Billericay Town 8-3 Tonbridge Angels - As far as I’m concerned that was an embarrassment and the boys should be ashamed of the way they put on a Tonbridge shirt and performed tonight, says Barry Moore

Wednesday 12th April 2017
Billericay Town 8 – 3 Tonbridge Angels
Location War Memorial Sports Ground, Colston Avenue, Carshalton, Surrey SM5 2PW
Kickoff 12/04/2017 19:30

The Alan Turvey Trophy (Sponsored by Robert Dyas) Final
Wednesday 12th April 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Colston Avenue

“I think first of all I’ve got to apologise to the fans who have come all the way to Carshalton on a Wednesday night, the board, the directors, people who give Steve (McKimm) and myself the budget, everyone involved with Tonbridge because as far as I’m concerned that was an embarrassment and the boys should be ashamed of the way they put on a Tonbridge shirt and performed tonight.”

That was the opening statement from Tonbridge Angels’ assistant manager Barry Moore after the club suffered a night of shame in Carshalton during The Alan Trophy Final (Sponsored by Robert Dyas).

The Angels went into their first Isthmian League Cup Final in seventh-place in the Ryman Premier League table with 68 points – three places and two points ahead of Glenn Tamplin’s men but the Kent side were torn apart by a brilliant, classy Billericay Town side.

Billericay Town created three chances inside 117 seconds of the game starting – but Tonbridge Angels grabbed the lead against the run of play through poacher Andre McCollin.

But that was as good as it got for McKimm’s men as they were ripped apart by a Billericay side that played with an explosive high tempo that Tonbridge Angels failed to cope with on Carshalton’s artificial pitch.

Billericay Town deservedly equalised in the tenth minute through wide striker Jake Robinson, 30, who dropped down a division from Vanarama National League South side Hemel Hempstead Town for a £24,000 transfer fee.

Tonbridge Angels held out until the 29th minute – Billy Bricknell’s shot struck the post and went in off Angels keeper Jonathan Henly for an own-goal.

Britnell added a couple more before the break as Billericay Town went in with a 4-1 lead.

Former Bromley striker Adam Cunnington took only 108 seconds to add a fifth, before former Gillingham midfielder Paul Konchesky, 35, headed in an own goal for Tonbridge’s second goal of the night.

Billericay left wing-back Byron Lawrence drove in the sixth, before Cunnington volleyed home his ninth goal for his new side as Billericay scored their seventh goal.

Kreshnic Krasniqi came off the bench to score Billericay’s eighth-goal of the night before McCollin added his fifth goal of the season from close range at the end of Tonbridge Angels’ worst night in their 70-year history.

Some people would decline to speak after a night like this but Moore was honest during his summing up of tonight’s embarrassment.

“You can have as much money as you want, that doesn’t….Everybody’s got a heart, everybody’s got a pair of lungs, when they play football everybody should  be able to run and compete – and we didn’t!

“They came, they pressed the ball quickly, they got around second balls. They were on the font foot from the first second. If we were six down at half-time you would have said ‘cor blimey, you would’ve taken that’.

“I thought they were very professional in the way they worked. Yes, it does help when you’ve got players of the calibre they’ve got on the pitch but you’re in a Cup Final, a one-off game.

“They showed a whole lot more desire and heart than our boys.

“People will read this and people will say ‘you’re being harsh on your players’ but at times they’ve embarrassed Tonbridge Angels Football Club today.  If they’re not man enough to take the criticism, they’ve got three massive, massive games coming up.

“We didn’t start our strongest, on paper, team today, because we’ve got that in our mind but we’re in a Cup Final. People have travelled, people have spent money, people look forward to it and to put in that performance, I think they owe them a lot.”

This competition has been going since Tilbury beat Croydon 3-1 over two legs in the 1975 Final and this was the biggest scoreline in an Isthmian League Cup Final.

Tonbridge Angels kicked-off and after only 21 seconds, Bricknell’s right-footed shot on the turn from 20-yards bounced past the left-hand post, which set the tone for the rest of the game.

With only 58 seconds on the clock, Robinson whipped in a low cross from the right, which was blocked by Sonny Miles and Cunnington lashed the rebound over the crossbar.

And Robinson called the busy Jonathan Henly into making his first save when the keeper dived low to his right.

