Saturday, 27 October 2018

Tonbridge Angels 2 Whyteleafe 1

Match 49/18/1642 - Saturday, 27th October 2018 - FA Trophy 1R

Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Read 81 Turner 90 (pen)
Whyteleafe (1) 1 Hector 37
Attendance: 390

Admission: £7 Senior
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/3,154

If there is a need to play the Get Out of Jail card, a time when £3,250 is on the line seems a very appropriate moment.

Tonbridge stared down the barrel of another cup exit to lower opposition from the moment of Sonny Miles’ brain fade until 10 minutes from the end from a shot from Liam King was handled on the line giving the Angels a penalty and also even up the player count.

On the first bitterly cold Saturday of the season, the game got off to a quiet start until Miles’ rush of blood, kicking out after a challenge had left both players on the ground leaving the referee with no option but to show the red card.

Tonbridge adjusted by dropping Tommy Parkinson into central defence but any early momentum had been lost.

Whyteleafe took control of the game and they thought they had taken the lead after 32 minutes when a splendid diagonal ball found Bradley Wilson who produced a fine finish only to ruled offside.

But the Surrey side were not to be denied as five minutes later when the ball was collected by Daniel Hector who unleashed a shot from 30 yards that whistled into the top corner.

Manager Steve McKimm sent his troops out early for the second half and, despite an early effort from Bentley Graham that was deflected safely to Jonny Henly, their greater intent was instantly apparent.

Tom Beere, instrumental in all that was good about the home side in the second period, was sent through on goal and when he was brought down by ex-Angel Nathan Campbell there were thoughts that the red card might be flourished yet again, but the official decreed a yellow sufficient.

In a matter of a minute, Whyteleafe broke from the pressure they had been under and a cross from Graham flashed across the face of the goal begging a touch followed by an effort from Graham that needed to be turned over the bar by Henly.

Jared Small made way for King with 20 minutes remaining and, after 75 minutes, a shot from Joe Turner was bound for the top corner but Tyler McCarthy, in the Leafe goal brilliantly turned it over the bar.

Tonbridge finally found the equaliser that their second half performance deserved when King’s shot from around the penalty spot was saved by the hands of defender Matthew O’Donoghue, who saw the inevitable red. Alex Read stepped up for the spot kick but his initial shot was too close to McCarthy who parried the ball back into the path who made no mistake from the second attempt.

A replay at Church Road appeared set for Tuesday, and the visitors might well claim it was something they deserved, but as King broke through he was brought down by Harrison Carnegie for another penalty and, once more, the sight of the referee’s red card. With Read having been substituted eight minutes earlier, Turner took the responsibility and his driven shot carried too much power despite McCarthy guessing the direction correctly.

Who knows, a favourable draw and that Jail Card might appear even more profitable.

Pictures: David Couldridge

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Hollands & Blair 0 Chatham Town 2

Match 48/18/1641 - Wednesday, 24th October 2018 - SCEFL Challenge Cup 2R

Hollands & Blair (0) 0
Chatham Town (0) 2 Walker 51 Pilbeam 85
Attendance: 224

Admission: £3 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 42/3,116

A Medway derby featuring a Chatham side that have made a good start in the SCEFL Premier brought an impressive attendance of 224, virtually double the number of any other match that I’ve watched at Star Meadow.

The first half of this Challenge Cup Second Round tie was a hard fought affair despite the pace of Matt Bodkin and Jon Pilbeam on both flanks producing a real threat for the Chats. What Bodkin is doing plying his trade at this level remains a mystery.

The visitors had the ball in the net after 16 minutes courtesy of Bodkin’s pace and cross but Paul Vines’ finish was ruled out for offside.

Chances for the Chats continued to arrive with Byron Walker firing at Shaun Wicks and also having another goal, once more ruled out.

Blair came back into the game in the last 10 minutes of the half with Caleb Bearman-Bryce and Jason Fregene firing over.

Chatham finally got onto the scoreboard six minutes into the second half when Walker got on the end of a cross from Pilbeam to concert with a tap in from close range.

