Tonbridge Angels 0-4 Crawley Town - We needed the game on because we needed the revenue - Warrilow

Wednesday 11th July 2012

Pre-Season Friendly
Wednesday 11th July 2012
Stephen McCartney reports from Longmead Stadium

TONBRIDGE ANGELS boss Tommy Warrilow says his pre-match preparation for their opening pre-season friendly was all over the place for their 4-0 defeat to progressing League One outfit Crawley Town.

Warrilow and his management team became makeshift groundstaff as they battled against the elements to ensure match referee Mr Ian Cooper passed the lush playing surface playable just 45 minutes before kick-off.

Only 323 supporters braved the horrendous stormy elements, which included on many occasions thunder and lightning, as Sean O’Driscoll’s strong squad ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, courtesy of goals from Hope Akpan, two from Billy Clarke and a late strike from former Whitstable Town and Ebbsfleet United striker John Akinde.

“To be fair the ref was brilliant tonight talking to us. All the rain we had, it was ok, just a couple of little pockets.  We’re all out there forking and sweeping water off the pitch until ten-past-seven. Not ideal preparation but we’ve done ok,” said Warrilow, 47, afterwards.

The Angels boss praised the fans who came out to support the club on a horrible night.

He said: “You can’t knock that.  I mean it’s 323 people that we didn’t have at the start of the season.  We needed the game on because we need the revenue. 

“It’s a shame because if I looked out of the window I would’ve thought it would be off.

“The ground has really held up well. It’s probably the best I’ve known since I’ve been here. There were only a couple of areas that needed forking. We’ve not killed it.  They were worried about playing the game and ruining it for the season but it was quite firm under foot so we’ve had a good 90 minutes. 

“The crowd we had ain’t too bad on a night like tonight.”

Warrilow gave club debuts to his two summer signings, former Dover Athletic striker George Purcell and central midfielder Tom Davis, who ended last season on loan at Blue Square Bet South champions Woking  from Ryman Premier Leaguers Carshalton Athletic.

Former Crawley Town defender Ben Judge, however, was ruled out through a thigh strain and George Crimmen missed out on getting some game time at left-back as he was on holiday.  Robbie Kember was injured and big target-man Mikel Suarez was ruled out through illness.

Two central defenders, Ollie Schulz and John Scarborough, were the only players on the pitch to get through 90 minutes, as Crawley Town changed their entire team at the break and made a further three substitutions in the final four minutes.

Warrilow gave several trialists’ a chance to knock on his door to earn a contract with the Blue Square Bet (Conference) South club – but that all depends on stretching the budget even further.

Goalkeeper Callum Keswick (youth football at Sevenoaks Town), Dollard Mvimvi (Bishop's Stortford),  Scarborough (Maidenhead United), Barkley Migual-Panzo (Woking), Akim Abiola-Daramola (Stevenage Borough), Ollie Lockyear (Crawley Town), Mark Lovell (Ramsgate) and Balio Camara (Eastbourne Borough) were all given minutes on the pitch

Speaking about former Bromley defender Scarborough, Warrilow revealed: “I’ve seen John up my gym. He ended up at Maidenhead United last year. I just asked what he was doing and he’s been at Ebbsfleet and with Maidstone United (during pre-season).

“I literally rang him up after training on Monday night because we only had one recognised centre half (in Ollie Schulz) tonight and I just said ‘do you want 90 minutes?’

“Judgey (Ben Judge) has got a bit of a thigh strain.  Obviously we know about Sonny Miles (who goes in for his hernia operation on Sunday), so we were a bit light.

“He’s come in tonight, he’s an experienced player and I said if he wants 90 minutes on Saturday we’ll have another little look.

“If things change and we can talk to John it may be an option. These things happen, a surprise option comes out of the pack.

“He’s an experienced lad who’s played at this level but I know he’s with Maidstone tomorrow night training with them.

“Again, like all good trailists here, they’re under no commitments to come to us because there’s no offer on the table for them as yet.”

Lovell, who got through the whole of the second half, was a target for Bromley when he was playing Ryman League Division One South football for Ramsgate last season, before he left due to work commitments.

Warrlow added: “I know Bromley were showing a lot of interest in him last year.  He’s worked hard pre-season and again on his day he’s a good player.

“I’ve known him for a long, long time and he’s had a very good pre-season so we’ll have a look at him and see what happens from there as well.”

Crawley Town, who clinched promotion out of League Two last season by finishing in third place, started the game on the front foot, as you’d expect.

Tonbridge Angels almost grabbed an early lead, however, but Migual-Panzo stroked a poorly struck right-footed half-volley from 25-yards into Paul Jones gloves when he met Charlie Wassmer’s header out of defence.

Crawley midfielder, Sergio Torres, went close to giving his side the lead when his left-footed effort sailed just over Lee Worgan’s crossbar after Schulz failed to cut out a ball over the top by Wassmer, which released Gary Alexander and Clarke’s cut back set up Torres, who failed to hit the target.

Worgan made a comfortable save to deny Clarke scoring from a speculative left-footed drive from 30-yards, before Crawley Town opened the scoring after 18 minutes.

Gary Alexander cut into the penalty area following a penetrating run down the right and cut the ball back for Hope Akpan to side-foot the ball past the Hastings based keeper.

Warrilow feared the worse for his side when Crawley Town doubled their lead just 139 seconds later.

