Published: 13:31, 23 April 2019
| Updated: 13:35, 23 April 2019
Steve McKimm says Tonbridge were entitled to enjoy the moment after clinching a Bostik Premier play-off place.
Craig Stone’s late goal gave Angels a 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Carshalton on Easter Monday and secured their spot in the top five with a game to spare.
Angels players and management celebrated in front of a big Longmead crowd of 861 - and had every right to do so.
Boss McKimm said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I can’t speak highly enough of the players. They’ve been fantastic and I’m so pleased for them.
“We celebrated afterwards and I’ve had a couple of comments thrown at me that we celebrated as if we’d won the league.
“But very rarely do you get the chance to celebrate anything in football so when you make the play-offs it is something to celebrate, whether we win them or not.
“I know there are bigger things ahead to conquer and whether we do that or not is another matter but at that moment in time we were right to celebrate.
“If we don’t celebrate then and we lose in semi-finals it’s doom and gloom and then you haven’t celebrated all season.
“It doesn’t mean we’re going to win the play-offs but if you’re up there after 40-odd games of a season, you’ve got to enjoy it.
“We had 861 there and it goes to show when the right noises are made to get people in, the right things are done and you’re winning game then people will come through the door.
“Football’s always been that way and it will never be any different.
“The challenge is to keep them coming back but the supporters have been fantastic.”
McKimm praised match-winner Stone who scored the most important goal of Angels’ season having recently returned from a loan spell at Grays.
The Tonbridge boss said: “A lot of people thought his days were numbered with us but that was never the case.
“I had a couple of good chats with him about how I saw things.
“He was playing with an injury that he didn’t tell us about, just because he was desperate to play, but then it got to a point where he needed to have an operation.
“He went out on loan to get games but the plan was always to bring him back for the run-in and I told him that.
“He’s come back, he’s got his chance because Tom Beere’s injured and he’s taken it with both hands.
“It was a rare goal but an important goal for the club.
“We knew as a management staff what was happening and Craig knew as a player.
“He’s a true pro and he’s reaping the rewards.”