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Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm defends Longmead pitch following criticism over postponements

Steve McKimm says Tonbridge are victims of mother nature after dropping back into the bottom two.

The Angels built a four-point cushion following an unbeaten start to 2020 but home postponements against Hampton, Maidstone and Wealdstone have hit their momentum.

Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm Picture: David Couldridge

They find themselves back in the drop zone going into Saturday’s meeting with bottom side Hungerford, albeit with three and four games in hand over the sides above them.

Angels have identified a damaged drainage pipe under the pitch and are working hard to rectify the problem but could do with the weather being kind if the Hungerford game is to go ahead.

Boss McKimm said: “Our pitch has been fantastic for the last three years, we won groundsman-of-the-year for two years running.

“I’ve read a lot of stuff but there’s a certain thing called mother nature and that’s what’s happened. There’s a drainage pipe under the pitch that isn’t allowing the water to disperse.

“We’ve had investigating cameras down there and found the problem.

“It’s going to cost a bit to put it right but we’re working hard to get it sorted.

“I don’t think it’s going to be imminent, as hard as everyone’s working, because it’s not straightforward.

“Hopefully the weather’s kind to us and we can get the game on. If not, we go again.

“It’s part and parcel of football. Plenty of pitches have fallen foul of the weather over the years.

“People talk about 3G but we haven’t needed 3G for the last two years, when we were playing more games on it.

“It’s just a freak of nature that could happen to anyone, any time, anywhere.”

There’s good news for Tonbridge with midfielder Christ Tiehi committing himself for the rest of the season despite interest elsewhere.

They just need to get back on the Longmead pitch and start another climb towards safety.

McKimm said: “I’d rather have points on the board than games in hand because it can catch up with you.

“We’ve got out of the bottom two before and we’ve got to work even harder to do it again. I don’t look at it as having games in hand, I only look at the next game.

“We all end up playing 42 games, just at different times, so to me we’re all on the same number of games.”

Tonbridge are seven points clear of Hungerford but lost the away game 1-0 last December and McKimm knows their opponents will be smarting after losing 7-1 to Hampton.

“We were horrendous at Hungerford,” said the Angels boss.

“They were better, sharper, hungrier and deserved their win. But this isn’t about revenge or settling scores, we’re just focusing on trying to get out of the bottom two again.

“Hungerford will be wounded after the 7-1 and Ian (Herring, manager) will be hungry to rectify that.”

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