Monday 10th January 2005

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

The calm before the storm 

AFTER winning their last two Ryman Premier League games, Tonbridge Angels leave the pressures of league football to one side and look forward to cup action this week, writes Stephen McCartney.

Gravesend & Northfleet are the visitors to the Avavan Longmead Stadium on Tuesday for a place in the semi-finals of the John Ullmann Kent Senior Cup at stake before Ryman League Division One side Walton & Hersham visit on Saturday in a more important tie financially to the club in the third round of the FA Trophy.

The Angels go into Tuesday's county cup tie on the back of two league wins, having come from behind to beat high-flying Braintree Town 2-1 on New Years Day and following that up with an equally important 2-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Kingstonian on Saturday.

Andy Ford's Gravesend, however, also celebrated league success for the first time in fourteen games when they won 1-0 at Leigh RMI thanks to Adam Drury's 38th minute winner.

The last time the Stonebridge Road side won was against the same opposition on the 2nd October, but they did collect seven draws after that victory.

Speaking about their win at Kingsmeadow, Angels player-boss Tony Dolby said: "We thoroughly deserved the win. 

"We should have been 3-0 up at half-time but they came back into it early in the second half, as we only had the one goal.

"We fortunately got the second goal ten minutes before the end and we could have scored again but all in all we were looking for all three points, which we got."

Gravesend also have a very important FA Trophy tie on Saturday and face Conference South Eastbourne Borough at Stonebridge Road but both managers promise to field strong sides for the county cup showdown.

Dolby added: "It's a very difficult situation for us.  We obviously want to do well in the Kent Cup but also the prestige of the FA Trophy is massive to a club like us with restricted finances.

"But saying that we are still going to put out a very strong side and hopefully get a win."

Dolby revealed he is carrying a knock to his ankle and striker Steve Sodje (sore toe) and recent addition, striker Leroy Huggins is cup-tied having played for Bromley against Dover Athletic in the first round of the county cup competition.

Dolby is delighted to have secured the services of Huggins for a second time having signed him from Go Travel Kent League side Beckenham Town.

Speaking about the former Fisher Athletic and Bromley prolific striker, Dolby added: "He is a very good striker, very quick and good in the air and he knows where the goal is.  He became available so we snapped him up."

Dolby is confident his side can make up ground in the table and quickly get out of the relegation zone.

"These two wins are a platform to go on and get amongst the group above us - we are not far off at the moment," added Dolby.

Meanwhile, Gravesend & Northfleet boss Andy Ford was relieved their 14-match run without a league win in the Nationwide Conference was ended against nine-man Leigh RMI on Saturday.

"It wasn't going to be easy, as it was very wet underfoot," Ford revealed.

"It was never going to be pretty football - we just had to turn people and get in behind them.

"It was a really good performance in the first half, especially as we had to defend against the wind and the hail - our back four were very good."

Tonbridge Angels v Gravesend & Northfleet
John Ullmann Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Tuesday 11th January 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Avavan Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge