Match Preview: Weymouth v Tonbridge Angels – Saturday 6th August – 15:00
By Ted Slocombe
The brand new league season is almost ready to commence for the Terras, who are looking for a positive start to the season, following relegation from the National League last season. David Oldfield’s side face Tonbridge Angels at the Bob Lucas Stadium to kick start what everyone hopes will be a successful campaign for all.
After a productive pre-season, Weymouth completed the month of July with a victory over neighbours Dorchester Town as a Trialist scored late on, to end the month of July on a positive note with back-to-back victories. David Oldfield insisted that results throughout our pre-season campaign were irrelevant, with the squad improving their match fitness and sharpness week on week, and flourishing as a new team. With a number of new arrivals through the door this summer, there is a sense of a fresh start amongst fans and the team, looking to bounce back following disappointment last season. With three home games to start off the new league campaign, the team will be fully aware that this is an opportunity worth taking to kick start their season with a bang!
Player To Watch: Tom Bearwish
Growing into a firm fans favourite, Tom Bearwish will have high hopes for this season to be able to open his goal tally this afternoon, as he looks for a productive season in front of goal.
Founded in October 1947, Tonbridge Angels are the first visitors to the Bob Lucas Stadium in this new league season. Manager Jay Saunders, who was appointed in May of this year, will be looking to get off to a positive start, following their 16th place finish last season, in which they finished 9 points off the drop. The Angels have made 8 signings this summer, including signings of midfielder Lewis Gard from National League side Southend United and striker Louis Collins from Margate. The 20 year old is looking to make an impact in front of goal and to fill the void, following the departure of 23 year old striker Tommy Wood, who scored 12 league goals for Tonbridge last season. Wood, has since signed for fellow National League South side Hampton and Richmond Borough.
Player To Watch: Femi Akinwande
Forward Akinwande, who has EFL appearances to his name, completed a move to Tonbridge from relegated Billericay Town, who he scored 8 league goals with last season. He could be a man who could bring some danger up front this afternoon.
@TerraStatman’s Facts of the Match
Angels or demons?
A regular Southern League opponent, we have played our Kent visitors 48 times in all games with a W22 D12 L14 record so more often than not we have had the better of the Angels. During the 1950s, 60’s & 70s we faced Tonbridge in the league over many occasions until 1975-76. However it would be 18 years until we would cross paths once more in league action in 1993-94 and in the interim Tonbridge added the suffix “Angels” to their name. We lost that first 90’s encounter 0-2 but following that reverse we secured five consecutive clean sheets with four wins and just the one 0-0 draw, including a 4-0 FA Trophy win in 1995-96. Unfortunately that season ended our good run of form against this club with a 1-2 home league loss but the following two seasons brought more success with three wins and a draw until the Southern League Southern Division 1997-98 promotion campaign.
Ton-bridge over troubled waters?
It would then be another 19 year hiatus before we would meet the Angels again and just the once in the league in our recently curtailed National League South promotion season. Brett Williams scored just after the break but we could not hold on for the win, Tonbridge
equalising just five minutes before the end to leave the Terras in 7th place after eight games. Ade Yussuf scored for the Kent team that day. (Not to be confused with Adi Yussuf who scored against us for Ye0vil last season!).
Players that Ton-bridged the gap
The stellar list of some other players who have turned out for both teams today is …
Tony Bimpson, Graham Carr, Marcel Gaillard, Colin Guy, Robert Heffer, John Keirs, Stephen Lovell, Bob Lucas, George Putman, Tommy Simpson, Monty Stevenson, Ray Tumbridge.
Both Monty & Marcel played for Tonbridge at earlier points in their career before playing for Weymouth. In fact both made their competitive debuts for the Terras on 19th August 1953! Another weird coincidence is that each player boasted exactly 50% competitive win rates whilst at the club – Monty with 175 wins from 350 games and Marcel 141 from 242. But that is where the similarities ended as in terms of playing style they could not be more different. Stevenson was by all accounts an out and out no nonsense defender, born out by the fact he never registered a competitive goal for us in all of his 350 games! By contrast the Belgian wizard Gailliard notched an incredible 144 goals in his 282 outings, the third highest tally for Weymouth since WW2 to present day.
A ton weight of expectation?
Every team likes to start the season unbeaten, especially at home but how often does that really happen for Weymouth? Well in the last two seasons have not been the best – a 0-0 draw away at Altrincham in torrential rain followed up by a 0-2 loss at home to Boreham Wood. At least the two campaigns before that recorded opening day wins – a 2-1 comeback win at Maidstone and a nervy 3-2 victory at Harrow Borough the year before. However only two of the last seven curtain raisers have been at home so if we just look at the last ten at the Bob Lucas we can see a W5 D1 L4 record, still not great but at least we won more than we lost!
Obviously the weight of expectation for a curtain-raising win will fall on a lot of new players at the club but despite many famously leaving in the summer we still could have at least seven featuring who played a part last season: Ash, Bearwish, Blair, Carlyle, McBurnie, Murray, Rose. The biggest clear-out in the last 25+ years was in 1995/96 when just five featured in the previous campaign.
Pay on the day is available this season at no extra cost! Buy a ticket from the ticket office to be scanned through the turnstiles. We recommend buying online to avoid queues on the day!