Tonbridge Angels 1-0 Billericay Town - I must say, Craig Edwards, on limited resources, always gets a team that is always very competitive, says Tonbridge Angels' assistant Barry Moore

Monday 29th August 2016
Tonbridge Angels 1 – 0 Billericay Town
Location Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF
Kickoff 29/08/2016 15:00

Ryman Premier League
Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Longmead Stadium

TONBRIDGE ANGELS assistant manager Barry Moore says he happy with his side’s 1-0 win over Billericay Town.

The Angels remain in second-place in the Ryman Premier League table, unbeaten in six games on 16 points, a couple points adrift of Leiston.

Nathan Elder, 31, who left Billericay Town nine years’ ago, powered home a trademark header to seal the victory with 12 minutes left, in front of their largest crowd of the season of 628.

“A bit like Harrow really, I thought we started the first half a bit slow, a little bit not pressing quick enough; giving the ball away cheaply and then again in the first half I thought Billericay were very lively, exciting going forward,” said Moore during the post-match press conference.

“But they got a speaking to at half-time regards to positioning and keeping the ball better and I thought we shaded the second half.  They had a couple across the box but nothing really threatening.”

Craig Edwards’ side created the first chance when midfielder Connor Hubble twisted and turned to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back but striker Josh Oyinsan failed to poke the ball past keeper Anthony Di-Bernardo, who gathered the ball at his near post after only 253 seconds into the game.

Tonbridge Angels’ central defender Sonny Miles pinged a great diagonal pass to put left-winger Nick Wheeler in but his scuffed shot was easily collected by Jack Giddens at his near post.

Wheeler whipped in a free-kick from the left where striker Tommy Whitnell glanced his free header past the far post during an open start to the game.

Billericay Town were denied the lead in the 11th minute when Di-Bernardo pulled off a good save to deny impressive winger Quentin Monville.

Left-winger Junior Luke received the ball in a central position and played the ball out wide to right-winger Monville, who impressed.  He turned Jack Parter and his rasping drive was pushed out by the Angels keeper.

Wheeler played Parter on the overlap, the left-back took a touch before whipping in a cross, which bounced off Elder’s chest and Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson’s first time drive deflected past the post.

“We huffed and puffed first half, we didn’t create too much,” admitted Moore.

“It was probably the only telling moment in the game. Nick Wheeler had one, it fizzed across the six-yard box, but they created a couple more chances than us in the first half but second half I thought we created a lot more.”

Di-Bernardo was forced into making his second save in the 19th minute.

Luke released Oyinsan down the left and he cut in and drilled his shot towards the roof of the net, forcing the Angels keeper to stick up his right hand to palm the ball over his crossbar.

“Similar to Harrow really, they had a couple of shots from distance that Tony dealt with. As our keeper we expect him to save them apart from that they had a 10 minute spell in the first half when they got down their right hand side, a couple of balls across the goal but second half I felt we were reasonably comfortable.”

Tonbridge Angels went close with a set-piece in the 30th minute.  Their scout spotted that Billericay’s left-back Sam Cross was their weak link and he was lucky to escape punishment for chopping down Fortnum-Tomlinson close to the by-line.

Wheeler swung in the resulting free-kick towards the far post and George Beaven came up from the back to steer his header just wide.

Fortnum-Tomlinson played the ball to Whitnell, who from the right corner of the box, floated in a cross but Elder rose too early and could only loop his header over the bar from eight-yards.

“It’s not rocket science, we’ve got some of the best deliveries in the league and some of the best players that can go and attach the ball.  I believe if we were patient and we work it in wide areas we’re going to get deliveries in, hence a 1-0 win with a headed goal.”

Billericay Town striker Ricky Sappleton wore the number 9 shirt but played in the heart of their defence alongside Alex Stephenson.

Sappleton rose with Elder following Hubble’s corner from the left into the Tonbridge box and it was the Tonbridge man that got to the ball first as the ball flew past the left-hand post.

“I think he’s (Sappleton) in (defence) to match up with Nathan’s strengths really,” added Moore.

