Metropolitan Police 0-3 Tonbridge Angels - Anyone would be happy coming here and winning 3-0, says Tonbridge Angels boss Steve McKimm

Tuesday 24th November 2015
Metropolitan Police 0 – 3 Tonbridge Angels
Location Imber Court, Ember Lane, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 0BT
Kickoff 24/11/2015 19:45

Ryman Premier League
Tuesday 24th November 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Imber Court

TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Steve McKimm hailed his side’s professional performance in their comfortable win over Metropolitan Police.

It proved to be a good night for McKimm’s men as both league leaders Dulwich Hamlet and second-placed Bognor Regis Town suffered defeats at Harrow Borough and Merstham respectively.

Tonbridge Angels are now in second-place in the Ryman Premier League table on 39 points from 18 games, three points behind Dulwich Hamlet with four games in hand.

The Angels will rise to the summit on Saturday, if they secure a rare win at Billericay Town, as Dulwich Hamlet host Margate in The FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round.

Tonbridge Angels showed their title winning credentials with a comfortable 3-0 win away to eleventh-placed Metropolitan Police tonight.

The Kent side raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 13 minutes as right-sided winger David Fitzpatrick, 20, who is on loan from League Two side AFC Wimbledon, scored his first goal for the club.

Luke Blewden then slotted in a penalty to score his 14th goal of the season, before the win was secured early in the second half when former Margate midfielder Anthony Riviere notched his first goal for the club.

“Thoroughly professional performance,” said McKimm after his side’s seventh league win on the road, their 12th overall.

“The lads took their chances when they came.  They had a bit more possession than us so all-in-all, I’m pleased with the lads.”

When asked about leapfrogging over Bognor Regis Town into second-place, McKimm is keeping a lid on expectations at Longmead Stadium.

“It means nothing! I always keep saying it, means nothing. We’ve got to play catch up on games but as long as my team keep performing week-in-week-out, come the end of the season we’ll see where we are.

“I’ve set no targets, no aspirations or nothing because you get shot down too easily.

“We will do the old cliché, take each game as it comes and see where we end up.

“It’s nice to be in that position rather than where we were last year.  The club’s a happier place but I’ve got to give the lads credit, they’ve been absolutely fantastic for me from the start of the season to now.”

Tonbridge Angels created the game on the front foot, creating their first chance inside five minutes.

Blewden launched his trademark long throw into the penalty area from the left, the ball was flicked on by Nathan Elder and Fitzpatrick swept his first time shot just over the crossbar from 10-yards.

Metropolitan Police’s main threat was their hard-working striker Adrian Markus, who cut inside Jerrome Sobers inside the penalty area but poor control allowed visiting keeper Anthony Di Bernardo to pounce on the loose ball.

Tonbridge Angels opened the scoring with 8 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock, through a player born in nearby Surbiton.

Blewden shrugged off his marker from inside the D and laid the ball off to an unmarked Fitzpatrick, who stroked his first time right-footed drive across the diving keeper, who got his right hand to the shot but failed to prevent the ball nestling nicely inside the bottom far corner of the net.

“We’ve been working on Luke a little bit just on his link up play because I play two up front but I do like one to drop off as well,” said McKimm.

“Whit’s (Tommy Whitnell) been injured so Luke’s come in, he’s started to get that half turn and he’s done that on the edge of the box and he’s given it to Dave and we’ve scored so very pleased for Dave to score.

“He needed a goal. He’s put some great crosses in. He’s worked really hard and he’s come here to get some match practice and score goals and create and he’s actually scored tonight so I’m very pleased for him.”

Tonbridge Angels doubled their lead with 12 minutes and 16 seconds on the clock through Blewden’s clinical penalty.

Left-winger Nick Wheeler was tripped inside the penalty area by Metropolitan Police’s right-back Elliot Taylor and referee John O’Brien pointed to the spot.

Goalkeeper Craig King dived to his left but Blewden sent him the wrong way as his right-footed penalty was slotted into the bottom left-hand corner.

“Penalties this year we’ve been, shall we say, a little bit up and down,” admitted McKimm.

“Tom Phipp scored quite a few but he’s missed one. Hastings we missed quite a few but Blewey’s stood up, took the challenge and put it in the back off the net.  You couldn’t ask no more than that.

“Wheeler’s done tremendous to get the penalty, as he always does, tricks people.”

McKimm explained why Wheeler was substituted later in the game.

