Angels up to 4th after 3-0 win over Enfield Town
McKimm's diamond glitters under the lights
This was a game that Tonbridge bossed from start to finish by out muscling their opponents in all areas of the pitch. They did the ugly stuff when required but delivered the creativity that allowed them to play through Enfield when the opportunity arose.
Once again the diamond formation was employed with an identical starting line up to that against Grays last Saturday. Nick Wheeler was restored to the squad but had to be content with a place on the bench until the last 10 minutes. The midfield formation of Luke Allen, Luke Blewden, Tom Phipp and Damian Scannell is working so well that there seems no reason for Angels boss Steve McKimm to change it unless forced to.
It was a quiet opening to the game with both sides feeling the other out but with little real goalmouth action in the first quarter of an hour. On 17 minutes a Luke Blewden long throw for the Angels was only defended at the expense of a corner. Luke Allen's short corner was picked up by Tom Phipp whose swerving cross was met by Nathan Elder with a header that hit the inside of the stanchion and came straight out. After conferring with his assistant the referee gave the goal - later, video evidence confirmed he was correct in his decision.
Seven minutes later a Tom Phipp free kick for the home side nearly doubled the advantage but was just wide of Nathan McDonald's left hand post. It was Enfield's turn to exert some pressure going straight down the other end with a great run by Harry Ottaway down the inside right channel but the final pass was poor and Tonbridge survived.
The half hour mark saw a great chance for Nathan Elder but his shot was just wide and seven minutes later Alex Akrofi's run caused a degree of panic in the Enfield defence but the score remained the same.
The last notable action of the half saw the ball reverberate around the Enfield penalty area but in the end Elder's header was easy enough for McDonald.
The second half opened with a scare for the home side. An Enfield free kick cleared the central defenders with Anthony Di Bernardo in the Tonbridge goal staying on his line but the ball had been slightly over hit and no Enfield forward could take advantage.
On 47 minutes a fine Jack Parter run had the Enfield defence back peddling, his pass to Elder was accurate but the Angels striker's shot was well blocked. Two minutes later Phipp spotted McDonald off his line and tried a cheeky chip but it was just over.
The constant Tonbridge pressure was rewarded with a spectacular goal from Allen on 52 minutes when from some 30 yds out he hit a shot that swerved away from McDonald and nestled in the back of the net.
Enfield required a response and on the hour mark a low cross from the left flank had to be hastily diverted for a corner by an outstretched Tonbridge boot. By far the best chance for the visitors came in the 65th minute when Karl Oliyide for really the only time in the game found himself clear of the Tonbridge defence with just Di Bernardo to beat. His shot went straight into the keeper's arms and at that moment Enfield's chance of getting anything from the game was effectively over.
In the 73rd minute Blewden was able to get a shot at goal from the right but a block prevented the Angels from going further ahead.
It was however only a temporary reprieve for the Towners as another penetrating run from deep in his own half by Jack Parter then saw him combine well with Akrofi to produce a beautifully constructed goal in the 76th minute. It was certainly game over for Enfield who to their credit continued to battle away and perhaps in the last 10 minutes played some of their best football but it was too little too late and even when they did get the ball in the Tonbridge net it was ruled out for offside.
Afterwards Angels Assistant Manager, Barry Moore could only agree that his side had played very well to deserve the win. "Once we had settled down after the first 10 minutes we always looked in control and restricted them to very few genuine chances. There were some great performances out there and it was difficult to choose a man of the match, but certainly no argument in it being awarded to Luke Allen."