Tonbridge (A) – Hampshire Clarets on tour

Up at 8am, I left my student accommodation and started walking to the bus stop, I’d been saving up my student budget for a couple of weeks to afford the train journey and a few tinnies, and I met Dan at Southampton station to begin the first railway leg of our journey. He’d already travelled from Bournemouth up to Southampton to meet me so we could get the train together, so he’d stacked a few extra miles onto his journey total already. I was very excited for this game, seeing as I hadn’t watched a City game for a while and living in Southampton means they’ll be few and far between, and Dan and I were sat on the train. I told him I reckoned we’d win 2-0 but seeing as I hadn’t seen us win away from Home since new years day (and I’d been to nine away games since then as well) I was still very apprehensive about the match.

Once we reached London Waterloo, we met Niall who legged it down the platform past Extinction Rebellion people and People’s vote marchers (I haven’t missed seeing all of this lot getting on trains since I moved to University) and we got on the second train of the day to Tonbridge. Those of you who follow my Twitter (@unofficiallyCCFC) or know me, will know I have a soft spot for Fosters which is a beer that gets a lot of stick, so after I necked a few room-temperature cans we walked out into the sunshine of Tonbridge and headed to destination 1- The Humphrey Bean. Two friends of mine recommended this particular Spoons to me as they were Tonbridge natives and although it was a decent pub, Niall’s age came into play and the staff soon clocked onto the fact he’s still only 17, and we finished off our drinks (A Hop House 13 for me this time) and headed to the ground.

The walk was nice, a few decent sights along with some good weather, and by about 2:30pm we got into the Longmead Stadium. I thought it was an alright stadium, and the terraces behind the goal were decent. The first half kicked off and we piled on the pressure, only to concede a goal which, despite being a good strike, should never have even got near our box. Poor defending saw us 1-0 down at the break, with a lot of credit going to the Angels’ keeper Jonathan Henley. We headed round to the opposite terrace, pulled some Braintree stickers down for good measure, and the second half kicked off. While we were the better side for the first ten minutes, we suddenly seem to lapse on the pressure, there was very little going forward for us apart from an early miss from Higgo. I began to see the elusive away win I’d been missing since January slip away. Rod made a few changes; Andy Fennell didn’t make an appearance to my dismay and with about 10 minutes left to play I was feeling disheartened. Pentney pulled of an absolute wonder save towards the end and I assumed it would be the highlight of the game. But, as the board went up for six added minutes, Niall turned to me and said, ‘I’d really hoped for more from Jeffers today’. At which point, Jeffers slotted a ball across the box to Whelps, who fired home. 1-1 with 3-ish minutes left. Surely not I thought. But City had other ideas, Pentney whacked the ball upfield, the Tonbridge centre half faffed around with it, Jeffers dispossessed him and finished home. And thus, the absolute limbs began. I remember Knotty running at the Clarets fans, I grabbed onto Churchy’s shoulder and Frazer Shaw screaming ‘Come on!’ at me, then the players dispersed, the game reset, and the full-time whistle went. 

To say I was surprised would be an understatement and to be honest I’ve been buzzing since last Saturday. The 221.4 mile round trip and 6 hours 56 minutes spent on trains was worth it, my 295 day wait to see a Chelmsford Away win was finally over. I got those trains back home with Niall and Dan and we were a happy bunch of lads.

Let’s hope Dulwich don’t spoil my upbeat mood this Saturday. I reckon we’ll win 2-1.

Thanks for the read, and I’ll see you all next awayday.

UTC.