Defeat for Academy against the Gills
Tonbridge Angels Academy slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Gillingham’s Under-18 side but there was certainly no disgrace in defeat. Ex-Angels’ favourite, Craig Stone, the Under-18’s manager at Priestfield, said following the game that he thought the Tonbridge side had performed well contributing to a competitive fixture, but that was nothing less than he expected from a team managed by his old mate, Tommy Parkinson.
The Gills first team manager, Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor watched from the sidelines.
The first half can be divided into two parts, the opening 20 minutes largely dominated by the Gills before Tonbridge created the better of the chances in the second quarter. Charlie Martin was called into action in the opening five minutes saving a low shot and a further save from Gillingham’s most influential player, a central midfielder, after 18 minutes. In between, Cam Wotton intercepted a Gillingham backpass to the goalkeeper but shot wide.
Louis Copeland, who gave his marker an uncomfortable 45 minutes with his pace, saw a shot deflected wide for a corner and, on the half-hour, Russell Aleshinloye had two chances in a minute, the first following a cross from Copeland finding the side netting and then heading over from Wotton’s cross.
The advancing Gillingham goalkeeper denied Wotton on 35 minutes as the Angels continued their period of ascendancy.
Craig Stone said of his own side’s first half performance that it had been disappointing with poor ball retention and a lack of urgency whilst Tom Parkinson felt that there had been chances that should have seen his side in front.
The second half saw the visitor’s responding to their half-time team talk taking the lead after five minutes. Gillingham won a corner after Martin saved a shot with his feet but from the resulting corner their central defender rose highest to head the ball downwards with the bounce taking it into the far corner. Protestations that Alex Thompson had been held down were waved away.
Gillingham doubled their advantage on the hour when a free kick was only partially cleared to the edge of the box from where a low shot was driven into the bottom corner.
The League One side largely controlled the second half although Aleshinloye stretched the goalkeeper on a couple of occasions.
Substitute goalkeeper for the Angels, Nat Gibb, made a fine save, tipping over the bar to keep the deficit at two late in the game.
Tom Parkinson felt that the difference between the sides had been in both boxes where the Gills were the better side but the learning experience was fantastic for his boys as it was unlikely they would be meeting sides of this calibre in the coming season.
Both managers were thankful of each other for the fixture and hoped that it built on the growing relationship between the clubs.