Once Chatham got their noses in front it didn’t look likely they would offer Blair any route back into the game. Calvin Sedenu managed to test Dan Ellis in the Chats goal just the once whilst at the other end Vines and Walker had chances aplenty to wrap the game long before Pilbeam scored at the second attempt with five minutes to go.

Tonbridge Angels 1 Enfield Town 2

Match 47/18/1640 - Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 - Bostik Premier

Tonbridge Angels (0) 1 Turner 90+4
Enfield Town (1) 2 Blackman 44 Olomowewe 55
Attendance: 490

Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/3,074

When home form doesn’t match results on their travels, everyone, it seems, has a theory. Whilst those theories are not necessarily conspiratorial and some have more merit than others, every one loves their tuppeneth.

Some theories have lasted the test of time and I can remember them being trotted out at the Angel Ground such as the club doesn’t want promotion, it cannot afford it whilst others such as we suffer from a big game, big crowd syndrome can be researched statistically if you have the time and inclination (I haven’t!). One theory that gave me some thinking time is that our award-winning pitch is actually too good and benefits the likes of Bognor and, in this fixture, Enfield who are looking to play their opposition off the park rather than bludgeon them with a aerial barrage. Through the medium of twittersphere, manager Steve McKimm subscribes to a much simpler theory, if you don’t take your chances, you don’t win games and with the opportunities that went begging, you will be hard put to find a counter argument.

The big crowd syndrome was certainly put to the test as a bumper attendance, for a Tuesday evening, of 490 assembled for top versus third going into the game.

A cagey opening period was only highlighted by a good save, low to his left by Enfield goalkeeper, Joe Wright from Joe Turner before Enfield took on a period of dominance. Sam Youngs warmed the hands of Jonny Henly after 17 minutes and the goalkeeper followed this, a minute later with a good save to deny Lewis Taafe.

Having worked their way through that period, it was the home side’s turn to exert pressure with Wright doing well at his near post to repel a Turner effort and a good combination with Tommy Whitnell and Adem Ramadan saw the latter’s effort safely deflected into the hands of Wright.

The game swung to and fro, until a minute before the break the visitors went in front when both central defenders went for the same ball only for Sonny Miles to head it into the back of Arthur Lee’s head with the ball falling sweetly for Ryan Blackman to rifle it home from the edge of the area.

Ten minutes into the second period the task became ever harder for the Angels when an Enfield corner from the right was met with a late, unchallenged run into the box by Taofiq Olomowewe who powered a header past Henly.

On the hour, a Turner corner was headed goalwards by Miles but cleared from the line at the post and the resultant clearance saw Wright save well from Tommy Parkinson.

A cross from Parkinson from the head of Turner but it was directed wide and a Turner cross was headed in the same direction by Alex Read as Tonbridge sought a way back into the game.

With time running out and Tonbridge gambling on pushing bodies forward, Henly was forced to save at his near post from Aaron Greene and substitute Bandon Adams fired over.

Tonbridge gave themselves something of a lifeline in the fourth minute when a header across the face of goal from Parkinson was headed against a post by Read but from the rebound Turner lashed home a shot, that was to prove only a consolation.

Whatever the theory, despite the Angels remaining at the top of the tree, it is plan to see that the recent hiccups at home are undermining the superb away form.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

AFC Hornchurch 0 Tonbridge Angels 2

Match 46/18/1639 - Saturday, 20th October 2018 - Bostik Premier

AFC Hornchurch (0) 0
Tonbridge Angels (1) 2 Read 45 (pen),90+3
Attendance: 279
New ground: 329

Admission: £6
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 84/3,036

Country Roads have taken Tonbridge Angels home from five Bostik Premier League clubs, 510 miles, 450 minutes plus around 45 minutes of added time and their steadfast defence remains unbreached.