He said: “He rolled his ankle, which we’re assessing at the minute. Not too sure how bad it is. Hopefully it’s not too bad but Charlie Webster came on and done an equally good job. The work-rate he put in and a couple of crosses he put in but we’re assessing Nick on Thursday and see what happens for Saturday.”

The game then turned into a stalemate with Tonbridge Angels’ final ball in the final third letting them down, before the home side created their first real opening in the 28th minute.

Right-winger Charlie Collins floated in a free-kick from the right towards the near post where Markus rose to plant his header over the crossbar from six-yards.

Tonbridge Angels then called King into making a comfortable save.

Blewden opted to throw the ball short to Fitzpatrick, who reached the right by-line before wrapping his foot around the ball to drive his cross towards the far post for Tom Parkinson to head straight at the keeper from six-yards.

Metropolitan Police created an opening when Mekhail McLaughlin and Joe Turner linked up well down the left and a cross was over hit and retrieved by their right-back Taylor.

He cut the ball back to Collins, who played the ball into Markus, who sliced his shot wide of the far post from 18-yards.

Tonbridge Angels should have killed the game off with a clear cut chance in the 36th minute.

Fitzpatrick cut the ball back to right-back James Folkes, who fed Blewden down the right, who whipped in a cross into the penalty area for an unmarked Nathan Elder to plant his header just over the bar from six-yards.

“Again, that might’ve been game over but while you give teams a chance, don’t kill teams off, they can always come back at you,” said McKimm.

“It’s a good bit of build-up play and a great cross and normally Nathan puts those in but he’s got four in four. Tonight weren’t a night for him but I tell you, what he did do he was magnificent up front.”

Turner, who was playing on the left-wing for Metropolitan Police, cut inside and his right-footed shot from 25-yards bounced once into Di Bernardo’s hands for a comfortable save, before King made a comfortable save at his near post to deny Wheeler, who had burst down the left after Blewden released him with a clever pass.

Collins swung in the home side’s first corner in from the right and Steve Sutherland came up from the back to direct his downward header across goal and past the far post.

But Metropolitan Police really should have pulled a goal back just before half-time.

Billy Crook, who was voted the home club’s man-of-the-match, slipped the ball in behind Jack Parter and Laurence Ball, for Turner to cut the ball back towards the near post but quiet striker Ryan James slid his shot across the keeper and past the far post from four-yards out.

“Teams are always going to get chances,” said McKimm.

“You can’t restrict anybody to no chances. All you have to do is hope that little bit of luck that it doesn’t go in or you put a body in front of it.

“The back five tonight, they worked extremely hard to preserve that clean sheet, even with that chance there we threw bodies in front of it, didn’t make any connection to it so the boy had a chance and it’s gone wide, thankfully for us because that is game on going in at half-time 2-1.

“It’s game on in the second half. At 2-0, it’ still a dodgy scoreline because you don’t know whether to stick or twist.

“My game plan was they had lots of possession in the middle of the pitch, when we won it, can we get wide and exploit those areas and I thought we did do especially in the first 20 minutes and at the start of the second half.

“I’m looking at them and they didn’t really hurt us.  They had a ten minute spell in the second half which we soaked up but I felt we could’ve played better with the ball when we won the second ball, just to relieve the pressure by keeping it longer. It didn’t happen but at the end of the day, we won so I’m happy.”

When asked his thoughts at the interval, McKimm said: “Got to keep it going! I know their manager very well, Jimmy Cooper.  The bottom line is he’s not going to let them lay down and die so he basically gets them up and gets them at it and every time you play against his team their well-organised, their well-drilled, they play good football as proved tonight.

“But we were resolute. I told them to stick to the game plan, don’t go chasing the ball because they’ll go around you. What we’ve got to do is sit off and just try to counter-attack them but we’ve got to be better on the ball than we was at times.”

Tonbridge Angels rode their luck when the home side struck the crossbar inside the opening four minutes.

The Police enjoyed a period of possession inside the Tonbridge half and the impressive Markus cut the ball back to Turner, who lashed a first time shot against the crossbar from eight-yards.

McKimm said: “Again, they’re going to have chances, a bit of luck was with us tonight. It didn’t go in the back of the net!

“You can count on one hand the amount of chances they really had and count on one hand the amount of chances we had. We didn’t really have loads but we were more clinical but at the end of the day that’s what counts.

“I always say both 18-yard boxes, defend well and be clinical and you can win games of football.”

Tonbridge Angels wrapped up the victory with their third goal coming in the 52nd minute.

