McKimm shuffles cards and new players come up trumps

Pam Mills

TONBRIDGE Angels arrived at the Taydal stadium with a depleted squad and an improvised formation. But it proved a -masterstroke by manager Steve McKimm as the visitors dominated the contest.

Dan Thompson was deployed as a lone striker with Dan Bennett in behind, and from the kick-off Angels always looked in control.

Sonny Miles’ header from a corner had to be cleared off the line and the visitors caused more problems from the set-piece in the 18th minute courtesy of Dan Bennett.

Tonbridge made their superiority count when a cross from Liam Smith gave Joe Turner a simple header past goalkeeper Harry Palmer.

There were further chances for Tom Jelley and Turner and the visitors were well worth their 1-0 lead at the interval.

With Angels’ defence in the meanest of moods, the hosts couldn’t find a way through despite a more positive showing in the second half.

On the hour, good work by Thompson on the left allowed Bennett to grab his debut goal for the Angels since signing from Kingstonian and he hit the ball high into the roof of the net.

Seven minutes later it was the turn of the excellent Sam Bantick, a recruit from Heybridge Swifts, to open his Angels account.

On 74 minutes he should have pocketed his second after being set up unselfishly by Turner but his well-struck shot hit the base of the post.

Angels boss Steve McKimm was delighted with the display, given the changes he had been forced to make. “The players were really down after the performance at Folkestone on Boxing Day [when they lost 3-1], but they’ve answered that today.

“I’ve given them a target number of wins to possibly reach the play-offs and that’s the first of them. Billericay on New Year’s Day will be very difficult but we will give it a go.

“I have to believe we can get a result otherwise I wouldn’t be doing my job.”

In the event Monday’s clash with the leaders of the Bostik League Premier was called off due to waterlogged pitch. An inspection in the morning had found the service fit to play but persistent rain led to an abandonment.

Angels’ next fixture is at home to Lowestoft Town on Saturday (January 6, kick-off 3pm).


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