“You switch off, you’re in a Cup Final, it’s going to be passionate, it’s going to be lively. If you’re not at it from the first kick of the game, you’re on the back foot and we were really on the back foot for 90 minutes,” admitted Moore.

Tonbridge Angels grabbed the lead – totally against the run of play – with only three minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

Luke Blewden received the ball down the left channel, cut inside and his angled drive was parried by the returning Jack Giddens, diving to his left. The ball fell at McCollin’s feet and he tucked the ball home from 10-yards.

“Against-the-run-of-play,” admitted Moore.

“We was trying to get the message to them, get the ball down Luke Blewden’s side. That was the danger we could cause them because they were quite open down there.

“We had a couple of opportunities, one was obviously Blewey’s and they parried it and Andre’s followed up but apart from that chance in the first half, we didn’t create anything at all.”

Billericay Town responded with Cunnington hitting a right-footed drive from 30-yards along the deck, which forced Henly to dive low to his right to hold.

Cunnington cut the ball back to winger Matt Johnson, who whipped in a cross towards the far post and Robinson steered his header into Henly’s hands.

Robinson was then released down the left and his finish lacked conviction, rolling into Henly’s hands – as Tonbridge Angels’ outfield players’ went missing.

Billericay Town’s equalising goal was timed at nine minutes and 51 seconds and considering all those chances prior to Robinson’s third goal for his new club, it signalled a long night for the fans that travelled from Kent.

Right-back Tambeson Eyong played the ball inside to Johnson, who crossed to Robinson out on the right and he cut inside Jack Parter before drilling a right-footed shot from 15-yards across the diving Henly, the ball nestling into the bottom far corner.

“I probably be repeating myself throughout this interview,” added Moore.

“He was out wide, he just walked past two or three players and put it in the bottom corner.  If you don’t want to defend and people don’t want to mark, there’s not a lot Steve and I can do about it, apart from not play them, basically.”

The crowd of 653 were then able to catch their breath as Tonbridge Angels weathered the hurricane.

Tonbridge Angels clearly missed the dropped Nick Wheeler, a player who puts ball after ball into the oppositions box. He came on at half-time along with Alex Akrofi but by then it proved to be damage limitation exercise.

Billericay Town had to wait until the 27th minute to create their next chance.  Joseph Ellul hit a long ball over the top of Parter and Bricknell sprinted into the box before dragging his right-footed shot past the left-hand post from 15-yards with only the keeper to beat.

Jamie O’Hara drilled a speculative shot over the Tonbridge crossbar from 35-yards, before the game turned into a disaster for McKimm’s players’ who showed no backbone, pride, spirit or desire.

Robinson latched onto a ball over the top to be put through on goal but Henly – the only Tonbridge player who can come out of this game with any credit – made a fine block with his legs.  The ball came out to Bricknell, who drilled an angled right-footed drive from 30-yards, which flashed off the pitch and clipped the foot of the near post and went in off the keeper for an own-goal.

“He had too much time on the edge of the box to size up a shot.  They got that little bit of luck off the post and off Jonny,” added Moore.

When asked his thoughts at the time, Moore replied: “At 2-1, if I’m honest, get to half-time. They had a bit of wind going down in their favour, get to half-time but we switched off yet again.”

O’Hara set up Cunnington, who hit a shot on the turn from 20-yards, which kissed the top of the crossbar shortly afterwards.

Billericay’s third goal arrived in the 38th minute when Eyong and Robinson linked up down the right in the final third and Robinson played in a low centre for Bricknell to drill his first time shot screaming over Henly’s left-shoulder into the roof of the net from 15-yards.

Moore said: “Another case of a second ball. We said to them before the game, the Bricknell’s and the Robinson’s, they’re good players and if you don’t get on that second ball in the box they will be there to put it away, hence the third goal.”

Tonbridge Angels were awarded a free-kick some 35-yards from goal which was chipped in by Tom Phipp, the ball came out to Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson, who hooked the ball back into the six-yard box and McCollin sent his overhead kick over the bar from a tight angle.

O’Hara cut the ball back to Johnson, who whipped in a cross where Robinson glanced his header across goal and past the far post.

Billericay Town added a fourth with 44 minutes and 9 seconds on the clock.

Robinson produced a piece of quality as he brought down a booming ball out of defence before splitting Parter with a sublime diagonal pass to Bricknell, who chipped his right-footed shot in off the top of the right-hand post.

