cause for concern on this Tuesday evening. Tonbridge’s exit from the FA Cup on Saturday had brought bitter disappointment and their away form so far this season has hardly quickened the pulse.

Traffic reports indicated only minor delays, so armed with my 45 minute safety net, I set out to add East Thurrock as a new ground to the list, whilst seeking some redemption for the despair of Redhill.

Ultimately, it was the Tunnel that was the most rewarding. The minor delay was nothing at all and barring a bit of road works almost upon Rookery Hill, the drive was trouble free. Tonbridge, themselves, produced a much improved performance but sadly added another loss to their L column on their travels.

Just like Saturday, Tonbridge fans made up 50% of the evening’s attendance and their first reward of the evening was on the team sheet, where bolstered by new signing Laurence Ball and, returning from injury, Chris Piper, they were able to name five players on the bench.

The Angels started brightly and none of the long ball tactics that had been apparent at Redhill was being employed. Piper added both physicality and an ability to pass the ball and, as the midfield was not being bypassed, Dee Okojie was also more to the fore. But the quality of the final ball was lacking and Tonbridge had nothing to show for a good opening 30 minutes before East Thurrock opened the scoring in the 33rd minute.

One direct through ball was the undoing and Mitchell Gilbey confidently finished from the edge of the box.

Tonbridge responded well and five minutes later, following a fine save by the young Thurrock goalkeeper, Lee Carey’s corner was met with a powerful header from Ball to celebrate his debut with a goal.

Having enjoyed a good half and levelling the score line after going behind, Tonbridge needed to get to the break with at least that parity. A cross from the right was cleverly dummied and, with the space created, Gilbey swept the ball into the top corner with a very good finish to frustrate those hopes.

The second half didn’t bring about much to report. Tonbridge probably held the balance of play but lacked in any sort of creativity. Tommy Whitnell, who had looked their most effective player going forward, was substituted and the impetus went from their play.

Alex Teniola and Flavio Taveres were introduced to add something different but much of the same was delivered. Okojie fell into the trap of shooting every time he created a yard of space but it wasn’t his night for one of his 30 yard worldies.

I found Rookery Hill a pleasant, adequate stadium for Ryman League football. Two seating stands are positioned on both sides of the pitch accommodating around 150 each and behind the goal there are a pair of covered terrace areas that are rather small but serve their purpose. It did seem a little strange that two of these areas were built side-by-side and not one equivalent length covered terrace. The framework of another structure is in place towards the corner on the far side of the ground, but it was unclear whether this remains a work in progress.

So after the final whistle had blown on a another performance in which Tonbridge had just lacked the necessary quality to obtain a result, all that remained was a gentle run back to the Tunnel to ensure that arrival was after 10 p.m., thereby avoiding the toll charge.