Pre-season ends with Forest draw
A strong second half performance earns creditable draw against Nottingham Forest Under-23
Tonbridge Angels emerged from their last pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest Under-23s with a creditable draw after staging a rousing second half performance.
On another very hot afternoon, both teams took advantage of a pristine surface to pass and move to great effect in a thoroughly enjoyable encounter.
Gary Brazil’s charges included Greek international Apostolos Vellios, formerly of Everton, who has made 40 first team appearances for Forest and Victor Sodeinde, a striker signed from Maidstone United earlier this year.
After an even opening period in which Joe Turner saw an early effort deflected for a corner and Jonny Henly save with his feet from Vellios, Nottingham Forest took the lead after 26 minutes when a cross from a Forest trialist evaded both Jack Parter and Sonny Miles to find its way to Sodeinde, who shot into the far corner.
Tonbridge had the ball in the net on the half-hour when a free kick from Tom Beere was headed home but ruled out for offside.
The hosts ended the half strongly with Alex Read firing over; Tom Parkinson’s effort was blocked before Turner went closest with a shot that was denied by a fine low stop by Jordan Wright.
The Angels started the second half as they had ended the first, on the front foot, with a far post header by Arthur Lee that was pushed to safety at the foot of his post by Wright and a superb move that ended with Reid testing the keeper.
The much-deserved equaliser came after 51 minutes when a move involving Jared Small, Parter and Parkinson ended with a cross to the far post by Turner who found the head of James Folkes who headed across goal into the far corner.
Both teams made multiple substitutions around the hour mark and Henly needed to be alert to deny Anel Ahmedhodzic and Arvin Appiah.
Tonbridge had a strong penalty claim turned away when Smith was brought down and a rasping drive from 25 yards by Tommy Whitnell was tipped over by Wright as the hosts ended the game strongly.
Steve McKimm, speaking after the game, was pleased with his side’s fitness, passing and movement and delighted with the outcome. Of his new signings he said that they had bought into what he was trying to implement. For the start of the season he expects tough games against a Merstham side that has been strengthened by manager Haydn Bird and a young, energetic Lewes team that visit Longmead on Tuesday, 14th August.