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Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm says keep the passion after post-match bust-up following 2-1 defeat to Hemel Hempstead

Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm doesn’t want his players to lose their passion.

Angels skipper Sonny Miles and keeper Jonny Henly had to be kept apart after the final whistle on the Longmead pitch after a heated discussion over Hemel Hempstead’s winner in National League South on Saturday.

Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly. Picture: Dave Couldridge (43326355)
Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly. Picture: Dave Couldridge (43326355)

McKimm wants them to carry on those discussions – but would rather they do it out of public view in the future.

“They’ve all got their opinions,” said McKimm. “In the heat of the moment, things are seen that aren’t even there.

“When they actually see the goal back everyone involved will see their role in it, whether they were right or wrong, and that’s our job as a management team to tell them and show them where they’ve gone wrong. Hopefully they don’t make the same mistake again.

“The passion is good, it needs to be done in an area where it’s out of harm’s way if you like, but I will never take that away from them as they want to win – and it hurts them when they don’t win.”

The winner came from Hemel substitute Omar Rowe, who was afforded time and space to send a shot from distance that was beyond the reach of Henly.

McKimm wasn’t happy with his team’s role earlier on in the move – but he will watch the video again before making further comment on what went wrong.

“I will look at the video,” he stated. “I’m not going to start making assumptions yet until I actually see the video because otherwise all you do is run away with yourself, make yourself look stupid and start apologising.

“I know what I saw, I will get it clarified and confirmed on the video and then the players will see that as well.

“We made a mistake for their second goal I do know that for a fact, leading up to it we made one big error and that put everyone out of position.

“Even then there were still enough bodies behind the ball to deal with it. When I look at it and dissect it, that’s when I can start pointing fingers and talk to individuals about it.”

McKimm didn’t agree that midfielder Tom Beere deserved a red card for his challenge near the halfway line to stop a promising Hemel counter attack.

Referee Aji Ajibola didn’t hesitate to reach for the red card, but the Angels boss didn’t agree with his explanation.

“Tom’s slid in, the referee told us at half-time that he’s sent him off for violent conduct as it was a high challenge,” said McKimm.

“For me, I’ve seen the video and I think he’s late, definitely, the ball had gone. But he slid in on the floor, he hasn’t gone knee high and in my eyes it’s a yellow card.

“That’s how I see it but I must be wrong because the referee makes the decision. I’m not making excuses and harping on about referees.

“He’s told me it’s a high challenge and violent conduct. I see it differently as a low challenge, it’s late but in my opinion it’s a yellow card.”

The game lacked intensity in the second half as both teams played a man short following two red cards in the first half.

It’s a big pitch at Longmead and McKimm wanted Tonbridge to be more patient in possession.

“I think it had a draw written all over it but one bit of quality wins games and they got that bit of quality so fair play to them,” he said.

“From something that was looking 10 v 10 and a bit dead, they took their chance, took a bit of pot luck and hit the target and scored.

“It’s very hard to play 10 v 11 but 10 v 10 there is more space on the pitch. What you’ve got to do is utilise that and be patient and build slowly but surely and not give the ball away cheaply.

“We’re guilty sometimes, especially on Tuesday (against Braintree), of giving the ball away unopposed and that’s criminal really but we’ll keep working on it and we’ll get it right.

“We told them to be patient with the ball. You can keep the ball and look after the ball because eventually something will give because someone has to come out of their hole.

“That’s what we’re trying to encourage them to do and wait for that opportunity. Unfortunately, sometimes we get a little inpatient and rush a pass when we don’t need to.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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