Wednesday 23rd November 2005

Dolby: It's good to keep in contact with fans

After reaching the third round proper of the FA Trophy last season, Tonbridge Angels' player-manager Tony Dolby admits his side face a "tricky" game in the third and final qualifying round on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

Last January, as a Ryman Premier League club, Dolby's side suffered elimination at division one side Walton & Hersham, going out 3-2 on penalties after the game finished one apiece after extra time.

And Dolby hopes the roles are reversed when his side tackle higher league opposition when East Thurrock United visit the Betterview Longmead Stadium on Saturday.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Dolby said: "It's going to be a tricky game.  They are a strong side doing well in the Premier - it's a tough game, but anything can happen."

Since their goal-less draw at Dover Athletic at the end of October, Dolby's side went on to lose their next three games against Leatherhead, Whyteleafe and Horsham but went top of the table with a workmanlike 2-1 win at Kingstonian before defeating Newport IOW 2-1 in the last round of the FA Trophy.

They have since lost their last two games, against Folkestone Invicta in the first round of the Kent Senior Cup and an "awful" 3-1 defeat at Walton Casuals last Saturday.

And they are now five points off top spot in fourth place in the Ryman League Division One table, behind Dover Athletic, Horsham and Tooting & Mitcham.

"We lost three games in a week, two games where we didn't play very well but at home to Horsham we did play well and were unfortunate to lose," recalled Dolby.

"We had a good performance against Newport IOW in the Trophy and at Kingstonian, when we won both games, and then we didn't play great Saturday at Walton Casuals.

"We should have been leading at half-time and then played awful in the second half and deserved to get beaten on the strength of that."

Dolby, who could be without striker Leroy Huggins (hamstring) for the visit of East Thurrock United, wants to progress in this season's competition as the club have enjoyed successful cup runs in the last couple of seasons.

"I think we've got a bit of coverage and revenue for the club since I've been in charge and to win Saturday will be great again," he said.

Dolby revealed the reasons behind next Wednesday night's Question and Answer session being held inside their clubhouse, which gets underway at 8pm.

"It's just to keep in contact with the supporters and let them know what we are doing," he said.

"We can address their questions, get them in the open and carry on with what we're trying to do.

Dolby will be joined by chairman Nick Sullivan and reserve team manager Julian Leigh, and all supporters are welcome to attend and put their feelings across to the hardworking trio.

But Dolby admitted this meeting wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to their defeat at Walton Casuals last weekend.

Dolby said: "The fans aren't happy with losing on Saturday, which is understandable, but that besides the point.  We've done it before and we'll do it again regardless how were going."

He did reveal he is close to bringing in one or two new players from a higher level.

And with trips to Tooting & Mitcham United (3rd December) and local rivals Hastings United seven days later on the horizon, Dolby added: "We've got two big away games coming up so it's a few important weeks for us."

Tonbridge Angels v East Thurrock United
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Saturday 26th November 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Betterview Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge