Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Sevenoaks Town 0 v 1 Tonbridge Angels

Tuesday 14th July 2015
Pre-season Friendly
Greatness Park, Sevenoaks
Admission: £5.00
Programme: None
Attendance: 157
Match Rating: 4

Faced with a realistic choice of three revisits between Langney Wanderers, Dover Athletic and Sevenoaks Town, I eventually decided upon arguably the most interesting one - a local derby, with fairly good standard of teams, and for me would mean a little nostalgia back to the days up to 18 months ago when these were two of my local teams before moving away from the area.

Greatness Park has not seen any significant alterations since my last visit in 2010, apart from the addition of a wooden hut serving as a committee room located behind the goal adjacent to the changing rooms and tea bar hatch. Ambitious plans to develop the ground have just been announced though, for a pitchside clubhouse incorporating covered seating to watch games from.

There are two steps between the two clubs, Sevenoaks finishing eighth in the Southern Counties East League and Tonbridge Angels finishing in 20th in the Isthmian League. For Tonbridge, this evening would represent "getting back to normal", following the tragic event exactly a week ago when one of their triallists collapsed during the game and subsequently passed away, and then playing League One outfit Gillingham in what became, by all accounts, an very emotionally charged tribute occasion.

With heavy drizzle arriving just before kick off, how Tonbridge did not take the lead in the opening quarter of an hour is anybody's guess, as they bombarded the Sevenoaks goal, forcing several very good saves from the keeper. They finally did find the back of the net on 21 minutes, when Sonny Miles headed home a corner, but it was disallowed for climbing. The game became much more even, with Sevenoaks acquitting themselves really well, but in the end, they probably just about deserved to go in all square at the break with how they weathered the early storm and came back into the game.

The second half started in a similar vein, pretty even, and Sevenoaks even had a couple of good chances to take the lead, but on 66 minutes, it was the Angels who scored what proved to be the winning goal. Following a heavy foul tackle out wide, from the free kick Nicky Wheeler curled the ball in towards the back post, which Luke Blewden met with a glancing header to guide the ball home. Tonbridge went on to dominate the rest of the match, but Sevenoaks can be very happy with the quality of their football, generally looking quite comfortable against higher ranked opponents.

This was an enjoyable game for a pre-season friendly, played a good tempo which never really slackened, and with both clubs putting out strong teams.

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