This was my first visit to AFC Hornchurch’s Bridge Avenue Stadium, and contrary to reports of it being a complete dump, I didn’t mind it as far as the facilities go. There was plenty of covered seating and standing accommodation but for those that like to stand behind the goals there is either none or you need binoculars to watch from the clubhouse terrace. It has to be agreed that viewing across the athletics track is far from perfect, especially in the second half when we watched Tonbridge attacking the clubhouse end from a diagonal slightly behind the corner flag. It did, however, turn out to be a handy position to see Alex Read’s exquisite volley to seal the points and an Angels triumph at Hornchurch for the first time ever. The pitch was strangely mown that left the grass relatively long and proved to be a difficult surface.

Hornchurch roared out of the traps, no doubt their ears stinging from a managerial reminder of their midweek 5-1 defeat by Lewes at the Stadium. Sean Marks brought a save out of Jonny Henly before the first minute had elapsed and ex-Angel George Purcell fired narrowly wide after 13 minutes. In between, Adem Ramadan had three efforts that each sailed over the bar, but at least each one got slightly lower.

Purcell shot against the bar after 16 minutes after being set up by Nana Boakye-Yiadom; a free kick from Brad Warner was wastefully headed wide by Kenzer Lee and Purcell once more tested Henly as Tonbridge struggled to find any momentum.

The game was into the last ten minutes of the first half before the visitors started to exert pressure on the Hornchurch goal. A good move involving Joe Turner and Ramadan set up Tommy Whitnell for a shot that was blocked by a defender and Turner supplied a pass for Read to shoot wide.

The breakthrough came on the stroke of half-time when a ball into the box from Jack Parter found Read who drew a clumsy challenge from Kenzer Lee that left the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Read dusted himself down to drive the spot kick into the corner which gave the correctly guessing Callum Chafer no chance.

The second half was as professional a performance as you would wish from your side on the road. The nature of the athletics stadium does not lend itself to being particularly atmospheric but as the home side became completely stifled any noise level was reduced to that of a library.

Chances for both sides were limited, the best of which came when Turner’s free kick was tipped over by Chafer.

Hornchurch’s Connor Hogan picked up a unnecessary booking when in a fit of frustration he kicked the ball into the hoarding after being penalised and following a poor challenge on Turner in the final minute he saw a second yellow.

Three minutes of time added had been played when substitute Jared Small galloped from deep in his own half down the right before sending in the perfect cross for Read to volley home at the far post.

Those Country Roads may be long and winding but, for now, they are paved with gold.

Picture below: Dave Couldridge

Friday, 19 October 2018

Tonbridge Angels Ladies 4 Sittingbourne Ladies 0

Match 45/18/1638 - Thursday, 18th October 2018 - Isthmian Ladies League Cup 1st Round

Tonbridge Angels Ladies (2) 4 Mackley 31 Janes 39,71 Walker 89
Sittingbourne Ladies (0) 0
Attendance: 75

Admission: £2
Programme: With Entrance
Mileage: 38/2,952

Tonbridge Angels Ladies comfortably eased their way into the Isthmian Women’s League Cup Second Round at Longmead against a spirited Sittingbourne side.

Sittingbourne play their football in the Division from which the Angels were promoted last season and, if they can maintain the tenacity displayed, they will do very well this season.

The East Kent side were forced onto the back foot from the first whistle but defended stoutly for 30 minutes before the Angels finally made the breakthrough.

The tone was set after eight minutes when Megan Akehurst headed over and, after 14 minutes, Becky Mackley brought the first save out of the Bourne’s keeper Emily Hariss.

The goalkeeper made a brave save at the feet of Becky Janes, who had the ball in the net after half-an-hour but saw it ruled out as the ball had gone out of play before the cross was made from the right.

The Angels finally got their noses in front a minute later when a ball over the top from Akehurst saw Mackley outpace the defender before coolly lobbing the advancing Hariss.

A second goal was added after 39 minutes when Janes produced a sublime finish at the near post to turn a right wing cross into the bottom corner.

Any thoughts of floodgates opening where dispelled as the visitors spirits remained high despite the pattern of play continuing to be in a single direction.

Once again Sittingbourne’s organisation led to a frustrating 25 minutes for the Angels with Hariss denying Kelly Moran and Akehurst and Lauryn Underhill fired into the side netting.

For a period, following some Sittingbourne substitutions, the visitors threatened but the experienced Tonbridge back line largely kept them at arm’s length.

