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Tonbridge Angels boss Steve Mckimm says they were called a pub team after 1-0 win at Ebbsfleet United in National League South

Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm claimed labelling his side ‘a pub team’ was ‘disrespectful’.

The Angels boss was angered at the full-time whistle after comments from the opposition dugout as his side won 1-0 at Ebbsfleet in National League South.

Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm. Picture: David Couldridge (42702655)
Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm. Picture: David Couldridge (42702655)

Tommy Wood rounded off a superb Tonbridge move on the stroke of half-time to settle the contest, and McKimm felt his team deserved more respect.

“There was just a little bit of sour grapes at the end there as we were called a pub team,” he said. “For a pub team to produce that bit of quality, I’m pleased with that.

“It does rile me afterwards and doesn’t let me enjoy it (in the moment) but maybe that’s because I’m hot-headed, and that’s the way I am.

“But what I’ve got to say is that I’ll enjoy that now that little heat of the moment has gone.

“It’s disrespectful. I would never say that about another team, ever. Whether they were better than us, weren’t better than us, I would never disrespect a team like that.

“No matter how good they are or how bad they are, I think that’s bang out of order and I let my feelings be known at the end.”

McKimm defended his team’s tactics in the second half as they successfully ran the clock down, defended magnificently as a team and limited Ebbsfleet to few clear-cut chances.

“We played the game as it is allowed to be played,” added McKimm. “Game management, if you like, and my players did that to the letter of the law, apart from Jonny Henly when he got booked (for time-wasting) but you see that every now and again.

“In general, we did what we had to do and killed the game. You cannot withstand pressure like that for attack after attack, which they did very well and I give them credit for that, without giving something away.

“We had to kill the game a little bit, take time over throws and free-kicks and that’s what football is about. If the ref doesn’t tell you to do something different, that’s not our fault. We’re going to play to the letter of the law.

“We know what teams like that are about so we need to be a bit wary and a bit coy. If you go hell for leather, they can open you up at will and we didn’t want that.

“We wanted to stay in the game for a certain amount of time. My main aim was to get two centre-forwards on when the game opened up but when they started throwing more attacking players on, you can’t leave runners and we had to sit back, defend and absorb a lot.

“We wanted to get a bit more quality if we could when we broke but we didn’t – when we did, we scored the goal.”

McKimm was without the injured trio of Tommy Parkinson, Tom Beere and Arthur Lee and he drafted in Tom Phipp on dual registration terms from Cray Wanderers.

“It was backs against the wall, I’m not going to deny that as they are a very good side,” said McKimm.

“I’ve got men out there that will hold together, stick together and come rain or shine do the best they can.

“We were warriors. We knew what Ebbsfleet were going to be about. We knew we had to suck up pressure, which we did. We knew they were going to have lots of the ball, which they did.

“But you need moments of quality and in my opinion, the only bit of real quality that counted was from us at the end of the first half with five or six passes, a cross into the six-yard box and goal. Anyone in this ground, press, media, directors, would have seen that and appreciated that goal.

“For all the possession and stuff they had, my goalkeeper hasn’t had a save to make. Sonny Miles made a tremendous tackle at the end, that’s a captain’s tackle for you. Football isn’t about possession and stuff like that, it’s about getting goals and winning points.

“They had us on the backfoot for 99 per cent of the game. But we managed to score and they didn’t so we get the three points. They’ll be disappointed they didn’t score and we’re elated that we did.”

It completed an emotional day for McKimm, a former player for Gravesend & Northfleet in the early 2000s.

Covid protocols meant Tonbridge used the old changing room facilities at Stonebridge Road and it was certainly a trip down memory lane for the Angels boss.

“This place has got a lot of memories for me,” said McKimm. “We’re in the old changing rooms and as soon as we walked in there, I sat down in my old space where I used to sit week in, week out. I was overwhelmed a little bit to be honest.

“I’ve come back here and watched games, I’ve come back here as a coach with Sutton but that was in the away changing room. On Saturday we had both of the old changing rooms so I went and sat in there, and it was special.

“This club is very close to my heart. I’ve done this, Sutton for a number of years and Tonbridge for a number of years. I don’t just jump ship on clubs, I stay there for a number of years and I bond closely with clubs.

“Sitting in that changing room was magnificent for me, I really did enjoy it, I have to be honest.

“It’s sweet to come back and get a win at your old ground which holds fond memories so I’m pleased with the win.”

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