Tonbridge Angels FC
Ground Number: 185
Sunday 1st January 2012
Tonbridge Angels 1-1 Bromley
Blue Square South
I decided to go to a game on the first day of 2012 after being given the day off at fairly late notice. I had narrowed the choice of games down to 2 - either Eastleigh v Havant and Waterlooville or Tonbridge Angels v Bromley. I chose the latter due to Tonbridge supposedly having a better club shop and was glad I did, as the Eastleigh game got called off due to a waterlogged pitch - the UK enjoyed a very wet start to the new year! After a heavy night the night before, I awoke the following morning at 10.30am. It was only meant to be a light one, as I had enjoyed the festive spirit of Christmas a little more than was good for my health. The intentions started out well, but soon I got carried away with watching Match of The Day, having some serious chats with old mates on Facebook, and naturally, a few cans and shots of spirit were included to keep me awake. I'm not the sort of person that gets hangovers, but I felt a bit groggy when I got up, and a nice day in the fresh air was just what I needed. Before leaving home, I listened to the first half of the Darlington v Gateshead game, which tragically could be Darlington's last ever game should chairman Raj Singh decide to pull the plug and put Darlo into administration, or even worse, close the club down altogether. This would be very sad, I have many pleasant memories of visiting Darlington and have lots of good friends up that way. It was 0-0 at halftime, so I nipped to a local cash machine before setting up my phone to play BBC Radio Teesside and at the same time give me directions via the built in Sat Nav app. Miraculously it made the whole journey without failing, usually, I can't even listen to online radio on its own on a walk down the local shop, so I was pleased. I listened to, in what could be Darlington's last ever game, they dominated the game, has 2 goals chalked off and were undone by a 92nd-minute winner from Gateshead's Jon Shaw, right against the run of play. Another good thing was that all the roads were clear, even the dreadful M25, and so I made it in good time, arriving just after 2PM.
For most of my journey, it completely tipped down with rain, and I was a bit worried that the game may be called off, resulting in a wasted journey for me. But luckily it still went ahead. After going into the ground and paying £12 to get in, plus £2 for a programme, I went straight to the club shop to have a look around. They had a large selection of programmes, but they were sorted into date order rather than alphabetical, so it was hard to find the ones I wanted, especially with that area of the club shop being crowded. So I settled for a copy of a fanzine - Dulwich Hamlet's "Champion Hill Street Blues" which I actually got for free as they didn't have any change (normally it would be 20p) I then went and took some pictures of the ground, before getting some chips and taking a seat in the stand to read my programme. Even before the match kicked off the pitch was pretty wet, and played fine in a pretty uneventful and even first half. The second half became a bit of a farce as the rain continued to pour, making the pitch very hard to play on. At least it was entertaining watching the players trying to cope with the conditions as the pitch got more flooded. Tonbridge must have thought they had won it as Chris Henry scored a 77th-minute goal, a real cracker too. But 4 minutes later Danny Waldren plundered an equaliser with a scrappy goal to make it all square, and that was how it ended. The 2 sides also drew the first game of this duel, 2-2 at Bromley on Saturday. Bromley are now 13 games without a win, by contrast, hosts Tonbridge were enjoying an unbeaten spell.
LONGMEAD STADIUM is a smart stadium, which should be good enough to host Blue Square Premier football. Down 1 side, there is a covered stand holding around 700 seated. This stretches pretty much the whole length of the pitch. Behind each goal are identical terraced areas, which are covered and hold around 250 per end. Whilst on the far side - or the side as you come in, it is just open hard standing. This side also hosts the bar which has the normal selection of drinks and Sky TV. The club shop which as mentioned has a good stock of programmes. And the tea bar, which does chips, but annoyingly puts butter in its rolls and burgers. I hate butter, so I am glad I got chips!