Sunday, 29 December 2019

Dartford 3 Tonbridge 0

Match 59/19/1781 - Saturday, 28th December 2019 - National South

Dartford (1) 3 McQueen 27 Romain 68 Sheringham 90+3
Tonbridge Angels (0) 0
Attendance: 1,239

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 64/4,614

Since the start of the season and a narrow defeat at home to Dulwich, I and many others have made the comment that nobody has really turned Tonbridge over, unfortunately that comment is no more, Dartford well and truly turned us over.

Dartford fielded a side that showed just one player from that Tuesday evening in early September when the Angels 3-2 victory ended the reign of Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan at Princes Park. That Dartford side were a shambles, this one was one, if not the, best sides we have played this season.

Tonbridge were on the back foot from the outset with Jack Parter clearing Elliott Romain’s header from the line after five minutes.

Dartford continued to hold the momentum with a penalty claim after Darren McQueen had been brought down. Meanwhile, Tonbridge were literally barely getting out of their own half, let alone threatening the home goal.

The opening goal, that had been a long time coming, was scored after 27 minutes when a long ball over the top was seized upon by Tyrique Hyde whose initial effort was blocked but the rebound fell for McQueen to fire into the roof of the net.

The one-way traffic continued and a clearance from the line was once more required to deny Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong.

After 41 minutes, Tonbridge finally registered a shot on target, albeit that Jared Small’s effort was little more than fielding practice for the Darts’ goalkeeper, Alhaji Sesay.

A minute later, Dartford struck the post when Romain’s low shot stayed out after hitting the inside of the woodwork and rebounding across the face of the goal. Tonbridge were somehow still in the game at half-time with a single goal deficit with both sets of supporters wondering how.

With, what could only have been a half-time rollicking from Steve McKimm ringing in their ears, Tonbridge came out and, for a 20 minute period, looked to be competitive and threatening with Small actually bringing a meaningful save out of Sesay with a couple of minutes gone.

The game was quite end-to-end and hopes were beginning to rise but these came crashng to earth when Romain was allowed to run with the ball before unleashing a fierce 25-yarder into the bottom corner to double Dartford’s advantage.

That was probably it and it took the sting out of the game as Dartford easily contained any threat from their visitors and seemed content with what they had. But a curious incident with a couple of minutes remaining might well have set up a grandstand finish. A seemingly innocuous challenge from Khale Da Costa on Sesay sparked a melee in which the Dartford central defender Josh Hill push a Tonbridge player to the ground with the referee brandishing a red card in his direction in lightening fashion. Tonbridge contended that the offence should result in a penalty but the referee gave a free kick to Dartford for the initial offence from which he appeared to have played on.

With Tonbridge throwing Sonny Miles forward in search of a consolation, a right wing surge from Luke Wanadio ended with a pull back from the bye-line offering Charlie Sheringham a tap-in for Dartford’s third. Sheringham and Wanadio coming off the bench really highlighted the differences in resources between the clubs.

After the Boxing Day postponement of the derby day fixture against Maidstone United and this defeat, it has not been a Christmas to remember for the Angels.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Tonbridge Angels 1

Match 58/19/1780 - Saturday, 21st December 2019 - National South

Hemel Hempstead Town (0) 1 Muir 90+3
Tonbridge Angels (0) 1 Turner
Attendance: 424
New Ground: 339

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 186/4,550

Angels Boss, Steve McKimm refused to be downbeat after the game despite the fact he had seen his side concede a stoppage time equaliser that denied the Kent side two precious points in their quest to climb away from the lower reaches of National South.

“I’m proud of the performance the boys gave today against a side full of experience. I know people will say we haven’t won away from home yet this season, but I don’t want our players to get hung up on that, the fact is we are picking up points away from home and whether that comes through draws or wins the points will stack up. I’m sure the majority of our supporters ,who I must say were again fantastic today, will have left very pleased with what they have seen from their team.”