“Ultimately we didn’t cause them mass problems.  We tried to get Tommy Whitnell on the ball in the first half and we had the idea Tom probably wouldn’t last fitness wise for 90 so we got Luke Blewden on, maybe run a bit more and in the end if paid off.”

When asked what was said inside the home dressing room by manager Steve McKimm at the break, Moore revealed: “Just to change it a little bit.  We’ve got Tommy there to get it to his feet, play forward a bit more. The right-back (Ibrahim Diallo, who went off injured after 50 minutes) was quite athletic so we said to Nick (Wheeler) to maybe change his game up a little bit and come short and get it and play little one-twos. I think second half we put four or five crosses  in the box.”

Tonbridge Angels created the first chance of the second half, following their third corner, but Miles produced a typical central defender’s finish.

Wheeler swung in a deep corner from the left, Parkinson headed the ball back across goal and Miles smashed his right-footed volley over the bar.

Tonbridge Angels were denied by a brilliant diving save from Giddens.

Whitnell cut the ball back to Fortnum-Tomlinson, who took a touch to whip in a cross, the ball was knocked down by Tomlinson and Elder’s shot on the turn was destined to nestle into the bottom far corner, but Giddens dived low to his left to make the save.

“I think probably in the first 20 minutes we got more crosses in than we did in the whole first half which causes teams problems, balls in the box do. Anyone that says different probably is not looking at football because that’s what happens in non-league and Nathan proves that if you get in the right position and the delivery gets on your head you’re going to get in one very good chance to score.”

Wheeler swept a long diagonal 60-yard pass that sailed over Cross’ head to put Fortum-Tomlinson in but Giddens caught the ball low to his left as he came off his line.

Moore said: “I feel their keeper was very agile down low. He’s not the biggest but he is a very good keeper when it’s around his body. He had that one and he pulled an unbelievable save just before we scored our goal.”

Billericay Town were awarded a free-kick in a central position but Hubble failed to notch his third goal of the season by drilling the ball over the bar and into the travelling fans that were dishing out abuse to their former player Beaven, who had committed the foul.

Tonbridge Angels’ main threat is from putting balls into the box and meeting them with headers – Miles rose at the far post to steer his header past the left-hand post after Wheeler’s deep corner from the right after 61 minutes.

Billericay Town should have grabbed the lead with a great chance in the 74th minute.

Cross swung in a corner from the right with his left foot and the ball fell at Edvardos Gaurilovas’s feet, but he drilled his right-footed shot just past the foot of the left-hand post.

Giddens pulled off another brilliant save to deny Elder again.

Wheeler produced yet another quality cross from the right and Elder’s downward header was destined to find the bottom far corner, only for Giddens to get down low to his left to make another great save.

“Delivery in that key area and Nathan to get his head on it. It came through a couple of players. I thought it was an outstanding save from him,” said Moore, who had the belief that one chance will be put away by the big target man.

He said: “Similar to last year really, we don’t want to be in a position where we go down and fight back too many times like last year.

“But we feel that we’re always a good cross or slide pass away from creating a chance.  Last year there was only a handful of goals, if that, that we didn’t score and belief is a major thing.”

Inevitably, Tonbridge Angels scored their winning goal from Elder’s header with 32:25 on the second half clock, the big striker’s fourth goal of the season.

Substitutes Damien Scannell and  Luke Blewden linked up and Blewden swept the ball out wide to right-back Folkes, who cut the ball onto his left foot to whip in a prefect pass for Elder to power his header past Giddens into the roof of the net from 10-yards.

Moore said: “We’ve got the reputation from some teams – that people don’t hear – that we’re a long ball team, we smash it in, no we don’t!  We’ve got wide men and full-backs that can deliver a ball from the final third.

“Now, the goal came from four or five passes. Damien played in to Luke, who played it out to James Folkes and a left-footed delivery, absolute key area for a free header. Now it’s very, very good football so if they want to call us long ball, Billericay don’t do that but other teams have, I’ll be happy with winning 1-0 if they want to be like that!”

Moore said it was “sweet” that Elder scored against one of his former clubs.

He said: “It makes it a lot sweeter for him because he’ll be gutted with the one when the keeper pulled off a great save. He’s an experienced player and he knows it’s never over until it’s sort of over but we’re more than happy.”