Nineteen minutes remained when Janes shrugged off challenges in the box before rounding the keeper to slide the ball into the unguarded net to effectively put the game to bed.

Helena Fothergill needed to be alert after being largely unemployed for long periods to race from her goal and clear and she fielded an effort from Georgia Winger to preserve her clean sheet before Tonbridge substitute Sara Walker was on hand to finish after some battling work from Akehurst.

A very decent attendance of 75 would have been impressed with a solid Angels performance, full of pace and movement and will be keeping fingers crossed for a home draw in the next round.

Pictures: Dave Couldridge

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Ebbsfleet United Under-19 2 Tonbridge Angels Academy 2

Match 44/18/1637 - Wednesday, 17th October 2018 - National League Under-19 Alliance

Ebbsfleet United Under-19 (0) 2 Demontagnac 53 Edwards-Henry 76
Tonbridge Angels Academy (0) 2 Shirman 72 Lewis 76
Headcount: 3
Played at STC Sports Club, Welling Park FC
New Ground: 328

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 69/2,914

Tonbridge Angels Academy retained their unbeaten start to their League season with a hard fought point against Ebbsfleet United at STC Sports Club, Eltham, home of Kent County League Division Three, Welling Park that boasted a couple of brick built dug-outs, but very little else.

Tom Parkinson, with Jamie Coyle alongside him in the technical area, was light on numbers with five players unavailable through injury and effectively was only able to list one substitute.

The pitch was, in truth, a bit of a cabbage patch and difficult for both sides and the leaden skies had turned into an irritating drizzle. Tonbridge started the brighter with Jacob Lambert pulling a shot wide and Ned Lewis forcing Ebbsfleet goalkeeper, Omar Adam, into a save low to his left.

Lewis brought another save out of Adam and Zak Wolvey fired over as the Angels controlled the first half hour before the home side went close when a corner was allowed to travel to the far post from where Zaccharia Dainkhh shot into the side netting.

Joe Roberts was asked to make his first real contribution to the half in the final minute when he saved low to his left from Aruf Ahmed before the referee called time on a 45 minutes that the Angels had largely been in full control.

Parkinson was forced to use his sole fit substitute, Tom Hylton early into the second period when Joel Banks limped out of the action.

Ebbsfleet, probably responding to a few harsh words during the break, offered a great deal more going forward and after 53 minutes, a speculative shot from the impressive Dantai Demontagnac slipped through the grasp of Roberts to open the scoring.

The game opened out after the goal with chances falling to both sides, the Angels’ Lewis firing wide after being put through by Josh Stirman and, following a free kick floated into the box by Sam Slipper, Harry Hudson planted a header against the bar.

Lambert shot narrowly wide before the visitors drew level with a shot from outside of the box by Stirman that similarly slipped through the grasp of Adam after 72 minutes.

Tonbridge will be disappointed with themselves that following a corner of their own, the ball was punted forward with Dainkhh galloping away down the left to provide a tap-in for Darnell Edwards-Henry to restore Ebbsfleet’s lead after 76 minutes.

But the Angels roared back and were level just a minute later. Slipper floated in another free kick that this time was met by a powerful header from Harry Lewis to restore parity.

The heavy nature of the pitch, with the grass desperately in need of the sight of a mower, told on all the players in the final 10 minutes who were beginning to run on empty and neither side had quite the energy to craft a winner.

Tom Parkinson said after the game that he couldn’t have asked more from his team in terms of effort but had been disappointed with the decision making that led to the two goals conceded.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Tonbridge Angels 1 Bognor Regis Town 2

Match 43/18/1636 - Saturday, 13th October 2018 - Bostik Premier

Tonbridge Angels (0) 1 Read 67
Bognor Regis Town (0) 2 Lethbridge 51 Walsh 90
Attendance: 814

Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/2,845

Non-League Day at Tonbridge probably exceeded expectations with an impressive 814 through the gate. The bumper attendance was rewarded with a high quality game that anyone who had ventured into this level for the first time in the absence of the Premier League’s glitterati would surely have thought their £5 was well spent.