Not for the first time this campaign, McKimm was forced to re-calibrate his squad to take account of injuries. Although Jack Parter was able to resume normal duties at left back the absence of Christ Tiehi meant that Alex Bentley was moved to the holding midfield position while Jason Williams became the lone striker replacing the injured Tom Derry. Jarrod Small took over right wing duties from Khale Da Costa who was another on the injured list. The unwell Harry Donovan although named on the bench was only able to participate in the final moments of the game. To sum up the bench consisted of one substitute goalkeeper Ted McDonald, one new signee Jayden Antwi-Nyame, an unwell Donovan and the injured Da Costa.

Despite this, the Angels went toe to toe with a high riding Hemel Hempstead and came within a minute of nicking all the points which given the circumstances would have been some achievement.

Not surprisingly The Tudors made most of the running during the early stages with Craig Bramham-Barrett particularly prominent down the left flank with Jake Howells pulling the strings in midfield. The Angels defence was forced to keep their concentration but led by skipper Sonny Miles with Alex Bentley doing some sterling work just in front of the back line. The times that Hemel Hempstead did manage to pierce the Tonbridge rearguard, they found keeper Jonny Henly in excellent form with top drawer saves in the 35th and 44th Minutes.

There were few moments for Tonbridge up front despite the unselfish work from striker Jason Williams. In the 34th minute Jarrod Small made a searing run down the right flank and turned along the bye line but his short cross was somehow cut out by a Hemel Hempstead defender for a corner.

The second period saw an improvement in the game with a more open style of play from both sides and from Angels in particular who gave notice that they were not simply there to make up the numbers. In the very first minute of the second half a piece of miss communication between a Hemel Hempstead defender and the goalkeeper let in Small but the winger’s angle was too tight and the shot hit the side netting.

The hosts thought they had scored in the 49th minute but the whistle had gone for a foul. They did however force another good save from Henly a minute later.

On 53 minutes, Williams saw his shot blocked on the line after good work from D’Sean Theobalds and Joe Turner and you sensed that Angels were starting to believe they could get something from the game. Just a minute later Jack Parter put through Turner, the winger made the space for the shot but it lacked genuine power. It was however simply a prelude to what was to follow when in the 70th minute again fed by Parter the winger hit an unstoppable piledriver into the top right hand corner of the Tudors net.

Inevitably there was to be a response from Hemel Hempstead and it needed a saving tackle from Bentley in the 83rd minute. However it was to be Tonbridge who were creating the clearer chances with a couple of efforts inches wide from Greenhalgh and a shot from Theobalds

As the game entered stoppage time it seemed as if the Angels would be celebrating that first away win but in a mad couple of minutes with goalkeeper Sam Beasant going up for the final set piece somehow Niko Muir forced the ball over the line despite Henly claiming he was held. In truth it was difficult for the referee to see through all the many players in the goal area.

Ravensbourne 2 Hugh Christie 0

Match 57/19/1779 - Wednesday, 18th December 2019 - Academies Championship North

Ravensbourne (1) 2
Hugh Christie (0) 0
Headcount: 20

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 70/4,364

If Rhys Bartlett could wish for anything for his Development squad it would be that Santa Claus delivers them a package of self-belief. In their last game of the year at Bromley’s Hayes Lane they were the equals of their hosts but came away with a 2-0 defeat in a competitive game. On occasions this squad beat themselves before they start and if they had just a little more faith in their own ability they would be winning games like this one but goalkeeper Josh Watfa at least had the satisfaction of backing up his first clean sheet of the season last week with a fine penalty save.

Tonbridge Angels 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2

Match 56/19/1778 - Saturday, 14th December 2019 - FA Trophy First Round

Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Theobalds 90 (pen) Brown (o.g.) 90+4
Hampton & Richmond Borough (2) 2 Orsi-Dadomo 5 Ahmidi 36
Attendance: 412

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/4,294

For the second week in succession Angels managed to recover from a two goal deficit to get something from the game, although this time they left it perilously late.

The two National South sides will have to do it all over again on Tuesday evening following dramatic late goals from the home side after it looked as if they were about to depart the competition

It was Angels with most of the chances in the first period but Hampton who reached the break two goals to the good. The visitors started strongly and with the home defence seemingly bewildered it was no surprise when Danilo Orsi-Dadomo game the Beavers the lead with just five minutes on the clock.

