Tonbridge Angels 0-3 Dover Athletic - It's always pleasing to get as far as you can in this competition, says Dover Athletic Academy boss Mike Sandmann

Sunday 20th September 2015
Tonbridge Angels 0 – 3 Dover Athletic
Location Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF
Kickoff 21/09/2015 19:45

The FA Youth Cup First Qualifying Round
Monday 21st September 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Longmead Stadium

DOVER ATHLETIC Academy manager Mike Sandmann says he wants more from his side despite comfortably progressing through to the FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round.

The Whites eased past Tonbridge Angels in front of 75 spectators at Longmead Stadium, courtesy of two goals from wingers, Alfie Paxman and Kyron Lightfoot, sandwiched in between a fluke from right-back Jack Paxman.

Dover Athletic, who defeated AFC Croydon Athletic 4-1 at the first hurdle, can now look forward to a trip to Dartford, who eased past Cray Wanderers (9-0) and Chipstead 4-1 tonight.

“We’re pleased with the result overall,” said Sandmann afterwards.

“We weren’t happy with the first half performance.  We didn’t feel we did enough in the game, despite being 2-0 up.

“I didn’t feel we really set our mark on the game and controlled it. We didn’t pass the ball as well as what we have been doing and should be doing.

“The second half we got an early goal and I think the game sort of went then.  There was tired legs on both teams, a lot of hard work in the first half.

“I think the second half we sort of coasted through the game, which is pleasing for the boys.  They go through to the next round. 

“I always want better. I always want more but there’s some good performances out there tonight and it was certainly a better second half than the first.”

Tonbridge Angels manager John Gibbons sent out assistant manager Jonny Elwood, who praised his young side tonight.

“There’s a lot of positives to take away,” said Elwood.

“We’ve got a squad here of under 16s. We had eight fifteen-year-olds out there today, a lot of first year under 17s, so we’re not overly disappointed with the result.

“We’ve got a two-year plan for this side to run through the club. 

“The under 16s are fantastic in their own age group so the focus is on them and push them through the club and get them exposed to the right sort of standard at this age group.

“I thought the lads done really well tonight.  I said to the lads we’re looking for next year already. They’re already pushing for that. Every single one of them is going to get that chance again, maybe it’s come a little bit too early for us.

“There was a lot of people down here tonight. We’re grateful for the support and you’ve got a National League club coming down here playing against us tonight.

“I think Dover were great value but we definitely gave them a good go tonight.

“We probably had the best chance of the game in the first 20 seconds and if we tuck that way it might’ve been a different game.

“It’s a learning curve for them, there’s a lot of people down here, we’re playing under lights and they’ll get that other opportunity next year.”

Tonbridge Angels’ best chance of the game arrived after only 20 seconds after they kicked-off.

Captain Callum Adonis-Taylor charged forward before slipping the ball through to Guy Taylor, but Dover Athletic keeper Tom Roberts moved swiftly off his line to make the block with his legs.

Elwood said: “Callum’s put him through there and Guy’s done well there tonight. He’s got a lot of pace about him and I thought he was a threat. It’s his first 90 minutes at this level. Hopefully we’ll be seeing that combination a little bit higher up in the club.

“Callum’s 16 and he’s been playing 90 minutes week in, week out for the reserves which is a real achievement and he’s been a good captain and done alright out there for us.”

Sandmann said: “In the changing room we were saying just how important it was to make a good start and that was one of the things from the first half that disappointed the most. We was taking too long to move the ball.”

A handball from Tonbridge left-back Kieran Smith gifted Dover Athletic a free-kick on the corner of the penalty area, but Alfie Paxman curled his effort harmlessly around the far post.

Dover Athletic hit Tonbridge Angels on the break inside seven minutes when Connor Miller played a long ball out of defence out to Alfie Paxman on the right and his 50-yard diagonal pass put striker Brandon De Grout through on goal, but his driven shot was blocked by Tonbridge keeper Tommy Taylor, who advanced to the edge of the box, the keeper then blocking a follow-up shot from Lightfoot.

Jack Paxman raced down the right flank to reach the by-line to wrap his foot around the ball to centre towards the near post but De Grout’s flicked shot was gathered by Tommy Taylor comfortably at his near post.

Adonis-Taylor then cut the ball onto his left-foot before drilling a powerful shot high over the Dover crossbar from 30-yards.

Dover Athletic deservedly opened the scoring with 17 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

De Grout collected a long ball and as Taylor advanced off his line it appeared that he dragged his shot across the keeper and past the far post but the ball fell at Alfie Paxman’s feet some 12-yards from goal and he slipped the ball into the back of an empty goal.

Sandmann said: “Alfie caused threats throughout the game. He didn’t get a goal in the last round of The FA Youth Cup and it was disappointing because he had chances, so I’m really pleased that he got his chance tonight.

“Brandon (De Grout) on the other hand he’ll be gutted he hasn’t scored a goal tonight. That’s the attitude of the boys to start they’ve won 3-0 tonight, they still individually want to do better and do more and that’s pleasing.”

Elwood said: “I think the boys have probably just switched off but it’s a learning experience.