Crawley trialist, Shane O’Connor was picked out down the left channel and he had time and space to float in a cross towards the near post and Clarke was left unmarked at the near post to steer a right-footed shot in off the left upright with Worgan rooted to the spot.

Nicky Adams went close with a right-footed curling effort, which only just cleared the crossbar, before the Angels’ created their best chance of the game around the half-an-hour mark.

Purcell was fouled by Wassmer on the very edge of the penalty area and golden-boot winner, Frannie Collin, stepped up and sent a right-footed free-kick over the wall and this was comfortably caught by visiting keeper Jones.

The Tonbridge defence went missing when Alexander was put through on goal and struck the near post with only Worgan to beat – but Crawley went into the interval with a three-goal cushion when Clarke showed his team-mate how it’s done – by slotting a left-footed shot into the near corner after being put through by Torres.

Reflecting on the first half, Warrilow said: “Bits to work on, obviously, which we expected.  We caused our own problems in some areas but we’re playing against a very, very good side there.   A League One side with a million pound players and I can’t fault the lads.

“Of course, we were sloppy in areas and a little bit of shape had gone, but what I was pleased with was our fitness levels.  I thought we looked fit. We’ve only had four sessions and when they went 2-0 up after 21 minutes we didn’t want the floodgates to open –and I’m glad they didn’t!”

Warrilow added: “We’ve let in a couple of poor goals.  We’ve got a lot of mix-and-match there tonight and a lot of lads’ playing together for the first time.

“I’m not going to be too critical but I thought in all it was a good performance on a difficult night.”

Warrilow made five changes at the interval and against Crawley’s fully changed team put on a much better performance – despite a horrendous downpour lashing down from the black skies above Longmead Stadium, which resulted in referee Ian Cooper inspecting the pitch again before the second half went ahead.

But Crawley squandered a gilt-edged chance to make it a really uncomfortable night for the Blue Square Bet (Conference) South hosts when Akinde dwelled on the ball too long and blasted the ball straight at Worgan, who had recovered to make the block at his near post after Akinde had initially slid the ball past the Tonbridge keeper.

Lovell was unlucky not to score in the 61st minute after Crawley’s trialist keeper Nick Liversedge flapped at a free-kick.  Lovell had three bites of the cherry to score in a matter of seconds but on each occasion his shots were blocked by Crawley legs.

Worgan made a comfortable low save to his right to deny Akinde from scoring with a stroked right-footed shot from the corner of the penalty area, but he was not to be denied in the final ten minutes.

Akinde latched onto a through ball, beating the offside trap and last defender Abiola-Daramola and slotted the ball past substitute goalkeeper Keswick, who Warrilow revealed will line up for the reserves against VCD Athletic’s first team on Saturday.

Warrilow said: “Listen, they’re a good side. There were a couple of goals that I wasn’t happy with, i.e the fourth one, because it came from our corner when we should’ve scored. It sort of ricochet about and they broke away.

“But I’m not going to start dissecting the goals and start blaming or whatever but we know we could’ve done better with the four, but there’s some good players on that side and we have to take that into account.”

Speaking about Worgan’s seventeen-year-old understudy tonight, Warrilow said: “He’s a young lad, but it’s not done him any harm. He got a bit of stuck off the crowd right away and it’s a bit of character building for him.  He’s done well in training. We’ll have to have a look at Worgs’ situation and we’ve just shown him a little taste of it.  He’s got a lot of time on his side but like I just said to him, if the reserves need a goalkeeper Saturday that will be a good fixture against VCD’s first team and it will benefit him to get 90 minutes and I’ll give Worgs the full 90 (at home to Ebbsfleet on Saturday).”

Tonbridge were denied a late consolation when substitute Rory Hill used his blistering pace to cut into the penalty area but he was denied by a near post save from Liversedge.

Warrilow, however, remained upbeat, saying, “There were some positives because they’re a good side Crawley.  Horrendous conditions and the preparation for the game was all over the place. I’m not too despondent. A four-nil is not a result to be ashamed off, I don’t think.

“I’ve seen some things that I didn’t like and seen some things I did like that we’re going to expect – but we’ve still got five weeks to go (before our Conference South opener away to Maidenhead United).”

Tonbridge Angels: Lee Worgan (Callum Keswick 78), Dollard Mvimvi (Danny Walder 34), Jon Heath (Ollie Lockyear 73), Tom Davis (Akim Abiola-Daramola 46), Ollie Schulz, John Scarborough, Barkley Migual-Panzo (Rory Hill 46), Chris Piper (Lee Browning 46), George Purcell (Mark Lovell 46), Frannie Collin (Balio Camara 46), Nathan Korentang (Ryan Waterman 73).

Crawley Town: Paul Jones (Nick Liversedge 46), Jonathan Dollery (David Hunt 46), Shane O’Conner (Mat Sadler 46), Hope Akan (Josh Simpson 46), Charlie Wassmer (Mark Connolly 46), Kyle McFadzean (Louis John 46), Billy Clarke (Jonte Smith 46), Sergio Torres (Scott Davies 46), Gary Alexander (John Akinde 46), Nicky Adams (Aaron Wickham 46), Dannie Bulman (Scott Neilson 46).

Goals: Hope Akpan 18, Billy Clarke 21, 44, John Akinde 80

Attendance: 323
Referee: Mr Ian Cooper (Rochester)
Assistants: Mr Paul Howard (Finsbury Park, London N4) & Mr Ian Fissenden (Gillingham)
Fourth Official:  Mr Graeme Ions (Westerham)