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Tonbridge Angels defender Jerry O'Sullivan on improved defending after impressive draw at leaders Dartford

Tonbridge defender Jerry O’Sullivan believes defensive solidity is helping them at the other end of the pitch as well.

Angels shipped five goals on the opening day at Ebbsfleet but have impressed since then, holding leaders Dartford to a deserved draw last weekend in National League South.

Tonbridge full-back Jerry O'Sullivan in action at Dartford. Picture: David Couldridge (51228625)
Tonbridge full-back Jerry O'Sullivan in action at Dartford. Picture: David Couldridge (51228625)

Steve McKimm’s men have only conceded once in each subsequent league game, and O’Sullivan’s improvement in form was clear to see as he impressed against Dartford, who handed winger Bagasan Graham a first start in a bid to test the Tonbridge right-back.

“Since the Ebbsfleet game the gaffer has given it to us a little bit and defensively we’ve been so much better,” said O’Sullivan, who joined Tonbridge from Horsham in the summer.

“We’ve made sure that we’re more solid so teams aren’t breaking us down. There’s been a few goals against obviously but teams are not breaking through is like Ebbsfleet, they opened us up too much. We didn’t create much before and now we’re starting to do that more as well.

“I was really happy with my performance on Saturday. I think they ended up playing against four different wingers, they kept changing it but I felt I dealt with all of them really well. They told me before that he (Graham) was quite big but they ended up dragging him.

“It’s the first points they’ve dropped as well. I think we’re happy with that. We’ve got a tough run of games coming up so getting a point was a good result. They had a bit more of the ball and we had the better chances.

“We were solid at the back. The game was tight and both teams had chances. We could have ended up winning it at the end but I think a point was fair for both sides. If the game went on another 10 minutes, someone would have scored as it was opening up.”

It’s a tough run of league games for Tonbridge either side of this weekend’s FA Cup trip to Hayes & Yeading.

After beating Hungerford, they’ve drawn with Hampton and Dartford – with their next two league games at home to O’Sullivan’s former side Dorking, and Havant.

“That’s five from nine and we’ve played some tough teams,” said O’Sullivan.

“We’ve got Havant coming up as well. We need to put some points on the board and at home we need to pick up some wins.

“If we keep picking up points then as long as we’re in or around mid-table then all you need is three or four wins together at the back end of the season to make a push.

“Teams are very good this year, when you look at the top six or seven, the teams with bigger budgets, they are very good. We’re going to have to stay in or around mid-table and be close enough to have a run and creep in there.”

O’Sullivan was part of the South Park side that went through five rounds in the FA Cup, including three replays, before losing to Met Police in 2012/13, missing out on a first round tie against League 2 Crawley.

He knows all about Tonbridge’s exploits in reaching the FA Cup first round last season, only to be thumped by League 2 Bradford at Longmead.

But, for now, all thoughts are about producing a solid defensive display at Hayes & Yeading.

“Tonbridge had a great run last year so hopefully we can repeat that,” he said.

“You know they’re going to be up for it and we’re away from home. They’ve had a good start as well in the league so it’s going to be tough.

“We won’t know much about them and vice-versa, so we’ve got to make sure we do a good job on the day.”

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