Isthmian League

McKimm fends off the critics as Angels fall to local defeat

Tonbridge Angels failed to brighten a slate-grey Boxing Day afternoon as they slumped to a third consecutive home defeat inviting the critics to round on Manager Steve McKimm.

After equalising in first half injury time, Tonbridge commanded the majority of second half possession but were undone by two breakaway goals in the final 11 minutes.

Steve McKimm named his Christmas Eve signings, Tom Murphy and D’Sean Theobalds, in the starting 11 for the festive clash against fellow Kent side, Folkestone Invicta with Alex Read and Tom Beere dropping to the bench.

The Angels started brightly with Joe Turner forcing Invicta goalkeeper, Tim Roberts, into a save low to his right after just two minutes and when a Tom Parkinson cross from the right only just evaded Murphy the opening signs were positive.

But after eight minutes it was the visitors that opened the scoring. A fine pass from Kieron McCann set Adam Yusuff away down the left hand side from where he pulled a cross back from the bye-line for Ian Draycott to score from close range. In the act of attempting to deny the goalscorer, Angels’ goalkeeper was left prostrate and it was nearly four minutes before he was able to resume his position between the sticks.

Folkestone took confidence from the goal and Tonbridge’s drained away as the visitors took control of the first period. After 34 minutes, a free kick from Draycott to the far post was turned wide by Josh Vincent and Henly showed he had recovered from the knock to his head, diving bravely at the feet of Yussuf followed by another save from Draycott.

The visitors thought they had doubled their advantage two minutes before the break when McCann fired in a shot that was parried by Henly with the rebound somehow being prevented from crossing the line.

Against the run of play, Tonbridge found an equaliser in the third minute of first half added time. A corner from the right was headed on by Sonny Miles to Murphy who hooked the ball into the net from the left side of the six yard box.

The goal lifted the Tonbridge spirits going into the dressing room and from the outset of the second period they were the dominant side. A Miles head was saved by Roberts; a good break from substitute Adem Ramadan set up Turner to shoot into the side netting and from a Turner cross it was difficult to see how Craig Stone managed to lift the ball over the bar.

After 66 minutes, a long punt forward by Roberts saw the ball allowed to travel to McCann who was brought down in the box by Parkinson to concede a penalty. Yussuf’s spot kick was saved low to his right by Henly.

Tonbridge continued to hold the momentum with Tom Beere firing over at the far post before, after 79 minutes, Folkestone regained the lead. Scott Heard was allowed to travel from deep midfield without a significant challenge before unleashing a shot past Henly.

The home side pressed on to find an equaliser but were caught on the break once more in the second minute of added time when, once again, this time Alfie Paxman was allowed to dribble across the face of goal before despatching a shot in the bottom corner from 18 yards.

A frustrated Steve McKimm said afterwards: “We were dreadful in the first half, just not brave enough. In the second half, we have been camped in their half and missed two open goals. You’ve got to score from those chances, goals change games.”

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