Brighter for Angels at the Seaside
Fine team effort wraps up the points
Once again the dominant subject amongst Angels supporters as they arrived at Brightlingsea Regent’s ground was who would actually be representing their team in this Bostik Premier fixture. The news wasn’t good. Nathan Elder, Alex Akrofi, George Beavan and Chris Kinnear were all declared unavailable and that’s not to mention those long term injured such as Tom Parkinson, Tommy Whitnell and Luke Blewden.
The answer came in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Dan Thompson deployed as a lone striker and Dan Bennett supporting him as a “No. 10”. Tom Jelley was moved to central midfield with Liam Smith taking his place at right back. If there was something of experimental feel to the line up then it certainly worked a treat. From the off Angels always looked in control. In the 9th minute, Sonny Miles header from a corner had to be cleared off the line by a Regent defender and in the 18th minute a Dan Bennett corner caused huge problems in the home defence. It took until the 32nd minute before Brightlingsea could muster any semblance of an attack when Billy Hunt stole in but the effort was well wide.
It didn’t take too much longer for Tonbridge to open their account. A glorious cross from Smith completely wrongfooted the Regent defence and meant winger Jo Turner had the relatively simple task of heading the ball past keeper Harry Palmer. It was no more that the visitors deserved such had been their dominance throughout the first period. They enjoyed further chances through Jelley and Turner to round off a highly satisfactory 45 minutes.
In territorial terms, there was some kind of response from Brightlingsea at the start of the second half but unfortunately for them, they found the Angels defence in the meanest of moods. The hosts just couldn’t find a way through and Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly had one of his easiest afternoons of the campaign to date.
With quick breaks out of defence, accurate passing in midfield with balls over the top to the wingers, every time they went forward Tonbridge appeared capable of scoring. In the 60th minute good work by Thompson on the left gave Bennett the opportunity to grab his debut goal for the Angels which he gratefully took smashing the ball high into the roof of the net. Seven minutes later it was the turn of the excellent Bantick, what a good signing he is turning out to be, to open his Angels account with the third goal of the game.
On 74 minutes Bantick must have thought he’d got his second when Turner unselfishly passed the ball to his unmarked teammate who hit the shot well enough only to see the ball crash against the base of the post. By this time it didn’t really matter as the game as a contest was over. Brightlingsea kept going but if the game had continued all evening there was no guarantee they would have scored. There was just time for Angels sub Tashi-Jay Kwayie to play a cameo with a performance that would have done his future 1st team prospects no harm whatsoever.
A mention too for Xavier Vidal whose Angels career some might claim had got off to a quiet start. He put that one to bed with an assured midfield performance constantly making himself available with good positioning, positive running and a high pass completion rate.
Afterwards, Angels boss Steve McKimm was delighted with the performance particularly when taking into account the changes he had been forced to make to his starting lineup. “Yes the players were really down after the performance at Folkestone on Boxing Day, but they’ve answered that today. I’ve given them a target number of wins to possibly reach the playoffs and that’s the first of them. Billericay on New Years Day will be very difficult but we will give it a go. I have to believe we can get a result otherwise I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
Picture : Chris Coolbear