The home fans would have perhaps felt a sense of injustice that a reckless challenge that took their goalkeeper from the field leaving them with a substitute custodian with a history that was duly repeated.

Whilst that was the defining moment in the game, the majority of the home support would have recognised that Bognor were excellent and probably deserved the points whilst appreciating that their own favourites had worked tirelessly to fight their way back into the game.

Tonbridge roared out of the traps and good wing back play from James Folkes ended with Adem Ramadan firing over with just 30 seconds on the clock.

Jared Small fired wide before Bognor found their feet with their short passing game opening up the Angels defence. Joe Tomlinson and Doug Tuck combined well, creating chances for Mason Walsh whilst Bradley Lethbridge curled a shot wide of the far past followed by Jimmy Muitt and Harvey Whyte firing over.

Tonbridge struggled to regain their opening momentum but slowly the game evened out with a determined run from Alex Read ending with a shot over and two fine passes from Small to Turner and on to Read carved Bognor open but the striker fired wide.

A rush of madness from Bognor ‘keeper Dan Lincoln allowed Small a distant shot into an empty net as chances fell one after the other to both sides who were similarly afflicted with wayward shooting.

After 51 minutes a defensive mix-up saw Sonny Miles allow Lethbridge cut in from the left to bury his unexpected opportunity to give the visitors the lead.

Bognor further grew in confidence with Lethbridge guilty of dragging a couple of chances wide and it appeared a tall order for the Angels to find a way back into the game. But Ramadan, who had a sparkling game, cut in from the right with his shot-cum-cross rebounding to Read who made no mistake from around 12 yards.

A point apiece would probably have been seen as a good result from both sides point of view but the game turned on 78 minutes when the challenge from Whyte caught Henly earning him a yellow card that many from a closer vantage point thought deserved greater punishment. After a long delay, Henly was unable to continue and needed to be stretchered from the pitch.

Tonbridge supporters misgivings about their substitute goalkeeper, unfortunately proved well founded when in the 90th minute a 25 yard shot from Walsh, hardly carrying much venom, found its way past him to the delight of the large travelling contingent and the exasperation of the rest of Longmead.

In the eight minutes of added time, Tonbridge substitute Liam King saw an effort blocked and Read fired tamely at the keeper.

This was a great advert for the Bostik Premier and worth £5 of anybody’s money (as long as they entered the ground before 2.15pm), but Tonbridge’s supporters will only feel frustration whatever price they paid.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Tonbridge Angels 3 Sevenoaks Town 0

Match 42/18/1635 - Tuesday, 9th October 2018 - Velocity Cup 1st Round

Tonbridge Angels (0) 3 Richards 38,55 Read 90+1
Sevenoaks Town (0) 0
Attendance: 206

Admission: £7 Senior
Programme: £1
Mileage: 38/2,807

The First Round of the Isthmian League Cup, Velocity Trophy in commercial speak, threw up a local derby and a competitive match against Sevenoaks Town for the first time.

Strangely for a game that produced two red cards, if the game had the bite of a local derby then Sevenoaks could have been a banana skin waiting to happen but the home side controlled the game and emerged very comfortable winners.

A scrummage in front of goal led to a corner for Tonbridge from which a shot struck the post. Sevenoaks replied after 15 minutes with a shot from Michael Dalton that was well saved, low to his left, by Jonny Henly.

That proved to be Sevenoaks sole flourish in the first period but it took until the 38th minute before Tonbridge finally broke the deadlock. Tom Parkinson’s cross was collected by Jared Small who set up Jack Richards to score from close range.

Two reckless challenges, far too close together in terms of time elapsed, saw successive yellows for Wasiri Williams to make the lonely walk to the dressing room a couple of minutes before anyone else.

Tonbridge came out for the second half, hot themselves onto the front foot and were never under any threat. Ten minutes into the half they doubled their advantage when Richards rose one challenge to drive home a shot between Ben Bridle-Card and his near post.

