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Tonbridge Angels 1
Gard (26')
0 Dover Athletic
Lewis Gard celebrates his winner against Dover Athletic

Angels put first points on the board in tight Kent derby

Tonbridge Angels saw off a narrow victory vs Kent rivals Dover, in a game which saw Lewis Gard open his account for the season and Jonny Henly deny Zidan Sutherland from the spot.

Both sides had positive moments in the opening minutes. Corners at each end, a couple of chances in behind for the visitors and an attempted scorpion kick from Ruben Soares-Junior characterised the early stages.

At one point, Dover had the ball in the back of the net courtesy of Sutherland slipping it through Henly’s legs but, as it nestled home, the referee’s whistle blew, highlighting his colleague’s already raised flag.

Corners dominated the action for the next 15 minutes with the Angels putting one of them in the net, it was, however, disallowed confidently by Matthew Norton, the referee on the night, who had spotted something he didn’t like.

Several Angels corners later, the home side were now established as the stronger of the two sides. And, as a result of good build up play down the right flank between the ever-impressive Tariq Hinds and technically talented Ruben Soares-Junior, Lewis Gard was passed the ball on the edge of the box and made no mistake finishing imperturbably to make the net ripple, beating the Dover keeper Terrell down to his right.

Before the close of the half, opportunities were created by the Angels to double their lead but both Wagstaff and Lyons-Foster fired wide with Akanbi and Payne having efforts saved by the Dover keeper.

At half time, Tonbridge Angels 1, Dover Athletic 0.

Out for the second half, Angels retained their momentum, but it slowly shifted towards Dover around the hour mark.

A long ball over the top saw Fielding and Sutherland battling for the falling ball. A tight tussle occurred; Jamie Fielding unfortunately being punished for his part in the contest which the referee judged as illegal. The verdict, a penalty and caution for the Angels defender.

Sutherland on the advantageous end of the ruling stepped up for the penalty himself but he was subsequently denied by a strong Jonny Henly save down to his right. The rebound unable to be turned in either.

A let off for Angels, another successful spot save for the blue shot stopper.

Joe Turner, Tommie Fagg and Nathan Wood were all introduced for Tonbridge in the final 30 minutes. Payne, scorer Lewis Gard and Soares-Junior making way.

And, as is always the case with a narrow lead, there was plenty of nervy moments for the Angels fans who had turned up to the occasion with strong noise in both halves, but the referee’s whistle came in the nick of time to confirm Angels first points on the board this campaign.

Jay Saunders said after the fixture “I was impressed with the defence today, Meade and Hinds with solid performances, Kodi and Jamie pretty much faultless over ninety minutes. The penalty is an unfortunate one but, having dug Jonny out a couple of times recently, he stepped up and kept us ahead. I’m pleased to have points on the board and now we go to Chippenham hoping to add to the tally.”

Published Wednesday 16th August 2023