Angels enjoyed a comfortable victory at Burgess Hill Town raising themselves up to 3rd place and condemning their hosts to the basement position at least for the time being. The game was effectively over by the break with all the goals coming in that first period, the visitors striking four times without reply from the Hillians.
Any of that group of Angels supporters who just four days previous had financed the signing of Tom Derry and were present at today’s game would have been well satisfied with their investment as the ex-East Thurrock United striker was at times unplayable. His pace and movement constantly confused the Burgess Hill back line and he also set up a profitable partnership with his fellow striker Chinedu McKenzie.
With three strikers now at Angels boss Steve McKimm’s disposal and assuming they all keep fit, it will be interesting to see how the manager will deploy them as they do offer different options. The third striker Alex Read did come on for McKenzie for the last 20 minutes and from his positive attitude you can be sure there will be intense competition for places; a nice problem for the manager to have.
The turnstiles were still clicking when in the 5th minute Joe Turner put Derry through but Mitch Bromage, the Burgess Hill keeper just managed to get to the ball first. His afternoon was about to take a distinctly downhill direction. With his defensive colleagues unable to contain the rampant Tonbridge attack a corner was conceded and Tom Beere’s delivery eventually found Turners head with the ball going just inside the left hand post for the opener.
It continued to be all Tonbridge. In the 7th minute McKenzie saw his lobbed effort land on the crossbar and away to safety. It was to be only a temporary reprieve. In the 17th minute McKenzie and Derry combined brilliantly for the latter to notch his first goal for his new club.
Nine minutes later it was 3-0 with Derry again outpacing the Burgess Hill defence. To complete the 1st half rout it was the turn of McKenzie to get himself on the scoresheet with Adem Ramadan claiming the assist.
There was little Burgess Hill could do to give their supporters anything to cheer about although Pat Harding in the 40th and 41st minutes did have a couple of on target efforts, one deflected for a corner and the other easily dealt with by a somewhat under employed keeper Jonny Henly.
Maybe it was inevitable that the second half would not quite live up to the heights of the first period. Angels continued to press and created chances but the Hillians did escape a real drubbing and they were certainly better organised but had little success in trying to pierce a well drilled Angels defence.
Maybe the most noteworthy event of the second 45 minutes was the one downside to the Angels afternoon. In the 78th minute substitute Jared Small received a straight red card for an off the ball incident involving use of the arm. So much were the Angels in control of the match, however, that it made no difference to the pattern of play.
As the game entered stoppage time Aaron Smith-Joseph for the hosts did produce a couple of on target efforts one of which forced a good save from Henly. There was however to be no consolation for Burgess Hill and moments later referee Craig Robson blew time on a positive afternoon for the Angels.
Afterwards, Angels Boss Steve McKimm said: “We told them to start with high intensity and it worked. I heard just a few of our supporters suggesting we should have scored a few more second half but our instructions were to create chances where you can and we did that, but try to get that clean sheet which is exactly what we did. It was an excellent turnout by our fans and I thank them for that and also at Wingate on Wednesday.”