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Thursday 01st September 2005
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Saturday 4 September 2004 Ryman League
Premier Division
Stephen McCartney reports from Longmead Stadium
Tonbridge Angels 1 Patrick Blackman 77
Kingstonian 1 Elliot Onochie 21


Tonbridge not at the races

PATRICK BLACKMAN’S first goal of the season with thirteen minutes remaining salvaged Tonbridge Angels a point in a disappointing display in front of their biggest crowd of the season at Longmead Stadium today.

With the town celebrating Kelly Holmes heroics in the Athens Olympics in the past week, Tonbridge fans were brought back down to earth as bottom of the table Kingstonian had enough chances to win the game – but  had to settle for a point on a very hot day in Kent.

Kingstonian, however, on this display, will be confident sending Dover Athletic to the bottom of the Ryman League Premier Division table when the two bottom sides clash at Kingsmeadow on Monday evening.

Roared on by vocal, passionate supporters, Kingstonian, who have fallen from grace from FA Trophy winners in 1999 and 2000 to a struggling club both on and off the pitch, came quickly out of the starting blocks and twice went close in the opening 99 seconds.

Matt Patterson’s right-footed 22-yard drive warmed the fingers of goalkeeper Jamie Turner before Elliot Onochie, a prolific striker for Ryman Division One side Tooting & Mitcham that earned him a pre-season trial at Premiership newcomers Crystal Palace, whistled a shot wide of the far post.

The first chance for the home side fell to recent signing from Folkestone Invicta, Anthony Hogg, whose 24-yard hooked shot rolled wide of the foot of the right upright after 5 minutes.

Kingstonian midfielder Giles Coke proved he had the fizz in middle of the park, and with Liam Collins they won the midfield battles, and Coke's weaving 14th minute run scared the home defence.

His low shot was heading towards the bottom far corner of the net, but former Gravesend & Northfleet goalkeeper Jamie Turner got down low and pushed the shot around the post.

From the resulting corner, Jon Heath took evasive action heading a shot off the line.

After leaving Blackman in his wake, Onochie raced towards goal and with only Turner to beat, the low shot was palmed around the left post by the busy Angels goalkeeper.

Moments later, however, Kingstonian deservedly took the lead in the 21st minute when Onochie at the far post, finally beat Turner, heading a cross from the right home from close range to stun the Longmead faithful.

Kingstonian then created six more chances before the home side mustered a shot on goal, which came inside stoppage time.

Dean Suyana’s left footed drive went high and wide of Turner’s goal from distance before Turner got his body behind Frazer Muscat’s long range drive a minute later.

Liam Collins’ 29th minute effort was inches over before the lively Onochie fired a shot towards the near post but it was too comfortable for the goalkeeper as was Patterson's shot on goal.

The travelling supporters from Surrey were clearly enjoying their team’s display, especially in the first half.

However, the same can't be said of the home faithful, as their next shot on goal came deep into stoppage time.

Player manager Tony Dolby’s free kick was played to the right for substitute John Farley, who had just replaced Tim Hambley, and his header across goal set up Blackman and his 12-yard shot finally brought a save from 36-year-old goalkeeper Lance Key.

Tonbridge midfielder Sam Tydeman lost possession inside the K’s half and this allowed Dean Lodge to play a ball into the Angels danger area, but Greg Ball blazed his shot over the crossbar after 53 minutes.

Tonbridge were increasingly improving from their quiet first half and Luke Piscina received a square pass from Tydeman but his long range right-footed shot was saved by Key.

A patient Kingstonian build up carved out another goalscoring opportunity in the 72nd minute but Collin’s right wing cross was headed over by Lodge.

Tonbridge finally unlocked the visiting defence to salvage a point five minutes later.

Blackman and his team mates charged towards the far post and he touched home Dolby’s free kick from the left hand side.

Both chances had chances to win the game inside injury time.

Turner saved Patterson’s 20-yard snap shot before Onochie fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

At the other end, Hogg whistled a shot inches over the bar and the last chance of the game fell to the impressive Onochie, who was denied by Turner from a six-yard effort.

Speaking after the game, 30-year-old Angels player-manager Dolby admitted his side were looking for the three points against bottom of the table Kingstonian.

He said:  “Looking back on the 90 minutes, yes, pleased overall that we didn’t get beat and kept our unbeaten run going, but at the start of the game, obviously looking for three, so that side of it was disappointing.”

After losing their opening day of the season, 3-0 at home to Eastleigh, the Angels are now unbeaten in six games.

Dolby, however, admits he wants more from his players, especially in the early stages of matches.

He added: “We just put a few home truths to them at half time.

“We’ve had a bit of an issue, there’s only one game this season out of seven that we've started brightly and that was Northwood and we were leading at half time and went onto win the game comfortably.

“It’s a little barrier we’ve got to get over – we start very sluggish and that gives teams a little gee up and they play and that brings their game on.

“We know we have the strength to come back, but we really must address the first 15-20 minutes of the game.

“Make sure we keep it nice and tight at 0-0 or put ourselves in front for a change.”

The Angels make the trip to Kent rivals Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday evening, and Dolby predicted: "There is a lot of rivalry between the two sides and I am sure it will be a good physical trough game and we are looking forward to it."

Tonbridge Angels: Jamie Turner, John Beales, Craig Roser (Capt), Tony Dolby, Andy Larkin (Simon Stickney 67), Patrick Blackman, Sam Tydeman, Jon Heath (Kieron Wilson HT), Luke Piscina, Tim Hambley (John Farley 43), Anthony Hogg.  Subs: Joe Fuller

Kingstonian: Lance Key (Capt), Frazer Knight, Dean Suyana, Richard Taylor, Matt Bradford (Jonathan Coke 59), Giles Coke, Liam Collins, Matt Pattison, Elliot Onochie, Greg Ball (Reggie Savage 87), Dean Lodge.  Subs: Bernard Asante, Mark Rhodes, Martin Williams

Referee: J Beadle (Meopham)
Assistants: M Cottee (Hornchurch) & Mr P Faithfull (Loughton)
Attendance: 555

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