Moore said: “I didn’t think we looked after it good enough up front first half.  They broke, a little bit of luck again of the post. Jonny went in but if I’m honest that’s no more than what they deserved in the first half.”

It was going to be a long night for Tonbridge Angels both on and off-the-pitch.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Moore said: “We’re on an astroturf pitch and it’s a nice one to be fair. It’s much better than all the other teams in our league. We gave them a licence to play football tonight and going away from the fact teams say we’re long ball and we get crosses in, we gave them a licence to play football tonight and I think some of them we’re too scared to play football so from that point of view, extremely, extremely disappointed.”

Billericay Town set the tone again early in the second half with Bricknell looping a header over the crossbar after only 37 seconds, before scoring their fifth goal after only 108 seconds.

Bricknell slipped the ball out to wing-back Byron Lawrence, who flashed the ball across the face of goal and Johnson centred to Cunnington, who placed his shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 10-yards.

Moore said: “Again, we didn’t clear our lines properly, it falls to their centre forward, who was sharp in the box and puts it in the net.”

Tonbridge Angels were handed a gift in the 51st minute, courtesy of Konchesky’s own goal.

Substitute Akrofi was released down the right and he whipped in a deep cross towards Konchesky, who had no Tonbridge players around him, but he nodded the ball down into the bottom left-hand corner from six-yards.

“I think he was just trying to head it off for a corner and caught it wrong to be fair, there’s not much more I can say,” replied Moore.

Billericay Town showed their quality again in the 55th minute when Robinson was released down the right and he whipped in a quality low cross which was met first time by Lawrence, ghosting in at the far post to drive his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 12-yards.

Tonbridge full-backs Parter and Ugo Udoji had games to forget.

Moore said: “They hit on the break very quick, very fast, as a result of us not keeping the ball properly and with the quality they’ve got up there, they could’ve scored 10 or 11 goals tonight and walked off the pitch.  They were clinical in the second half, they were more clinical than the first half, which hurt us a lot more.”

Cunnington scored his ninth goal for Billericay in the 62nd minute, stroking a right-footed volley into the top right-hand corner from the edge of the box after Johnson launched a long throw into the box.

Moore said: “As I say, yet again in this interview, second ball, didn’t react to it. He’s got all the time in the world to volley it and he puts it in the top corner.”

Moore criticised un-named members of Billericay Town’s management team for showing Tonbridge Angels disrespect during the second half.

He said: “It was painful, it was extremely painful. It was embarrassing, not only is it embarrassing for us…

“I said to the players they’re obviously happy because they’re winning, but they had an extreme air of arrogance from a couple of people in their dug-out. They’ve got four and then they got their fifth and they you hear shouts of “oh, we’re going to get eight tonight!’

“I think that’s extremely disrespectful to us. They deserved to beat us tonight, they deserved to beat us tonight. They worked hard, they played fair, they were clinical but I thought that was an air of arrogance. That wasn’t needed but each to their own.”

Henly pumped a free-kick forward and midfielder Phipp’s angled drive from the left screamed across goal and past the far post as Tonbridge Angels finally had a go during the final 20 minutes.

The clock was showing 25:41 when spectator Giddens was called into action.

Akrofi’s fine pass put Wheeler through on goal but the Billericay keeper made a smart stop at his near post.

Wheeler should have started and Moore explained the reasons why the winger was sitting on the bench for the first 45 minutes.

“Nick Wheeler came on and he made a big difference,” admitted Moore.

“He’s a big player for us. Yes, he hasn’t played in many of the Cup games this year. He’s come on a couple of times but other than that he hasn’t been in the squad so it’s only fair at times to give people a chance that have been playing in it.  He gave that little bit of quality.

“But listen when you’re 7-2 or 8-2 up you do take your foot of the gas a little bit and you don’t chase that ball as hard and you do leave gaps.  We got on the ball a little bit more at 8-2 because they weren’t, no disrespect and rightly so, they’ve won the game.”

Tonbridge Angels squandered a glorious chance to score in the final 10 minutes.

Battered central defender Mitchell Nelson played the ball out to Udoji, who whipped in a cross form the right and substitute midfielder Luke Allen poked his shot straight at Giddens from six-yards.

Wheeler then unleashed an angled drive which brought a comfortable save from Giddens – who started the season as first-choice keeper before losing his place to Alan Julian, who like Cunnington and Rob Swaine quit Vanarama National League Bromley earlier in the year.

