The Rooks returned to The Pan for the first time in five months as their Pre-Season campaign saw National League South come to East Sussex.
The game, played behind closed doors, saw both sides use plenty of trialists with Angels running out 4-1 winners after the Rooks had competed well for the first hour.
Boss Hugo Langton started with a mix of experience and youth, including new signing Kiran Khinda-John alongside Christian Frimpong and Alex Malins at the back, whilst Gary Noel and Aaron Cosgrave led the line, supported by a very youthful midfield including Brad Santos, James Beresford, Ronnie Conlon, Ross Barclay and Player A.
The visitors were ruing their luck in the first few minutes as a goal-mouth scramble saw the ball hit a Lewes post, cleared off the line and then a good shout for a penalty turned away after a free-kick wasn’t cleared. Ten minutes later a Joe Turner free-kick beat Nathan Stroomberg-Clark but also the post.
In the 34th minute the Angels were awarded a penalty when Alex Malins was adjudged to have pulled down his man as he looked to cut inside. Joe Turner stepped up but Nathan guessed the right way to keep the spot kick out. However, Turner had his goal two minutes later, heading home at the far post from a deep cross on the Lewes left.
Langton made three changes at half-time, with former Angel Luke Blewden replacing Gary Noel, Player B replacing Brad Santos and Nic D’Arienzo coming on for Alex Malins at the back.
Tonbridge hit the post again in the first minutes of the half whilst at the other end the Rooks hit the post themselves after a mazy run and shot from Player A.
On the hour mark a mistimed back pass saw Aaron Cosgrave on the ball like a flash and he rounded the keeper on the edge of the box before he was pulled back as he prepared to slot into an empty net. With both managers in agreement with the referee, the Angels keeper (a trialist) was substituted rather than being red carded. Cosgrave made sure the new keeper’s first job was to pick the ball out of the net as he stroked the spot kick home to equalise for the Rooks.
The goal signalled the opportunity for both managers to make their changes with a number of youngsters, including Harrison Parker and Ben Whitmore being given their chance alongside some other young players being given an opportunity to impress the boss.
One change saw Nathan Stroomberg-Clark replaced and the new keeper’s baptism into the Lewes first team wasn’t one he will want to remember in a hurry as his first clearance hit Akrofi and bounced into the Lewes net.
The visitors were then awarded the third spot kick of the game when Nic D’Arienzo was adjudged to have fouled a Tonbridge trialist and Akrofi netted his second of the game.
With five minutes to go a mistake in the Lewes penalty area by one of the Players was punished by the experienced Tom Beere to give the visitors a flattering win.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Eastbourne United on Tuesday night, kick off 7:45pm. Keep an eye on Social Media as to whether fans will be able to get their first glimpse of the side this season.
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke, Beresford, Conlon, Barclay, Khinda-John, Frimpong, Noel, Player A, Cosgrave, Santos, Malins
Subs: 45 mins – Blewden for Noel, D’Arienzo for Malins, Player B for Santos
Subs: 60 mins – Player C for Stroomberg-Clarke, Player D for Beresford, Popham for Conlon, Player E for Barclay, Parker for Khinda-John, Whitmore for Frimpong, Player F for Cosgrave
Sub: 80 mins – Cosgrave for Player A
Tonbridge Angels: Trialist A, Parter, Campbell, Tiehi, Miles, Bray, Da Costa, Parkinson, Akrofi, Williams, Turner
Subs: 60mins – Greenhalgh for Turner, Beere for Parkinson, Folkes for Da Costa, Trialist B for Trialist A, Trialist C for Williams, Trialist D for Parter
Sub: 75 mins – Trialist E for Campbell