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3 Tonbridge Angels

Angels start the engine at Rusthall FC

After 63 days from the final match of last season, a new campaign and a new dawn starts for the Angels.

As is always the way with pre-season friendlies, the games are about bringing new players into the fold, picking up match fitness and observing trialists.

Six players from our final game vs Cheshunt started the first half and newly appointed captain Scott Wagstaff led the team out. Familiar faces in Jonny Henly, Hinds, Swift, Joe Turner and Tommy Wood started alongside new signing Jordan Higgs and four trialists.

Angels enjoyed a few chances throughout the first half. Tommy Wood involved in a handful of good moments in the final third and Higgs, making his debut, impressed in midfield.

One of the closest chances fell to Ben Swift in the opposition box. After a bit of a scramble, he put it past the post and into the side netting and the score remained 0-0.

However, as we approached half-time Tommy Wood capitalised on a loose ball with an acrobatic finish to beat the Rusthall shot stopper and give the Angels a one-nil lead into the break.

Out for the second half was a changed team; Nat Gibb starting between the sticks, in front of him Fielding and Smith, Ruben Soares-Jr, new signing Johl Powell and Lewis Gard as well as Velvick and four trialists on the team sheet filling the other positions.

Angels showed good signs as the half started, keeping the ball and playing in the greens’ half.

Ruben Soares-Jr shone after an attack down the right-hand side led to him slotting the ball into the bottom corner. It was created well and finished calmly.

The blues had further opportunities including a couple of freekicks which unfortunately rose over the bar. Rusthall themselves had a chance from a set piece which was set up to be taken as a cross but, was surprisingly taken as a lobbed shot and Nat Gibb was forced to react quickly, tipping it over the bar to deny an equaliser.

Having been unable to score, Rusthall found themselves two-down moments later after Jamie Fielding picked up a ball that had been crossed in from another free kick and he didn’t hesitate to finish it into the right-hand side of the goal.

The game ended with both sides still working hard and creating chances but nothing convincing enough to warrant a goal.

It’s worth saying that whilst our trialists aren’t named it’s always a pleasure to watch new talent playing in an Angels shirt.

When asked about the team’s performance, manager Jay Saunders commented: “I look at it more individually in terms of where players are at and there were some pleasing performances out there.”

Many thanks must go to Rusthall FC who stepped in after a cancellation and hosted our first pre-season fixture of the schedule.

Published Sunday 2nd July 2023