Billericay Town scored their eighth goal of the night with 39 minutes and 16 seconds on the clock when Tonbridge Angels massacred defence went missing again.

Henly pulled off a smart double save to deny Christian Assombolongna but fellow sub Krasniqi rolled the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

“I think the boys are very lucky that Jonny, although he conceded eight goals,  he pulled off three or four brilliant saves and I thought they owe him a lot tonight that it wasn’t double figures,” said Moore.

Wheeler’s drive kissed the top of the crossbar, before Tonbridge Angels scored their third goal of the game with 44 minutes and 16 seconds on the clock.

Phipp’s long range drive sailed over Giddens’ head and bounced down off the underside of the crossbar and poached McCollin stabbed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from close range.

Moore said: “A nice strike, I think the goalkeeper got a fingertip to it. Andre’s a poacher and nipped in to score.  What can I say? Am I going to say ‘well done?’ No, I’m not going to say well done!”

Billericay almost scored a ninth goal at the death but O’Hara’s audacious chip from the halfway line looped narrowly over the crossbar.

Tonbridge Angels have three massive games left to play. Over Easter they face two clubs threatened by relegation in the shape of AFC Sudbury at Longmead Stadium on Saturday, before a trip to Folkestone Invicta on Easter Monday, before Worthing visit on the last day of the season.

Bognor Regis Town (88 points) and Havant & Waterlooville (87) are both fighting it out for the title and the sole promotion place.  Dulwich Hamlet (74) and Leiston (72) are fighting it out for a third-place finish and home advantage in the Play-Off Semi-Final, whilst it would appear that there is one available play-off slot up for grabs, currently held by Enfield Town (69).

Wingate & Finchley (69), Tonbridge Angels (68), Needham Market (68), Harlow Town (67) and Billericay Town (66) are hoping the north London side drop points.

Moore demands a response from his players after tonight’s humiliation and that means winning their last three league outings.

When asked if this was his own personal worst night in football, Moore replied: “Yes, I think so, I think so, just embarrassment really.

“I don’t think we’ve got to get them up for Saturday if I’m honest. We haven’t got to get them up for Saturday. They’ve got to get themselves up for Saturday because they owe a lot of people a result in the last three games.”

Meanwhile, a couple of Tonbridge players took to Twitter to issue apologies after the game.

Blewden wrote: “Apologies to everyone involved at Tonbridge Angels, absolutely embarrassing performance and nowhere near good enough.”

Injured club captain Tom Parkinson, added: “Apologises to all the Tonbridge fans who witnessed that tonight. Embarrassing from us but we will put it right in last three games!”

It's not the first time that Tonbridge Angels suffered a humiliating Cup Final defeat.  They lost 7-1 at home to Charlton Athletic in the Kent Senior Cup Final on 1 May 2013 and a year later they lost their Conference South status by losing at Chelmsford City by the same score.

Billericay Town: Jack Giddens, Tambeson Eyong, Byron Lawrence (Lewis Taaffe 86), Paul Konchesky, Danny Fitzsimons, Joseph Ellul (Kreshnic Krasniqi 63), Matt Johnson, Jamie O’Hara, Billy Bricknell, Adam Cunnington, Jake Robinson (Christian Assombologna 69).
Subs: Alan Julian, William Putt

Goals: Jake Robinson 10, Jonathan Henly 29 (own goal), Billy Bricknell 38, 45, Adam Cunnington 47, 62, Byron Lawrence 55, Kreshnic Krasniqi 80

Booked: Matt Johnson 44

Tonbridge Angels: Jonathan Henly, Ugo Udoji, Jack Parter, Damien Scannell (Luke Allen 63), Sonny Miles, Mitchell Nelson, Luke Blewden, Tom Phipp, Nathan Elder (Alex Akrofi 46), Andre McCollin, Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson (Nick Wheeler 46).
Subs: Vasileoios Karagiannis, Liam Smith

Goals: Andre McCollin 4, 90, Paul Konchesky 51 (own goal)

Attendance: 653
Referee: Mr Wayne Cartmel (Luton, Bedfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Mark Stevens (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire) & Mr Conor Griffin (Hanwell, Middlesex)
Fourth Official: Mr Neil Morrison (Staines, Middlesex)

Coverage Sponsored by: