Back to Claret….Tonbridge Angels v Chelmsford City


Welcome back to another groundhopping blog, and this week we are back with another re-tick (plenty of them this season I know!)

Some of my readers may know that I do occasionally follow Chelmsford City away, due to the fact that my groundhopping friend is a Clarets fan, and i’ve fallen in love ever since Dartford away in 2018.

However due to a global pandemic, and then a cricket season, it has been nearly two years since i’ve seen Chelmsford play. But this week the stars finally aligned, and we decided that we would make our second trip to The Longmead Stadium for their trip to Tonbridge Angels.

On site!

Last time we were here Chelmsford scored a last minute winner, and we were hoping for at least a snippet of the same euphoria again this time out, but our hopes weren’t too high as Chelmsford have been struggling of late which has seen them slip into a potential relegation dog fight.

Tonbridge’s form wasn’t too much better going into this tie either though, and they also occupied those ominous places just above the relegation zone, so to be honest our main thought before the match was that this might be the first 0-0 for me since February 2019 (now over 1000 days ago). As you can tell it was a very cheery car journey there!

Once we arrived and paid our entry (by card which again gets a huge tick from me), we found our way to the ‘away end’ and settled in for the widely anticipated 90 minutes. We did have to swap ends pre-match, but that is the risk you run when picking an end pre-game in non league…

The game got off to a pretty scrappy start, with a lot of the game being played in the middle third. Both sides played some pretty decent stuff, but clear cut chances were few and far between during the opening exchanges.

Our view of the opening exchanges

It was the home side who soon grabbed the initiative however, after a cross was flicked on by Joe Turner, and he managed to get just enough on it to divert it towards goal and beyond the flailing limbs of Chelmsford’s keeper for the afternoon James Dillon. The home sides’ cheers were matched with some frustrated grumblings from the away end, “here we go again” was the main tone of these.

I thought Chelmsford actually responded pretty well after going a goal down, they didn’t really give Tonbridge much more of a sniff at the back, and actually strung together some nice build up play, they had clearly been told I was in the stands and that they needed to get their act together for me!

They had a couple of decent efforts towards the end of the first half, but still looked like they just lacked any cutting edge, and half time soon came with the Angels ahead.

We were hoping that our half time switch of ends would lead to a switch in fortunes for the Clarets, and to be fair they came out with even more intensity than what they showed towards the end of the first half, and Tonbridge looked like they were struggling to cope.

Lots of play up in our end this half!

After about 15 minutes of second half pressure from the visitors, the game was probably rightly back in the balance. Inevitably it was the man with 35 Premier League appearances to his name who found the goal after a couple of blocked efforts found their way to the Canadian, who duly finished off the post.

Chelmsford didn’t really then push on to find their winner, and it was now the home sides turn to create chances. The Angel’s really did well to regularly sustain attacks, and put their visitors under a world of pressure, and was it not for a couple of good saves from Dillon, they would have had a lead.

However in the end Chelmsford did manage to hold onto a point, which to be honest may have disappointed both sides, as they probably both felt like they had their opportunities to win, but this probably shows how evenly matched the game was.

From the evidence I saw on Saturday, I think both sides will be absolutely fine in staying in the league, and I hope so too as this has been a thoroughly enjoyable fixture to attend over the last few years!

The scene at the end…

I’d thoroughly recommend a trip to Tonbridge Angels, nice ground with all the food and drink you could ask for at a non league game, and as I said, their team often competes in good games.

That’s all for this week’s groundhopping blog, we are back ticking the 92 next week, so i’ll see you all for that!

  • GROUND: The Longmead Stadium
  • GAME: Tonbridge Angels 1-1 Chelmsford City
  • COMPETITION: National League South
  • GROUND NUMBER: 96 (Re-tick)
  • WOULD I GO BACK: Yes clearly!
  • DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 1005

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