Thursday 01st September 2005

Winning tonight was a must, admits table topping Dolby

Monday 7th
November 2005
Ryman League
Division One
Stephen McCartney reports from Kingsmeadow
Kingstonian 1 Martyn Lee 87
Tonbridge Angels 2 Loui Fazakerley 1,69

Tonbridge Angels ended a run of three successive defeats to return to the top of the Ryman League Division One table with a workmanlike performance at Kingsmeadow tonight, writes Stephen McCartney.

Loui Fazakerley - a contracted striker on loan from Nationwide Conference South outfit Eastbourne Borough - made an instant impact, scoring after only 52 SECONDS into his debut.

Tony Dolby's corner was dropped by goalkeeper Chuck Martini and after Ray Powell's shot was blocked, the 21-year-old poked home from close range.

Angels' goalkeeper Jerome John, however, kept his old club at bay making a fine save to push Kenny Ojukwa's shot around the post.

And the impressive former Fisher Athletic stopper pulled off another five save from substitute Mazin Ahmad as the hosts applied pressure on the Kent side.

However, early in the second half, Martyn Lee's left-footed 25-yard shot whistled agonsingly wide of John's post.

But the visiting goalkeeper was relieved to see Ojukwa's opportunist lob from the edge of the box drop agonisingly onto the roof of the net after 63 minutes.

But Fazakerely's second of the night, seconds before he was replaced by Adam O'Neill, gave the visitors a two-goal advantage with 21 minutes to go.

Captalising on a back pass, the former West Ham and Fulham youngster fired past a bemused Martini - against the run of play.

Four minutes later, substitutes Leroy Huggins and O'Neill set up a chance for Powell, whose shot sailed just wide.

And Dolby's late stunning 40-yard drive tested the former Bromley goalkeeper who made a stunning save.

But John was rooted to the spot when Lee's 30-yard free kick found the roof of the net with three minutes left to score his third goal of the season, which made for an interesting finale.  The impressive Ahmad saw his injury time shot, which was the last kick of the game, sail over.

Angels' player-manager Dolby, however, was pleased his side bounced back after losing to Leatherhead (1-4), Whyteleafe (0-2) and Horsham (0-1) to knock Horsham off top spot.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with a delighted Dolby said: "I wouldn't say it wasn't just a workmanlike performance, I thought we worked hard and there was quite a bit of quality to the way we played.

"I thought we zipped it about at times but the main focus tonight was to work hard and stop the opposition playing, which we've done very successfully.

"Quality shines through when you do that, so we went back to basics and it worked for us tonight."

Dolby was full of praise for his two-goal hero, and added: "He's obviously not quite fit as he hasn't played many games at all.

"He's got to get as many games in as he can so he can regain his proper fitness, but yes, he's obviously a good acquisition and shows we mean business and get right back on track.

"He's contracted to Eastbourne Borough, we've got him on loan for a month and we'll take each week as it comes."

Fazakerley, however, was pleased to get 70 minutes under his belt, and added: "Just pleased to be playing again.  I've been injured on and off since pre-season and it just feels good to get a game under my belt really."

Although he only met his team-mates before the game, Fazakerley has been made very welcome.  "I've only met the guys today but they've been helping and been nice to me," he said.

Tonbridge leave league football next week, with two cup games Dolby wants to win.

Newport IOW (who were trounced 7-0 by the Angels in the league last month) are the visitors to the Betterview Longmead Stadium in the FA Trophy on Saturday and FA Cup heroes Folkestone Invicta visit next Tuesday, 15th November, in the first round of the Kent Senior Cup (if both teams avoid draws on Saturday).

"A win will be nice, however it comes we'll take it," said Dolby.  "We had a decent (FA Trophy) run last year.  We've been quite successful in the cups since I've been manager so hopefully that will continue with a victory on Saturday."

When asked if he wants his side to stay at the summit, Dolby replied: "Without a shadow of a doubt.  This is what we're all about.

"We work hard and we play well and we're hoping to do what we were doing to teams earlier on (in the season).

"We've only played badly once.  We were unfortunate against Leatherhead - it was never going to be our day.  We played badly against Whyteleafe and we should have won (against Horsham) on Saturday.

"But to get three points tonight was a must - but we've done it."

Kingstonian:  Chuck Martini, Ryan Adams, Richard Taylor, Jon Coke, Julian Sills (Capt), Stuart Reeks (Mazin Ahmad 24), Paul Weatherall, Bashiru Almi, Tony Reid, Kenny Ojukwa (Ryan Bradley 80), Martyn Lee.  Subs: Nick Fogdon, Christian Gonzales, Paul Brady

Tonbridge Angels: Jerome John, John Beales, Jon Heath, Tony Dolby, Steve Aris (Capt), Lew Watts, Luke Piscina (Leroy Huggins 39), Danny Lye, Loui Fazakerley (Adam O' Neill 70), Darren Smith, Ray Powell.  Subs: Lee Kennett, Mike Cramp, Richard Ponsford

Attendance:  304
Referee:  Mr Anthony Biddolph
Assistants:  Mr Dele Sotimirin & Mr Ahcene Yahiaoui