Published: 17:35, 11 May 2019
| Updated: 20:54, 11 May 2019
Tonbridge are celebrating promotion to National South after twice coming from behind to win the super play-off at Met Police.
Tom Derry was Angels’ extra-time hero after Arthur Lee’s free-kick and a D’Sean Theobalds wonder goal cancelled out strikes from Ethan Chislett and Ollie Robinson.
Angels’ thrilling - and deserved victory - sends them back into the second tier of non-league football after a five-year absence and means they can look forward to games against the likes of old rivals Maidstone next season.
Tonbridge were comfortably the better side in the early stages at Imber Court with Met Police’s opener coming against the run of play.
Bar a goal, Steve McKimm couldn’t have asked much more from his team as they took control against the Southern League play-off winners.
Angels’ front two soon showed their understanding up top as Chinedu McKenzie fed Derry whose effort was snuffed out by Jeremy Arthur.
The lively Joe Turner saw his 20-yard free-kick well-saved by ex-Dartford keeper Bertie Schotterl, with Adem Ramadan sending the follow-up over, then a header from from Theobalds’ corner was blocked on the post.
Turner hit the side-netting after another good run but, out of nothing, Met Police took the lead from their first shot on goal.
It came in the 18th minute and was a hell of a strike with Luke Robertson finding Chislett who, 20 yards out, bent a brilliant effort into the top corner.
Tonbridge had a little wobble immediately, losing possession cheaply a couple of times, with Jonny Henly getting down well to deny Max Blackmore after Turner ran into trouble.
Angels cleared their heads, though, and had a glorious chance to level in the 28th minute when Craig Stone did well to turn on the byline and square to the unmarked McKenzie a couple of yards out.
There was no one Tonbridge would rather than the opportunity had fallen to but the striker somehow cleared the bar.
Tonbridge levelled in the 51st minute after being awarded a free-kick for handball.
Lee had the option of floating the ball to the back stick but went for goal and saw a deflected strike beat Schotterl at his near post.
Angels had a triple chance moments later after cleverly switching play from right to left.
Turner’s blockbuster was saved by Schotterl, who also kept out Jack Parter’s follow-up, then Ramadan’s strike was blocked by Arthur.
Angels were looking good but trailed again in the 57th minute when Robinson met Gilbert’s cross from the left.
Craig Stone missed the chance to make it 2-2 after Kamara headed down Theobalds’ corner, Turner had another shot blocked after collecting Stone’s lovely crossfield ball, then Derry’s header was held.
Tonbridge continued to threaten with Stone running on to a pass but Schotterl made a smart save.
Met Police could have made it three on the counter but seconds later, in the 84th minute it was 2-2, courtesy of Theobalds’ wonder goal.
He picked up possession midway inside the Police half and went on a terrific run, beating three or four players before firing through Schotterl’s legs from just inside the area.
Angels boss McKimm ran 50 yards from his technical area to join the celebrations - and why not!
Tonbridge almost won it two minutes from time with Kamara’s header across goal missed by Derry but falling to McKenzie who was thwarted on the line.
Henly made a flying save from Jack Mazzone at the start of extra time but Angels went in front for the first time in the 97th minute when substitute Jared Small swung over an excellent cross to the far post for Derry to head home.
Mazzone’s miskick was a let-off for Tonbridge then Max Blackmore rolled the ball wide after swapping passes with Chislett as the Met desperately tried to force an equaliser.
But Angels might have had a fourth on the break when Theobalds teed up Turner who thumped wide.
Met Police: Schotterl, Webb, Guinness-Walker, Arthur, Robinson, Birch (Nyama 72mins), Gilbert (Knight 117mins), Chislett, Mazzone, Blackmore (Hippolyte 109mins), Robertson. Subs not used: Elsted, Williams.
Tonbridge: Henly, Folkes, Parter, Theobalds, Kamara, Lee, Ramadan (Small 66mins), Stone, Derry, McKenzie (Read 112mins), Turner. Subs not used: Smith, Taylor, Nabbard.