Two-up and a man advantage, Tonbridge were able to play with a freedom that created chances to be spurned. Small drove a ball across the face of the goal that begged a touch and sent a header wide. Bridle-Card was just about equal to an audacious lob from Turner before, in the 65th minute, Liam King replicated Williams’ act of the first half launching into two unnecessary challenges within a couple of minutes of each other and saw red as a result of two yellows.

Despite parity of the playing staff, nothing changed in the direction of play with chances aplenty for the Angels.

Finally, with a minute left on the clock, Sevenoaks did force Henly into action with a double save. But this was the prelude to an added-time third when two substitutes, Adem Ramadan and Alex Read combined for the latter to have a tap-in at the far post.

So it was into the second round of the Velocity Trophy and the professionals will point to a job done and look forward to the next round. From a supporter’s point of view, a tie at Worthing on a Tuesday evening leaves you questioning whether there was actually any reward.

Pictures: Dave Couldridge

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Tonbridge Angels 2 Potters Bar Town 1

Match 41/18/1634 - Saturday, 6th October 2018 - Bostik Premier

Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Parkinson 47 Turner 72
Potters Bar Town (0) 1 Casey 49
Attendance: 393

Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/2,769

The first half of this game was as dank as the weather that probably took around a hundred off the gate with those that had braved the elements deserting their usual positions in the open to take refuge under cover.

At 20 minutes thoughts had been that this has been a little dull with very little happening. By 40 minutes the game was edging towards tedious and at 45 minutes the half-time whistle was more than welcome.

Potters Bar’s goalkeeper, Berkley Laurencin saved well from Jack Richards and in time-added Bradley Sach just about dirtied the gloves of Jonny Henly.

The game begged a goal and it duly arrived for the home side in the first minute of the second half. A free kick from Joe Turner was met at the far post, headed back across the face for Tom Parkinson to score.

Potters Bar’s response was immediate with a free kick from Keegan Cole that rebounded back off the wall to the taker whose second attempt was driven against the underside of the bar for Eoin Casey to nod home from no more than a yard.

The visitors tails were briefly up and Dernell Wynter fired over but from the hour mark Tonbridge took the ascendancy with Turner very much to the fore. He tested Laurencin and after 70 minutes had a trio of shots that the Scholar’s defence managed to block. But Turner was not to be denied and three minutes later he powered through the centre of the defence before rifling in a shot that gave the goalkeeper no chance.

A wonderful move involving substitutes Jared Small and Liam King ended with Turner firing over before Potters Bar’s Sean Grace somewhat harshly saw red for a challenge when King was sent clear.

Two defeats had nowhere near represented a downturn in form but getting back to winning ways was welcome.

Dulwich Hamlet U18 2 Tonbridge Angels U18 1

Match 40/18/1633 - Thursday, 3rd October 2018 - FA Youth Cup 2QR

Dulwich Hamlet U18 (1) 2 Salvatierra 10 Adeniran 72
Tonbridge Angels (0) 1 Snowden-Lewis 71
Headcount: 50

Admission: £1 Senior
Programme: None
Mileage: 110/2,731

If ever proof was needed that goalkeeping is the loneliest place on a football pitch then a perfect illustration came in the shape of Tonbridge’s young custodian, Joe Roberts.

In this FA Youth Cup tie, Roberts had been truly superb with breathtaking saves that had single-handedly kept the Angels in the game especially in a first half that had been relentlessly dominated by the hosts, Dulwich Hamlet.

But, less than a minute after Tonbridge had found their way back into the game with a 71st minute equaliser from Ned Snowdon-Lewis, Roberts made a mistake that he will make just the once in his entire career.

From the restart, Dulwich worked the ball through to Henry Adeniran who was through one-on-one with Roberts. From point-blank range the Dulwich striker’s shot was smothered at his feet and Roberts had saved the day once more. Adeniran hurdled the prostrate goalkeeper, who rose to his feet and looked to set the visitors forward. He dropped the ball to the ground to kick it forward completely unaware of Adeniran’s presence behind him and to everyone’s horror he nipped in from behind to collect the ball and roll it into the unguarded goal. I can remember a famous incident involving Rob Green, but I’ve never seen it happen before in a live game. It was a harsh lesson for a young goalkeeper to learn but looking over their shoulders has become commonplace since the Green incident and I’m not guessing that it is something that the young man will be doing game in, game out for the rest of his career.

