Plenty of positives from Gills Friendly
Steve Lovell brings strong squad to Longmead
The 1-5 scoreline in favour of Gillingham might suggest a difficult afternoon for the Angels but the effort and at times movement gave their professional guests plenty to think about. Just the one goal down at half time against a team that might form Gillingham’s starting XI in the EFL was indicative of just how well the hosts kept their concentration under a blazing sun.
Credit to Gills manager, Steve Lovell, for bringing such a strong team to Longmead and no doubt Angels Assistant Manager, Barry Moore, was grateful to have the opportunity to test his players against such powerful opposition.
It was the home side that showed first in the 2nd minute gaining a corner which new signing Jared Small, thinking perhaps of all those England set piece successes, delivered well enough but the Gills defence were able to smuggle the ball away.
On 6 minutes Angels skipper Tom Parkinson delivered a terrific cross field pass to Joe Turner in space who with excellent control got his shot away only to see it just go over the bar.
Gillingham’s Luke Onell executed a floating free kick deep into the heart of the Angels defence after 14 minutes but the home side were just about able to clear their lines. Four minutes later however perhaps slightly against the run of play the visitors went 1-0 up when a cleverly weighted ball over the top put Brandon Hanlan through and he slid the ball past Angels keeper Jonny Henly.
Another Odell master class with the dead ball saw his effort drift just inches wide of Henly’s left hand post on 27 minutes and a minute later Navid Nasseri who was starting to have a big influence on the game should have doubled the visitors account but his effort was straight at Henly.
Following this period of Gillingham ascendancy it was the Angels turn as the half ended to put some pressure on at the other end. In the 41st minute another new Tonbridge signing centre back Arthur Lee following a free kick turned on a sixpence in the Gillingham area and shot only to see the ball rebound off the post.
A minute later Gills keeper Tomas Holy had to come out of the sanctuary of his area to deal with an awkward and speculative high ball but was put off by another Angels new boy striker Alex Read and momentarily it seemed that the ex Harlow player had an open goal to shoot at but a couple of Gills defenders got back just in time to rescue their stopper.
There was just time before the half time whistle for Angels substitute and trialist Adem Ramadam who had come on moments before in place of Small, who had suffered a facial injury, to cut inside from the right flank and force a smart save from Holy.
Gillingham made a strong start to the second half with chances falling to Josh Parker and an even better one to Nasseri but the inevitable was not long in coming. On 52 minutes Callum Reilly took his chance well to score that all important second goal. The Angels heads might have dropped somewhat at this point but in fact they produced a good period of genuine pressure with the ball crossing and re-crossing the Gills area without their defenders able to get a proper grip on proceedings.
The climax to this on 56 minutes was a fine pass from Sonny Miles who found Turner on the left wing whose shot produced a fine save from Holy.
But it was Gillingham who were to go further ahead on the hour mark with Hanlan claiming his second strike of the afternoon and in terms of result putting the game to bed.
The match then became a little disjointed with both managers naturally enough choosing to make numerous substitutions. There was however to be a moment of genuine cheer for Angels supporters when in the 71st minute Read somehow got himself between the two Gillingham centre backs and cleverly lobbed Holy for what was always only going to be a consolation. That said it will have been a good moment for Read bearing in mind the class of the opposition and Angels supporters will be hoping for plenty more of that during the forthcoming Bostik Premier campaign.
Further Gillingham goals duly arrived in the 78th and 79th minutes scored by substitutes Noel Mobo and Frank Moussa to put perhaps a slightly generous gloss to the scoreline but Angels kept trying and in the 83rd minute a fine move ended with a shot from Ramadan, who will have done his chances of joining Tonbridge no harm, forcing another good save out of Holy.
Angels Assistant Manager, Barry Moore said afterwards : “We were very pleased with our performance this afternoon and I hope people simply don’t judge the squad on the final scoreline because that doesn’t reflect the effort the boys put in. It was great to see Readey(Alex Read) get his goal and I thought all the trialists did well and we are likely to have another look at them.”
Angels starting Line Up
Jonny Henly, James Folkes, Jack Parter, Tom Parkinson (c), Sonny Miles, Arthur Lee, Jared Small, Craig Stone, Alex Read, Tommy Whitnell, Joe Turner.
Subs (all Played) Callum Adonis-Taylor, Liam Smith, Adem Ramadan, Bola Dawado, Tumba Bonula
Gills starting Line Up
Tomas Holy, Luke O'Nell, Max Ehmur, Alex Lacey, Aaron Simpson, Callum Reilly, Regan Charles-Cook, Navid Nasseri, Josh Parker, Brandon Hanlan
Subs: Frank Moussa, Darren Oldayker, Shaquille Ishmail, Noel Mbo, Harry Woods, Jack Tucker, George Seminant, Emmanuel Yabo, Jordan Brown, Scott Chalmers-Stevens