Angels slip to opening pre-season defeat
Defensive slips consign the Angels to defeat against Whyteleafe.
It is fair to say that focus was not completely on the pitch at Longmead today, not that Barry Moore was using that as an excuse for this pre-season defeat at the hands of Whyteleafe. Moore said after the game that the visitors had had a lot of the ball which he had not expected. The trickle of people heading for the Marquee and the Fan Park in the first half became a constant procession as excitement built for England’s World Cup Quarter Final.
There was a sombre start to the afternoon as the passing of Junior Dian three years ago at the home of the visitors was marked by the laying of flowers by his great friend James Folkes and a minute’s applause.
Tonbridge fielded different teams in each half with a mixture of squad players and triallists in each eleven. In the first half team were new signings Alex Read, Jared Small and Arthur Lee. A very hot afternoon with the mercury reaching 30degC made it difficult for the triallists to impress but Adem Ramadan, who also trialled pre-season a couple of years ago was the pick of the bunch. In goal, Johnny Henly stood aside to allow Tommy Taylor and Tom Day, this season's Under-21's goalkeeper the opportunity.
The opening half-hour was an even affair with very few opportunities for either side. Bentley Graham shot narrowly wide for Whyteleafe whilst Small showed a great turn of pace before being brought down and the best move of the 30 minutes saw Small firing over. The best chance fell to Lauris Chin for the visitors who fired wide before, after 35 minutes, Ashley Robinson was allowed too much time and space to fire past Taylor and into the bottom corner from around 20 yards.
Sam Freeman in the Whyteleafe goal was brought into action by triallist Bolo Dawado before further slack defending allowed Chin an unchallenged shot to make it 2-0 at the break for the visitors.
The second half brought another mix for Tonbridge with the direct running of Joe Turner presenting the Leafe with a different set of problems. Turner immediately forcing a good save out of Freeman.
Chin should have put the game to bed when he latched onto a through ball from Robinson to round Taylor but the goalkeeper forced him wide enough to recover and save at the near post.
Tonbridge pressed hard for some consolation but efforts from triallist Josh Greenleaf and the returning Tom Pearson failed to put a goal onto the scoreboard.
The afternoon had a happy ending come 5 o’clock when those who had packed the Fan Park had something to cheer as England progressed to the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.
The Fan Park is back in action on Wednesday evening for the semi-final against Croatia whilst the Angels are at home to Gillingham next Saturday with a 3 o’clock kick-off.
Taylor, Folkes, Adonis-Taylor, Lee, Wiley, Parkinson, Monger, Small, Dawado, Ramadan, Read.
Taylor, Smith, Miles, Lee, Parter, Stone, Whitnell, Dembele, Pearson, Turner, Greenleaf.
64’ Day for Taylor
64’ Parkinson for Lee
70’ Bonula for Greenleaf