The goal woke up Tonbridge from their apathy and they proceeded to create a number of chances with Khale Da Costa, Joe Turner and Tom Derry all going close. Despite that it was the clinical Beavers who went further ahead in the 36th minute following a mistake on the Tonbridge back line with Wadah Ahmedi the grateful recipient.

With the pitch becoming heavier the quality of football declined and chances were few and far between but that played into Hampton’s hands and they appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win.

As time ran out Sonny Miles went up top and with Jarrod Small on one flank and Da Costa on the other the crosses stared to come in and the HMpton defence was becoming stretched.

With 90 minutes on the clock time was running out for the home side when Rian Bray was fouled in the area and D’Sean Theobalds made no mistake with the spot kick. Two minutes later after huge pressure on the Hampton goal, Alex Bentley got the final touch with the help of a slight deflection for that dramatic last gasp equaliser.

Afterwards Angels Boss Steve McKimm said : “At times it wasn’t the best of performances but I have to give the players great credit for never giving up. We’re in Monday’s draw and we’ve earned another chance.”

Hugh Christie 1 Abbey School 3

Match 55/19/1777 - Wednesday, 11th December 2019 - Academies League Cup

Hugh Christie (0) 1
Abbey School (0) 3
Headcount: 8

Admission: Free
Programme: Free
Mileage: 32/4,256

In the absence of an Elite fixture, the Development 1 side took centre stage with an Academies League Cup Quarter-Final against Dover Athletic. With neither side senior team’s playing, both drafted in players, but it was the Crabble-based side that proved the stronger running out 3-1 winners. Josh Reed scoring the home side’s goal.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Tonbridge Angels 3 Billericay Town 2

Match 54/19/1776 - Saturday, 7th December 2019 - National South

Tonbridge Angels (0) 3 Da Costa 49,67 Derry 51
Billericay Town (2) 2 Akinwande 7 Alfa 17
Attendance: 557

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/4,224

It was in every sense a game of two halves. At the break the Angels looked down and out trailing by two goals but the second period saw the home side score three times to take all the points.

Despite a bright start for the Angels using the width of the pitch well, it was Billericay who were to take the lead in the 7th minute with a fine individual goal Femi Akinwande. He cut in from the right wing made the space and fired past Jonny Henly in the Home goal.

Ten minutes later it was to get even better for the visitors when Odysseus Alfa who was not closed down put in an unstoppable 25 yarder that flew into the top right hand corner of the goal.

By now it was all Billericay forcing Henly into a series of fine saves, the only downside for the visitors, being the sight of Callum Kennedy being stretchered off following a nasty looking injury.

The game was quite literally turned on its head in the second period. On 49 minutes Khale Da Costa’s free kick seemed to deceive the Billericay defence, went straight into the goal and Tonbridge were on the way back. Two minutes later a Ben Greenhalgh Cross was converted by Tom Derry for the equaliser.

On 67 minutes the home side were ahead when Joe Turner’s Cross from the left was fired in by Da Costa for his second. There were no further goals but chances fell for both sides to keep the crowd on their toes.

The Angels will be delighted with this win and why not. To come back from two goals down against a side with experienced players is no mean feat and they did it in some style making their visitors look at times very much the underdogs. There were good performances right across the squad, Jonny with his first half saves without which there wouldn’t have been a contest, the two centre backs Sonny and Rian, the central midfield duo of Christ and Harry and the ever dangerous Da Costaaaa.

Afterwards, Steve McKimm said : “After Tuesday evening’s disappointing 2nd half performance, my players knew what was expected of them and they certainly delivered.”

North Kent College 4 Hugh Christie 1

Match 53/19/1775 - Wednesday, 4th December 2019 - Academies Championship

North Kent College (4) 4
Hugh Christie (1) 1
Headcount: 20

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 66/4,252

Development Squad Two went down at league leaders North Kent College. It was a disappointing performance from Rhys Bartlett’s squad who knew they were going to be in for a tough game but lacked the self belief, especially in the first half, to make a contest of the match. Rhys’ side has made massive strides in the couple of months since the season’s start but they have to stop beating themselves in their own minds before the game starts.