“We’ve got two fifteen-year-old centre halves that played out there tonight so I think they’ve done really well to go out there and dominate an under 18 game, which for long periods they have.  I don’t think you can single anyone out for the goals because I praise them all there.”

Lightfoot and Alfie Paxman then swapped flanks and Lightfoot reached the right by-line and whipped in another cross, which De Grout failed to convert at the near post, the ball bouncing past the upright.

De Grout latched onto the ball from Lightfoot’s knockdown before cracking a left-footed drive, which screamed narrowly over the crossbar from 25-yards, before Tonbridge Angels created their second chance of the night in the 27th minute.

Holding midfielder Jack Fenton moved forward with the ball before unleashing a left-footed drive towards the roof of the net from 35-yards, which was comfortably tipped over the bar by Roberts’ outstretched hands.

Elwood said: “We’ve got a little centre mid, Jack Fenton, who was outstanding tonight, brave as anything. He put his body on the line, put his face in where other people weren’t putting their feet. I thought he was brilliant!

“It was a great effort. He’s got two great feet. I can’t praise the boy enough.  I think he’s done really well tonight, going forward and back. He done that holding role against boys who are one or two years older than him so I think he can hold his head up and he’s got a big future.”

Sandmann added: “Me being critical, I’ll ask him to catch it!

“They did have a real good go at us and that’s real credit to them.  I was just disappointed with us in the first half.”

Lightfoot was now down the left hand side and his right-footed angled drive brought a comfortable save from Tommy Taylor at his near post.

Dover Athletic squandered an excellent chance to double their lead in the 36th minute.

Connor Wilkins rode a strong challenge from Tonbridge midfielder Harry Nelson and played De Grout through on goal with a lovely pass but the striker took a touch but his left-footed dink shot spooned into Tommy Taylor’s hands, grabbing the ball to his left.

Sandmann said: “I said to him he should’ve gone round the goalkeeper because as soon as you make that move to go around the goalkeeper he’s got to be very, very careful so I just think a little bit more composure that he needs.  Brandon is a goalscorer, he normally scores goals and he’s normally a bit better in front of goal and next week he maybe be in the same situation and he may go around the goalkeeper.”

The Tonbridge defence were guilty of giving the ball away on a number of occasions and William Jupp gave the ball straight to Wilkins who ran forward before passing to Alfie Paxman, who cut onto his left-foot and forced the keeper to make a low save to his left.

Oliver Baker – who like Jupp is only 15 years of age – played a cross-field pass straight to De Grout, but a poor first touch from Alfie Paxman as he was played through on goal was gobbled up by the Tonbridge keeper.

Dover Athletic forced Tommy Taylor into making a quick thinking save low to his right as Alfie Paxman went for the bottom near corner with a curling free-kick from an acute angle down the left channel close to the by-line.

But Dover Athletic went in at the break with a deserved 2-0 lead with 44 minutes and 7 seconds on the clock.

Jack Paxman brought the ball under control and from 40-yards whipped in a cross from the right, which sailed over Tommy Taylor’s head and dropped in to the roof of the net to leave the Tonbridge keeper embarrassed.

When asked whether the player meant it, Sandmann replied: “Do you know what? I asked him and he sort of said it was half-an-half but to be fair to Jack he does that in one in three games.  He’ll just score a complete as they call it a worldy goal so when he scored it, it didn’t surprise me.  He does that quite often.

“He’ll have six strikes put one in the top corner and miss the other five but he’s certainly got a great strike on him and a great time to score a goal in terms of the game just before half-time.”

Elwood inevitably said: “The kid obviously just miss-hit it and it’s one of them. No one’s to blame. It just fluked and gone in. It’s like Ronaldinho’s one a few years’ ago – that’s football!”

Despite their comfortable two-goal lead, Sandmann admitted he wasn’t happy at the break.

“I just said I was disappointed with them.  I don’t think they showed themselves with enough credit or really impose themselves in the game and show how good they really are – despite being 2-0 up.

“It’s very critical for me to say that but there’s some good young players in there and I just don’t think we did enough in the first half despite being 2-0 up and they knew it as well. 

“I said to them I can lie to you and tell them well done for being 2-0 up but they don’t want to hear that! They want to be pushed on.

“I said to them they’ve got to go and control the game. They’ve got to move the ball a little bit better. They’ve got to use the wide players, they’ve got to stretch them.

“Tonbridge are a young side so they’ll run out of energy and run out of legs and you could see that. I think we did start passing the ball and as soon as we went 3-0 the game sort of went. We just sat on and we’ll go with the 3-0 and I don’t think they posed us a great threat second half.”

Elwood said: “We told them they were in it, obviously cut out the errors. We’ve had chances. I thought Regan (Corke) has caused their defenders a bit of a nightmare for long periods and we were just trying to work to get the ball into him and keeping it off their centre halves. Physically they certainly had the advantage tonight so just told the boys to get it in behind them a little bit more.”

Tonbridge Angels had to score early to fight their way back into the game and they created a decent chance inside the opening three minutes.

