Friday, 23 March 2018

Tonbridge Angels 2 Billericay Town 1

Match 105/17/1555 - Thursday, 22nd March 2018 - Bostik Premier

Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Turner 75 Elder 85
Billericay Town (1) 1 Bricknell 37
Attendance: 526

Entrance: £6 Senior
Programme: £1
Mileage: 38/7,153

Evidently this was the day that I threw a wibble. If you don’t know what that is, neither did I! It is to celebrate like a lunatic, in which case I almost certainly wibbled.

105 games in and I have my season’s highlight, albeit for the wrong reasons, the goal of the season and comical retribution.

After two postponements the Circus finally came to town on a poor run of form with whispers that all was not right under the Tamplin Big Top. That they left with a fifth defeat in six games and with the World’s Greatest ringing around their ears was retribution for not only the heavy Cup Final defeat but the distasteful antics that followed.

In fairness, in the first 45 minutes, Billericay looked like a side that had been built with an eye-watering budget. The stroked the ball about nicely looking to get Nick Wheeler involved on his return to Longmead who early doors looked to be a danger to Liam Smith but the youngster grew into the task and largely negated the threat although the Billericay man will be claiming an assist for Billy Bricknell’s 37th minute goal.

After 22 minutes, 25 goal striker Jake Robinson brought a good save from Jonny Henly and, a minute later,Robinson planted a header against the woodwork as the visitors began to turn the screw. A fantastic challenge from Jack Parter denied Robinson went sent through but finally Billericay made their breakthrough. Wheeler’s crossed into the box was only cleared to Danny Waldren but his hopeless mishit shot fell at the feet of Bricknell who, with back to goal flicked the ball over his head to turn a volley past Henly with the aid of a heavy deflection.

Henly was forced to make a good save, low to his left, from Bricknell in added time as the visitors went into the break deserving of their lead.

Tonbridge emerged from the dressing rooms with an attitude that almost shouted “what have we got to lose” and an early strike from Tommy Whitnell was saved by Alan Julian.

On the hour the dangerous Robinson was replaced by the mountainous Adam Cunnington whilst Wheeler had departed the scene during the half-time break,

Tonbridge were now in the ascendancy and it took a brilliant save from Julian to turn a shot from Joe Turner away for a corner after it had been heavily deflected. From the resultant corner, Alex Akrofi’s header rebounded off the top of the bar.

The goal the majority of the 526 attendance craved came after 73 minutes and what a goal. A long kick from Henly was superbly won and headed on by Akrofi into the path of Turner who, from 30 yards, volleyed over the head of the advanced Julian to the biggest roar from Longmead this season.

There were seven minutes remaining when I said to my group of friends that I could gladly forego those next minutes of my life to walk away with the point we had in the hand. Thankfully, nobody upstairs heard me because three minutes later, Tonbridge were in front. A long free kick from Smith saw Julian misjudge the flight of the ball and there, beyond the far post, was substitute Nathan Elder to squeeze a header into the net.

As the time agonisingly ebbed away, a forlorn Glenn Tamplin stared continuously at the ground until the final whistle put him out of his misery and allowed the PA man his moment of revenge with R Kelly booming out to the amusement of everyone bar one.

As was said after, to full agreement, whatever happens for the rest of the season, this Thursday evening will happily see us through to the end.

Picture: Dave Couldridge

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