Friday 18th March 2005

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Tonbridge boosted by Emblem return

ANOTHER defensive horror show last Saturday put a further dent into Tonbridge Angels' hopes of beating the drop from the Ryman Premier League but player-boss Tony Dolby says his side can still get the points to make the great escape, writes Jez Durrant.

Another woeful display at the back contributed to Tonbridge's 4-0 defeat to Heybridge Swifts, which seems them still four points adrift of safety.

The defeat was all the more galling as once again as the club's relegation rivals were beaten.  

Time is running out for Tonbridge to turn-around their wretched season but with eight games left, Dolby said there was still hope.

He told the Kent and Sussex Courier: "There are just four points in it, so we just need a couple of wins.  The other teams around us are in a bit of a downward spiral so we have to start getting results.

"I would definitely take a scrappy 1-0 win against Billericay tomorrow.  We must just concentrate on the next game and get that little bit more from everybody."

Tonbridge's hopes of getting anything from Saturday's Heybridge game were soon dispelled when they conceded two goals in the opening 20 minutes due to sloppy work at the back.

Three goals down at half-time meant the second period was really a pointless exercise and the visitors were rarely tested as they closed out a comfortable 4-0 win.

Dolby admitted that poor defending was ruining the team's chances, adding: "The first 20 minutes killed us on Saturday and once again it is leaving us a mountain to climb.  We reiterate to the players the importance of keeping it tight early on to give us a chance later.  The players are not responding."

Tonbridge's hopes of staving off relegation will be boosted by the news that popular midfielder Paul Emblem will feature in the squad for tomorrow's home game against Billericay after a lengthy spell out through injury.

Dolby said: "Paul has signed forms for us and has been training with the team.

"He has played a few low key games but match fitness for this level is very difficult but hopefully very soon he can make an impact for us."

Dolby said that tomorrow's opponents would provide another very stern test and called for fans to continue giving their full support, adding: "It's another tough game but they are all tough games from here on in.

"I speak to the fans and they have been fantastic for us all year.  Like fans all over the country in all football they want their team to do well.

"We have had some good results in adversity this season and we really are doing all that we can to turn things around.

"We will give 100% to take this club forward."

Tonbridge Angels v Billericay Town
Ryman League Premier Division
Saturday 19th March 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at the Avavan Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge