Saturday, 30 December 2017

Brightlingsea Regent 0 Tonbridge Angels 3

Match 76/17/1526 - Saturday, 30th December 2017 - Bostik Premier

Brightlingsea Regent (0) 0
Tonbridge Angels (1) 3 Turner 35 Bennett 63 Bantick 67
Attendance: 261
New Ground: 321

Entrance: £6 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 190/5,076

I sense there is a general acceptance among Tonbridge supporters that we are where we are and, unless there is an unexpected reversal of the first half of season form, come the end of April we will find ourselves mired in the middle of the table. Inconsistency has been the watchword since August, seemingly unable to string together two performances of similar quality, good or bad.

Since we had endured a low point with the second half display at Folkestone perhaps the long trip to Brightlingsea would bear some fruit, but a first look at the team sheet didn’t really put hope into the heart.

As expected, both strikers, Nathan Elder and Alex Akrofi continued to nurse their hamstrings with Chris Kinnear’s name also being added to the long list of walking wounded.

Liam Smith returned to the starting line-up with Tom Jelley moving into the holding midfield spot vacated by Kinnear.

The visitors started on the front foot with Dan Bennett having an effort deflected over and Craig Stone seeing his header from a Joe Turner corner cleared from the line whilst Brightlingsea offered very little of note.

After 35 minutes the Angels finally got reward for their endeavour when a long cross from Smith on the right found the head of Turner who only needed to steer it back to the far post for the opener.

Tonbridge continued to dominate the half that ended with the home goalkeeper, Harry Palmer, saving low to his left to deny Xavier Vidal.

Fears of another second period following Folkestone were completely unfounded as Tonbridge produced a half of one-way traffic with Sam Bantick and Turner causing the home defence continuous problems from both flanks.

Just past the hour, the dividend was paid when Vidal fed Turner whose low cross was swept home from close range by Bennett.

Seven minutes later, another cross from Turner was almost comically dealt with by the Regent defence with the ball looping into the air for Bantick to volley it home.

Bantick hit a post as Tonbridge sought to add a little cream to their day at the Essex seaside.

This was a first visit to the Taydal Stadium, a ground that is going to find future development restricted to it being back onto by residential properties on all sides.

There was a nice clubhouse with a warm welcome and covered standing in three different positions. The main stand was rather oddly placed towards a corner flag and its scaffolding construction suggested temporary but probably wasn’t.

In the scheme of consistency, the New Year’s Day arrival of the Billericay Circus doesn’t herald well, but as it would have been considered a “free hit”, who knows.

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