Monday 03rd January 2005

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Piper is a luxury says Angels boss Dolby

TONBRIDGE ANGELS ended their eleven game run without a win by beating third placed Braintree Town at the Avavan Longmead Stadium on New Years Day, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Essex visitors - unbeaten in 13 league games - took a tenth minute lead through Alex Revell's penalty but two goals from the Angels in a devastating five minute spell before the break through former Iron striker Steve Sodje and a Brendon Cass penalty, after Sodje was brought down by Braintree goalkeeper Danny Gay, gave the Angels a half-time advantage.

However, like at most football stadiums up and down the country, the heavens opened with rain lashing down and heavy winds making playing and watching football difficult during the second half.

Angels goalkeeper Jamie Turner, however, was immense, keeping Braintree at bay after the interval and the Kent side were able to celebrate their first Ryman League Premier Division success since Chelmsford City were beaten 2-1 at home on 25th September.

Making his debut in the game was midfielder Lenny Piper - on a month's loan from Southern League Division One East leaders Fisher Athletic - a luxury the Angels can't afford, according to player-boss Tony Dolby.

"Lenny is a class player," Dolby said.

"He's played in the Football League and the Conference and he's gone down to Fisher, who've got bundles of money at the moment.

"He's very much a luxury which we can't really afford.  He is coming in for a month and hopefully do well for us in that month."

Dolby along with club chairman Paul Dainty, however, insisted they will do everything they can to preserve their Ryman Premier Division status.

Dolby added: "I do believe we need a couple of new faces.

"Obviously Lenny's a temporary measure.  I would like somebody in permanently, it just depends of finances and whether I have to ship people out to get people in.

"Whatever it may be - nothing's going to stop us in our quest for survival this year."

Dolby would love to keep Piper at Longmead longer, but although that seems unlikely, anything can happen in football.

"It would be nice to get him for another month after this but you never know in football, never say never.  Situations change from week to week as we all know.

"Lenny is a sort of player I would love to get full-time here."

A crowd of 476 witnessed the Angels win over Braintree and Dolby is convinced the club can go from strength from strength - if they can stay in the division.

"The chairman works just as hard as myself, Mike Rutherford and the boys, behind the scenes and he is doing all he can do for us.

"I would like to think we give 100% every week, whether it will be for the fans - who are fantastic - and the chairman who supports us as much as he can.  Hopefully the boys are doing it for us - the management - and more importantly, for each other.

"We all need to pull together especially in these hard times and that's what is going to see us through.

"If we can attract a couple of big sponsors, maintain our league status, the crowds, I'm sure its a massive platform to build on.

"I am convinced this club can go forward in many ways, with the stadium, the youth structure and everything else and that's what I am working towards."

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