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Folkestone Invicta 0
1 Tonbridge Angels

Angels channel their efforts in Folkestone

Jonny Henly started in goal, Ben Swift and new signing Kodi Lyons-Foster ahead of him. They had trialists either side of them in the full back positions. Lewis Gard, Johl Powell and Tommie Fagg held down midfield and the front three consisted of Ruben Soares-Junior, Joe Turner and Tommy Wood.

Due to the thrashing rain, the teams didn’t waste time lining up and shaking hands etcetera and the game was kick started by the Angels.  

It was a quick start as our right-sided fullback (a trialist) combined well with Ruben S-J. In a move that could’ve caught Folkestone off guard, they survived and restarted the game with a goal kick.

Unsurprisingly, given the conditions, the goal kick was booted long.

It was pleasing to see new signing Kodi Lyons-Foster getting his first few touches in an Angels shirt, albeit last season’s strip... New kit to follow this Friday at our first home fixture of the season vs last year’s champions Ebbsfleet.

Nothing clear cut came for several minutes of the opening period; Folkestone did however create their first chance to test Jonny in the sticks. Their number 10, Andy Drury, from the left-hand side of the 18-yard box shooting left footed. Not enough to beat Henly though, he grasped it and secured it on the ground.

The ball wet and the ground slippery makes each of these close moments nervier, no matter the player. 

As the game developed, Ruben Soares-Junior was constantly looking to impact the game. At one stage, he received it with his back to goal, playing a through ball to Johl Powell who tried to make something of it. With his attempts unsuccessful, It fell back to RSJ, but his effort flew up and over the bar.

Folkestone were working hard themselves, playing a good tempo and challenging the defence at times, causing corners and creating chances.

Folkestone number 9, Fin Dent, got on the end of a bouncing ball and found himself face to face with Henly. Fortunately, new central defender Kodi Lyons-Foster came from behind to intervene before Dent could have a strike.

Another chance for the yellows came courtesy of a free-kick. Positioned to the right of the box, 23 yards out. Four men stood in the Angels wall, but it came down to Jonny having to tip it over and out for a corner. Nothing came of it.

The game end-to-end now and Angels awarded their first corners of the fixture. There was nothing good enough created to ultimately threaten Joe Coleman in the Folkestone goal.

As the first half was ending, the fans enjoyed some neat link-up play between Lewis Gard and his new teammate Johl Powell. The subsequent shot couldn’t be converted and at half time the score remained 0-0.

Folkestone kicked off the second half. The sodden pitch almost catching out substitute Joe Tyrie as Folkestone mounted their first attack. They couldn’t force anything more than a corner and nothing eventually came from it.

Angels out for the second half looking more comfortable and turning up the heat. Winning free-kicks and corners, it felt like there could be a good opportunity to come.

It wasn’t long until something concrete surfaced. Our left back (a trialist) floating a cross to find Ruben Soares-Junior who, with his back to goal, attempted an overhead kick. With the power he put on it and a helpful deflection, it ended up beating the Folkestone keeper and giving the Angels a lead. 59 minutes played. 0-1.

30 minutes to go the gaffer Jay Saunders made a host of changes. No substitution rules in pre-season friendlies meant that the whole team could be changed if desired. It wasn’t everyone off, but we did see the likes of Jonny Henly replaced by Nat Gibb, Tom Parkinson getting minutes in midfield and a debut appearance for Angels Under-18 skipper Will Puffette.

Another notable substitute was the introduction of Joe Boachie. He played for Braintree and Hungerford last season and visited Longmead twice as a result. This was marking his debut for Tonbridge.

Not long after the subs were introduced, Angels were awarded a penalty for a foul on Boachie. Joe Turner (the taker) was unfortunate as it hit the underside of the bar and stayed out. A fractional miss. 

Angels though, used a combination of fresh legs and experienced players (including new skipper Scott Wagstaff) which enabled them to keep the ball in the closing moments.

A lacklustre final 10 minutes saw Angels victorious in the wet at Folkstone. 

Johl Powell commented after the game “We found the first half quite difficult as a team to get to grips with it, second half much better and we played the football we know we can.”

Boss Jay Saunders said “I thought the tempo of the game was really good, Folkstone played at a good tempo which enabled us to, and it made it more realistic. Loads of minutes into the boys. A worthwhile exercise.”



Published Wednesday 5th July 2023