Fitzpatrick played the ball in from the right into Blewden, who laid the ball inside for Riviere to drill his first time shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner of the net from 18-yards.

“Actually started from the left-hand side,” said McKimm.

“We’ve played the ball from Jack Parter down the left. We’ve put the cross in, it’s evaded everyone then what’s happened is Dave’s retrieved it, put a ball into Luke. He’s held it up like him and Nathan done all night, protected the ball, set it back to Rivs and he’s come flying onto it.

“Rivs only got forward once, maybe twice the whole game and he’s been clinical and that’s the difference in football. If you’re clinical, you can win games.”

Tonbridge Angels’ left-back Parter gave the ball away cheaply to James, who stroked his left-footed drive flashing past the right-hand post from 30-yards.

And at the other end, Fitzpatrick’s left-footed angled drive was saved comfortably by King.

Di Bernardo watched the ball come through a crowd of players to prevent Collins drilling a low shot, the former Peacehaven & Telscombe stopper making a low save on his goal-line.

Metropolitan Police should have pulled a goal back when Crook sprayed the ball out wide to Bartley, who had found himself in space on the right flank.  The central defender whipped in a quality cross towards the far post but Markus poked his shot straight at Di Bernardo from six-yards, holding his head in his hands in despair.

McKimm was delighted with another clean sheet, with his side having the best defensive record in the division, conceding only 12 goals in 18 league games.

He said: “Definitely very pleased with a clean sheet, another away win but more pleasing is just the actual way the boys stuck to the task.”

Tonbridge Angels had to wait until nine minutes from time to force their first corner of the game and their second swiftly followed.

Substitute Lee Carey took them both and the ball finally came to fellow sub Charlie Webster, who curled his shot around the far post.

The home side created the final chance of the game when substitute Jay Lovett, who slotted in at right-back, whipped in a cross from the right and a deflected shot from substitute Neil Barrett’s looped into Di Bernardo’s hands.

McKimm admitted Tonbridge Angels can only get better.

“It wasn’t pretty on the eye from us because we was a little bit impatient to get rid of it, when we had a chance to pass it.

“I told them if we’ve got in front they’ve had to come at us and we just had to be a little bit better on the ball but 3-0, away from home at Metropolitan Police, is nothing to be sniffed at.

“They’re a very good side, they’ve won five on the bounce and from the start of the season to what he’s got now Jim’s got a lot of players back which have been missing and he’s got a very, very strong side.  Anyone would be happy coming here and winning 3-0!”
Billericay Town is not a happy hunting ground for Tonbridge Angels but a win in Essex will put the club at the top of the table.

“Another tough one. Craig Edwards, I know him as well. He’s got his sides big, strong, can play football and all you’ve got to do is try to compete against them.  If you compete against them to start with what you do after that is get the ball down and try and play.

“I’m not really interested in (our league position). People keep asking me about it. All I want to do is win games of football. The more games we can win and accumulate points the better it will be for us so we could go top – we could probably end up fourth so I don’t look at it that way.

“All I look at is we’re playing Billericay, we need to give a good account of ourselves, do well for our fans that travel in numbers. Again, tonight they were here supporting us, fantastic and hopefully they’ll pull us through as much as the players out on the pitch.”

Metropolitan Police: Craig King, Elliot Taylor (Jay Lovett 58), Mekhail McLaughlin, Billy Crook (Ollie Treacher 83), Steve Sutherland, Rob Bartley, Charlie Collins, Nathan Campbell, Adrian Markus, Ryan James (Neil Barrett 59), Joe Turner.
Subs: Nikki Ahamed, Alex Kozakis

Booked: Nathan Campbell 90

Tonbridge Angels: Anthony Di Bernardo, James Folkes, Jack Parter, Tom Parkinson, Jerrome Sobers, Laurence Ball, David Fitzpatrick, Anthony Riviere (Lee Carey 77), Nathan Elder, Luke Blewden (Tommy Whitnell 69), Nick Wheeler (Charlie Webster 65).
Subs: Ellis Brown, Charlie Slocombe

Goals: David Fitzpatrick 9, Luke Blewden 13 (penalty), Anthony Riviere 52

Booked: Tom Parkinson 15

Attendance: 98
Referee: Mr John O’Brien (Wandsworth, London SW18)
Assistants: Mr Alperen Nayer (New Malden, Surrey) & Mr John Nazari (Wandsworth, London SW18)