Left-back Kieran Smith was left in acres of space to whip in a deep cross which found Guy Taylor unmarked inside the penalty area, but a poor first touch allowed Tom Roberts to grab the ball at his feet.

And after Alfie Paxman’s run down the left saw him drill his shot into the side-netting, Dover Athletic killed the game off with a third goal in the 53rd minute.

Tonbridge Angels gave the ball away, this time it was left-back Kieran Smith at fault and Lightfoot capped a man-of-the-match performance by controlling the ball before drilling his right-footed shot underneath Tommy Taylor to slot the ball into the centre of the goal from 20-yards.

“I’m really pleased with him because I’ve been speaking a lot about the wide players tucking in but not tucking in on the full-back, tucking in on the other centre half, so if they are going to get out they’re going to give it to the full back,” explained Sandmann.

“So I’m really, really pleased that from a personal point of view that he’s took that on and got his rewards.

“They’ll look at it as a poor pass but I’ll look at it as a good shape and a good starting position to go and press the ball.”

Elwood added: “I can’t remember that goal! Two-nil down, we were chasing the game and trying to get back into it.

“I think Dover were very good value for their win but I don’t think it was 3-0 – I think that flatters them a little bit!”

Tonbridge Angels lacked any ideas up front and they created an opening in the 66th minute.

Fenton’s driven shot from just inside the Dover penalty area was blocked and was retrieved by Dominic Welsh, who lashed his right-footed drive into the side netting from an acute angle from eight-yards.

Alfie Paxman stroked a left-footed free-kick towards the bottom near corner from 30-yards, which Tommy Taylor kneeled down to save comfortably.

Dover Athletic were lively down both flanks with Paxman and Lightfoot causing full-backs Tommy Chapman and Smith problems with their pace all night.

Sandmann said: “Our two wide players were certainly really causing problems. I was really pleased with Kyron. I thought he was excellent tonight. He’s got great feet and he’s got real good quality on the ball and he’s showed good energy levels.” 

Nelson, who had his own fan club behind the goal he was defending, joined an attack to whip in a cross into the Dover box but the ball bounced off substitute striker Jean-Pierre Alexander, the ball being comfortably plucked out of the air by Roberts with ease.

The last chance of the game fell to Dover Athletic in the 79th minute when Jack Paxman cut in from the right and drilled his low left-footed shot just past the foot of the near post from 25-yards.

Sandemann was delighted that his two central defenders (Connelly and Holmes) kept a clean sheet, along with keeper Roberts.

“I think the game went, both teams knew the outcome and it sort of fizzled out,” he said.

“We defended a lot better second half and in the last FA Youth Cup game despite winning 4-1 we conceded with two minutes to go and we’re disappointed because the defenders and the goalkeeper want a clean sheet so overall you’ve got three goals from the attackers but what’s also important, the defenders got a clean sheet.”

Sandmann is looking forward to the trip to Dartford in the Second Qualifying Round.

“It’s always pleasing to get as far as you can in this competition,” he said.

“We know Dartford well. They’re a good, physical side and they’ll give us a different game and it will be a great learning curve and we’re really looking forward to it.

“I do know a lot about Dartford. I know they’re a good, strong side so they’re going to be a decent side and give us a different game and the boys will need to produce.”

Tonbridge Angels were disappointing tonight but Elwood is looking at the bigger picture.

He said: “We won’t beat the boys up. We’ve got a two-year plan here and we’ve got some top quality players. I bet there will be a few clubs looking at these players because they’re a very good bunch and they’ll do very well this year.

“They’ve just come together. It may take a couple of games to get going but I think we’ll have some very good results.

“It’s youth football. You try to get them together and try to progress them and not necessarily get the results straight away and you’re not going to straight away.

“Dover are a good outfit, good youth level, been successful in recent years. I don’t think they could’ve been any harder draws. Last year we had Dartford first round here, same scoreline. It’s a bit of bad luck but there you go.”

Tonbridge Angels: Tommy Taylor, Harry Nelson, Kieran Smith, Jack Fenton, Oliver Baker, William Jupp, Dominic Welsh (Liam Smith 71), Callum Adonis-Taylor, Regan Corke (Jean-Pierre Alexander 71), Tommy Chapman (Jake Broomfield 65), Guy Taylor.
Subs: Louis Pateman, Kieran Hounsell

Booked: Jack Fenton 42, Harry Nelson 60, Oliver Baker 72

Dover Athletic: Tom Roberts, Jack Paxman, Michael Dowling, Charlie Manning, Kyron Connelly, Thomas Holmes, Kyron Lightfoot (Charlie Davies 87), Connor Miller, Brandon De Grout (Ben Cardwell 74), Connor Wilkins (Harry Miller 65), Alfie Paxman.
Subs: Stan Waller, Toby Waters,

Goals: Alfie Paxman 18, Jack Paxman 45, Kyron Lightfoot 53

Booked: Brandon De Grout 31, Kyron Lightfoot 79

Attendance: 75
Referee: Mr Bo Wang (Ashford)
Assistants: Mr Robin Matthews (Battle, East Sussex) & Mr Matthew Pollington (Paddock Wood)