Tonbridge spent the first period pressed back and struggling to get any forward momentum although they did have the ball in the net after 10 minutes only for it to be chalked off for a very marginal offside.

Immediately after, Roberts was called into action, brilliantly tipping over an effort from Tyrell Tayo. But, from the resultant corner, the ball was only half-cleared to Breno Carmago Salvatierra who struck clinically from 12 yards.

Tonbridge’s rearguard was being asked bravely stick bodies on the line which they did, but when Dulwich broke through the lines they found Roberts, or the woodwork, in their path. The goalkeeper saved well low to his left to deny Jargal Enkh quickly followed by a shot that struck a post.

Roberts excelled from Salvatierra and Enkh, who were both very impressive for Dulwich as the Angels were mightily relieved to get to the break just the goal adrift.

Tom Parkinson’s words after the match suggested that his side had paid their hosts too much respect in the first period and they with those words his young charges came out to make a serious game of it with the addition of the returning Josh Stirman.

Snowdon-Lewis saw a shot deflected safely into the Dulwich keeper’s hands and also had another goal disallowed for offside but this was not before Salvatierra once more rattled the woodwork from 25 yards.

Tonbridge’s moment arrived after 71 minutes when, following a Stirman cross, the ball was looped up for Snowden-Lewis to send a header over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Much credit should go to both the Angels team as a whole and Roberts in particular for putting that moment behind him, going on to make further saves whilst caution was thrown to the wind in search of an equaliser. Saul Musengey fired over, a header from Harry Hudson suffered the same outcome and with the final kick, Snowdon-Lewis’ effort sailed in the same direction.

Ultimately, you need the bluest of tinted glasses to claim anything other than a deserved Dulwich win but it would have been more appropriate for it to have been settled by a worldie.

Rusthall 1 Corinthian 3

Match 39/18/1632 - Wednesday, 2nd October 2018 - SCEFL

Rusthall (0) 1
Corinthian (1) 3 Clover 20 Tanner 37,50
Attendance: 98

Admission: £4 Senior
Programme: None
Mileage: 38/2,621

The season is still in its early stages but it already appears that next season’s local derby between Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells could be in SCEFL Division One unless there is an upsurge of form before it is too late. Admittedly, pointless Croydon are at present the favourites to occupy one of the relegation spots.

Rusthall came into the game, in the bottom two, with just the four points from their nine games but with a vastly inferior goal difference than their neighbours.

On a chilly evening, visitors Corinthian started on the front foot with Rusthall’s stand-in goalkeeper Jake Cornish turning over an fifth minute effort from Charlie Clover.

Cornish was required to make further saves from Connor Johnson before a soft free kick was floated into the box for Johnson to touch in.

Corinthian went on to dominate the half with chances to increase their lead arriving at regular intervals. Oscar Housego fired into the side netting and stretched Cornish into a good stop, low to his left.

It took all of 37 minutes before a tame header managed to dirty the Corinthian goalkeeper’s hands. But within a minute, Corinthian doubled their advantage when a low cross from Johnson was swept home by Luke Tanner from close range.

The game was put beyond Rusthall when a stroke of misfortune saw an attempted clearance strike Tanner and rebound into the net.

The game became ridiculously one-sided with Rusthall only surviving a heavy defeat by the wastefulness of their visitors.

Eventually, with the referee playing just a single minute of time added (as he had done in the first half), Rusthall struck from the right side of the box to give the scoreline some respectability.

Bearsted 3 Tunbridge Wells 2

Match 38/18/1631 - Tuesday, 2nd October 2018 - SCEFL

Bearsted (1) 3 Collins 11 Garner 70 Baranowski 90
Tunbridge Wells (1) 2 Beecroft 27 Diau 52
Attendance: 86

Admission: £4 Senior
Programme: With Entrance
Mileage: 15/2,583

Tunbridge Wells fielded their rash of new signings and produced a better performance but, ultimately departed Bearsted without any points. There has been an influx of four new players, some well known to supporters, Lewis Mingle, Rhys Bartlett and new faces Tom Pearson and Brandon Diau. Whilst Diau opened his account with a goal, Bartlett and Pearson suffered injuries and didn’t last the evening.