Wheeler delivered Tonbridge’s eighth and final corner and Elder’s towering header whistled over a crowd of players and over the crossbar.

Blewden went close in the final five minutes when he received the ball from Wheeler and turned in the box to sweep his shot across the keeper and shaded the foot of the far post.

“We’ve been saying to Luke, you’re not going to get as many people who work as hard as him and we’ve been saying to him ‘just relax in front of goal . We believe in you, believe in yourself, maybe think a little bit before the ball’s come and what you’re going to do’ and he done that and it just scraped the post.”

Giddens made a smart save to keep out Wheeler’s dipping drive from the left, which moved in the air.

Tonbridge Angels have conceded only two goals this season and both have come in the 90th minute in games against Burgess Hill and Metropolitan Police, Nathan Smart’s goal on Saturday was the Angels first dropped points of the season.

“I must say, Craig (Edwards) on limited resources always gets a team that is always very competitive,” said Moore.

“I think they’re a competitive side, they’re a proper non-league team. They play when they can and they get balls in the box and when they can and similar to Harrow they’ve got lively players. Sometimes when you play the footballing teams it’s a little bit easier in terms you know what they’re going to do. When you’re playing Billericay or Harrow, people will say when you play a team like Tonbridge, we can mix it if we have to physically and we can play football if we have to.

“I thought Billericay and Harrow, out of the six games we’ve played, we’re the best teams we’ve played.”

Billericay Town created three late chances to grab a point.

Cross whipped in a free-kick from the right, the ball was palmed away by the Angels keeper, who plucked the ball out of the air from Gaurilovas’ first time drive from 25-yards.

Monville, who was Billericay’s best outfield player, got in behind Folkes to reach the by-line to clip a ball into the area but substitute Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi powered his free diving header over the bar from 15-yards.

And Oyinsan will be kicking himself for scuffing his poor shot across the penalty area from just outside the right corner of the boc, which was gathered by Di-Bernardo.

Moore was delighted with their largest crowd of the season and the Angels travel to Hellenic League side Ascot United next Sunday in The FA Cup First Qualifying Round.

“It’s fantastic, especially after the last midweek game where we had 476 (against Harrow Borough).  That’s a credit to the lads because they only come if you’re winning games, it’s not rocket science. Credit to the boys and they’ll come if they see hard work.

“We feel at this moment in time the boys are working hard.”

Tonbridge Angels suffered play-off heartbreak when they lost 2-0 at East Thurrock United in the play-off semi-final after finishing in fourth-place in the table last season.

“Points on the board are fantastic and a good start is pleasing but we’ve got 40 games left, plus the focus is on Ascot next Sunday.  We’ve got the players presently that won’t take their foot of the gas and take it for granted.

“We’ve watched Ascot a few times so I think we know what they’re about and give them all the respect they’re due really.”

Ascot United went down to a 3-1 home defeat to Bracknell Town today and have a 50% record from their opening six games in the Uhulsport Hellenic League and sit in tenth-place of 19 teams.   They play two leagues lower than Tonbridge.

Tonbridge Angels: Anthony Di-Bernardo, James Folkes, Jack Parter, Tom Parkinson, Sonny Miles, George Beaven, Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson (Damien Scannell 75), Luke Allen (Tom Phipp 71), Nathan Elder, Tommy Whitnell (Luke Blewden 55), Nick Wheeler.
Subs: Jerrome Sobers, Tashi-Jay Kwayie

Goal: Nathan Elder 78

Booked: Jack Parter 58

Billericay Town: Jack Giddens, Ibrahim Diallo (Matt Young 50), Sam Cross, Edvardos Gaurilovas, Gabby Adelowo, Alex Stephenson, Quentin Monville, Conor Hubble, Ricky Sappleton, Josh Oyinsan, Junior Luke (Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi 82).
Subs: Alistair Gordon, Kyle Asante, Pierre Hazat

Booked: Josh Oyinsan 54

Attendance: 628
Referee: Mr Thomas Marshall (Eltham, London SE9)
Assistants: Mr David Moreno-Rosas (East Ham, London E6) & Mr Kennedy Kikulwe (East Ham, London E6)

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