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Saunders wants more of the same
Saunders wants more of the same

Tonbridge Angels boss Jay Saunders has called on his side to continue their recent impressive form when they travel to Reachfields on Saturday for an all-Kent tie in the Isuzu FA Trophy. 

The Angels will travel to Hythe if the match passes a Saturday morning inspection on the back of a fine 3-0 National League midweek win at Eastbourne Borough and unbeaten in five and with just a solitary defeat in their last ten games – a fact that obviously is good news for the manager. 

“Even when we were losing games,” he told us this week, “I knew we weren’t far off it, and you have to remember that we went to Eastbourne on Tuesday with two suspended, one on international duty and another injured – that’s four players who when they’re available, nine times out of ten will start, so we haven’t gone into a lot of these games at full strength for weeks.”

“We have been getting good results and indeed some of the draws we have been getting should have been wins – it has been a good run.”

“I have not looked at the table, but I was told by Blackie (coach Lloyd Blackman) on Tuesday that if you look at our current points tally, we are on exactly the same points at this stage as we were last year and twelve months ago, everyone was raving about our season!” 

“It is the first time this season we have got back-to-back wins this season. It was well overdue and I am very pleased,” Saunders admitted.

“Two away performances, six points at two difficult places to go, so I am delighted. We scored six too and since we made a few changes a little while ago, scoring has not been the problem, it was earlier in the season.”

“They were two different games – Saturday was great as we were two nil down with twenty minutes to go and we made some changes, and we went on and won the game deservedly so.”

“That gave us the confidence to go into Tuesday, which was just a very, very good away performance in tough conditions – it was very windy down at Eastbourne, but we were solid against the wind in the first half and went in a goal up and then killed the game off in the second half – we managed it really well.”

“There were three good goals, but what was more pleasing for me was the clean sheet as well as we had Joe Tyrie called back from Sittingbourne for the night and Ethan Sutcliffe – and eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds playing central defence together having only played once together before and they were outstanding!” 

The weekend Trophy tie pits Saunders against his former Maidstone skipper Steve Watt, now of course in charge at Hythe, and it is a contest that Saunders is really looking forward to.

“It’s going to be a really tough game,” he said, “They are a good side – well managed, Steve’s done an excellent job there, and it will be good to see some old friends. It will be a tough tie for us,” Saunders continued.

“People have said it is a tough place to go, but I think even if we would have played them at home, we would have had a tough game as they are a good side.”

“I have seen them, and I know it will not be easy and we have shown them full respect – we have been watching them, and we will treat them just as we would any other side.” 

“A Trophy run will be massive for the Club. We had some really disappointing results in Cup and Trophy last season and this year we took a lot of stick when we lost in the Cup to Haringey and rightly so.”

“I think now where we need a little run in the competition as it brings Clubs together, supporters together and we want to give them something to cheer about!”

“And that to start with is to try and overcome Hythe and if we do that and get a little bit of luck in the draws, who knows how far we could go…”