National LeaguesNews

New Angels at Longmead


Tonbridge Angels have welcomed experienced striker Stefan Payne, who joins the club having spent last season at Welling United where he scored 11 times in 35 appearances.

Stefan, 31 years-old, began his professional career with Sutton United where he quickly attracted the attention of Premier League Fulham, for whom he signed for the 2009/10 season. His time at Craven Cottage did not bring a first team appearance but his performances in the reserve team were enough to earn him a transfer to Gillingham for the following season.

In his two years at the Gills he made a total of 37 appearances, scoring twice. At the end of his contract he returned to non-league football with Aldershot and then back to Sutton.

It was in season 2013/14 that Stefan found a rich vein of form at Isthmian League AFC Hornchurch scoring 35 goals which earned him a move up into the Conference with Dover Athletic, where his prolific run continued, scoring 33 times in a two season spell.

Naturally enough, this spiked the attention of the Football league and he joined Barnsley in the close season of 2016. Further spells in the EFL came with moves to Shrewsbury Town, Bristol Rovers, Tranmere Rovers and Grimsby Town before returning to the non-league scene with Chesterfield in 2021.

Jay Saunders, delighted to have added to his striking options said: “Stefan is another great addition to our squad. He’s someone that has scored goals at this level and above and I’m sure, in this environment, we will get the best out of him.”


26 year-old central defender Kodi Lyons-Foster is another to arrive at the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium.

Kodi joins the Angels from Aldershot Town having joined the Hampshire club in 2019 from Braintree Town. Last season he had time on loan at both Maidstone United and Welling United.

Kodi spent his apprenticeship at Tottenham before moving to Aston Villa at Under-18 and Under-23 levels. After a spell at Bristol City he moved to Aldershot for the start of the 2017/18 season. After a season at Braintree Town he returned to Aldershot until his departure to the Angels.

In his time at Aldershot he made a total of 117 appearances whilst his loan spells at Maidstone brought 9 appearances and at Welling 19 starts that also contributed three goals.

Jay Saunders said of his new signing: “I’m delighted to bring Kodi to the club. He is a top player with good experience at this level and above, but still at a good age and I can’t wait to start working with him.”



Jordan Higgs has joined from Dover Athletic.

The 26 year old made 41 appearances for Dover last season, scoring six times, one of which being a stunning 30 yard strike against the Angels at the Crabble in August.

A graduate of Bromley’s Academy, Jordan spent six seasons at Hayes Lane, making 131 appearances (nine goals) including the 2018 FA Trophy Final in which he suffered the heartbreak of a Wembley defeat, on penalties, to Brackley Town.

Jordan left Bromley at the beginning of 2020/21 for Dulwich Hamlet where, over a two season spell, he made 44 appearances, scoring once.

Andy Hessenthaler took Jordan to Dover last summer and he excelled in a struggling team throughout the season.

A bust summer of signings includes that of Gianni Crichlow, a 25 year-old winger who ended last season at Dulwich Hamlet, where he was on loan from Havant and Waterlooville.

Gianni began his career at Queens Park Rangers, spending time on loan at Torquay United, before his release from the Championship side led to a move to Chelmsford City.

After spells at Hendon and Hanwell Town, he moved on to Braintree Town, where he had a season making 39 appearances (26 starts), scoring six goals from wide areas before joining Havant at the start of last season.

At Havant, Gianni made 20 appearances before a loan spell at Hemel Hempstead and, as stated, ending the season at Dulwich.

Tonbridge Angels have also welcomed Johl Powell to the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium.

Johl is described as an energetic, box-to-box midfielder, 21 years old age, who signs for the Angels from Dulwich Hamlet.

He began his career at Charlton Athletic, where he spent seven years from youth football leading to three years as a professional including a loan spell at Maidstone United before leaving The Valley at the end of season 2021/22. He joined Dulwich in November 2022, and made 27 appearances for the Hamlet, scoring six times, a healthy return for a midfielder.

Jay Saunders’ first new addition to his squad was 25 year-old midfielder, Joe Boachie.

Joe ended last season at Hungerford Town, having joined the Crusaders in March from Braintree Town. In his time at Hungerford he made 11 appearances, scoring four times whilst, at Braintree he scored twice in 13 appearances.

He had previously spent time at Concord Rangers and on loan at Potters Bar.

Jay commented: “Joe Boachie is someone that I’ve admired for a long time. He will bring pace, power and creativity to the squad and I can’t wait to work with him.”

The Angels begin their 2023/24 campaign with an away fixture at Worthing on Saturday, 5th August and the opener is followed a week later with our first home fixture against newly-promoted Weston-super-Mare.

For the latest news from Tonbridge Angels please visit their website here.


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