Diau is an archetypical big target man that does encourage a one-dimensional long ball game that has its obvious positives but, for me, it negates the influence of the best player in a Tunbridge Wells shirt, Jake Beecroft.

Despite a bright opening from the visitors it was Bearsted that opened the scoring after 11 minutes. Lucien Scarlat was sent clear but was brilliantly denied twice by Cameron Hall only for the ball to fall to Reece Collins to score.

Tunbridge Wells responded to the setback and equalised on 26 minutes when a free kick conceded centrally was superbly converted by Beecroft whose curled effort could only be helped into the net by goalkeeper, Scott Andrews.

Bartlett, who had looked inhibited by an injury from the opening minutes, finally called an end to his evening following the goal.

Hall was once more called into action making a great save at the feet of Constantin Scarlat with the rebound being cleared from the line by Alexx Kendall.

A minor bout of handbags brought a couple of bookings with the referee quickly turning it into a rash issuing another three before the break.

The Wells were quickly on the ascendancy in the second period. After six minutes, a flowing move involving Beecroft and substitute Tresperderne whose cross from the left exacted all the rewards of the big man up front as Diau was able to nod the cross home from close range without barely jumping.

Bearsted were stung into a response and efforts from Jonathan Rogers, Collins and Cameron Croucher were dealt with by Hall.

Pearson, who had an electrifying start to the game with his pace exposing the right hand side departed the scene having taken a heavy knock before Diau might have put the game to bed heading wide from Tresperderne’s cross.

This was to prove costly as, after 67 minutes, a cross into a goalkeeper’s corridor of uncertainty, travelled to Matt Garner at the far point who applied the finish.

The last 20 minutes became backs to the wall stuff for the Wells with Bearsted substitute, David Borowski missing a sitter before five minutes from the end he got onto a right sided cross to score.

It was one of those games whereby if you are at the right end of the table, you scratch out a result of some sort but at the bottom you don’t. Whether the Wells deserved anything, is open to debate.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Shrewsbury Town 2 Gillingham 2

Match 37/18/1630 - Saturday, 29th September 2018 - League One

Shrewsbury Town (0) 2 Angol 59 Norburn 89
Gillingham (1) 2 Hanlon 17 Eaves 90+3
Attendance: 5,695

Admission: £15 Senior
Programme: £3
Mileage: 448/2,568

A family history trip took us on to a rare Gillingham away day and, in terms of satisfaction, the genealogy aspect of the trip bore the greatest fruit.

A late, very late, strike from Tom Eaves brought Gillingham a welcome point and, whilst not banishing it at least diminished from the memory our last visit to Shrewsbury, a 7-1 defeat.

The game started late after the linesman discovered a hole in the net of the goal behind which we were seated and suffered further delays with lengthy injuries to Gillingham goalkeeper, Tomas Holy and defender Gabriel Zakuani. The second half was also delayed as Holy slowly emerged from the tunnel with his head swathed in a heavy bandage. Given the quality of the game, one began to despair at ever getting out of the place.

Brandon Hanlon managed to give the small travelling support something to cheer when he bundled the ball home after the Shrewsbury goalkeeper, Joel Coleman failed to hold Max Ehmer's initial effort. But, in truth, the quality of the first half was woeful from both sides.

Shrewsbury put the pressure on at the start of the second half, constantly attacking down Gills’ left flank, and that’s where a deserved equaliser came from after 59 minutes. Ollie Norburn’s cross found its way to Angol who spun and curled the ball beyond Holy from inside the box.

Shrewsbury thought they had won it when Norburn turned home a cross from substitute Alex Gilliead on 87 minutes but moments later the Gills levelled, when Eaves shrugged off a defender and fired home low past the keeper.

Through locked gates, a peep at Newcastle Town