Hungerford Town 1 Tonbridge 0

Match 52/19/1774 - Tuesday, 3rd December 2019 - National South

Hungerford Town (0) 1 Johnson-Schuster 63
Tonbridge Angels (0) 0
Attendance: 191
New Ground: 338

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2
Mileage: 230/4,186

The sight of Angels Boss, Steve McKimm coming straight over to the away supporters at the final whistle and apologizing to everyone individually for an inept performance by his side tells you everything you need to know about this game.

A very ordinary first half performance with the home side having the advantage of the slope saw the Angels protecting their goal reasonably well and restricting the Crusaders to only one really decent chance. That came at in the 43rd minute when Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly flapped at a cross coming in but redeemed himself at the second attempt as Marcus Johnson-Schuster couldn't quite get enough on the ball to force it home.

For Tonbridge, a mistake on the Hungerford back line let in Jason Williams on 17 minutes but defenders recovered quickly, he was driven wide and the chance was gone. A minute later a good interception by Christ Tiehi and with a penetrating run the shot was on target but fairly easy for Josh Bradley-Hurst. On the half hour mark Joe Turner was able to cut in from the left wing and although he managed to create some space the resultant effort was well wide.

With honours even at the break and the slope in their favour, Angels supporters as they warmed their hands over a warm cup of tea on a cold night in West Berkshire were looking forward to the team taking the game to their hosts for those precious three points that would have put them above Dulwich Hamlet. Instead they were forced to watch a most inept display as Hungerford Town showed far more enterprise making light work of the slope. Only Henly who made two or three crucial saves to keep the scoreline respectable and midfield substitute Harry Donovan could come out with any genuine honours, as the men in blue simply failed to impose themselves on the game at virtually any stage during that second period.

There was just one passage of play as the match was nearing its end when the Angels suddenly realized things were slipping away from them. A decent run by substitute Khale Da Costa and with help from Donovan the ball was cut back to Ben Greenhalgh in a perfect unmarked position in front of goal. The shot came in on target but a desperate defenders leg got in the way and the ball went out for the corner. There were to be no more scares for Hungerford as they saw out the remaining few minutes in relative comfort.

As far as the winning goal was concerned a somewhat innocuous cross from the Hungerford left was simply not dealt with by any Angels defenders and with it marking also went out of the window. Up stole Johnson-Schuster with the freedom of the park at his disposal to place a well struck shot past Henly in the 61st minute.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Gillingham 3 Doncaster Rovers 0

Match 51/19/1773 - Sunday, 1st December 2019 - FA Cup 2R

Gillingham (2) 3 Byrne 11 Lee 15 Hanlan 68
Doncaster Rovers (0) 0
Attendance: 3,216

Admission: £11 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 38/3,956

Slough Town 0 Tonbridge Angels 0

Match 50/19/1772 - Saturday, 30th November 2019 - National South

Slough Town (0) 0
Tonbridge Angels (0) 0
Attendance: 771

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 163/3,918

Any neutrals walking away from Arbour Park would probably have been making comments along the lines of a poor advert for National South or a game devoid of goalmouth action. Not suffering from neutrality, I can afford to bask in the light of a point hard won against a team riding on the crest of a wave of great form.

For the vast majority of Tonbridge supporters this would have been their first visit to Slough Town’s impressive facility. I had the pleasure of visiting last season when with Gillingham fans packed into an un-terraced corner it wasn’t quite so comfortable. But on a League Saturday and able to see behind the scenes, it really is something to aspire too and there is so much more that can be done to expand further.

Tonbridge needed to get onto the front foot from the outset and not let the hosts obvious confidence grow and Jared Small’s outpacing of his marker and a corner headed over from Rhian Bray was a warning that the Angels were not in Berkshire just to make up the numbers.

Slough did though pick up the momentum but although they largely dominated the first half, Jonny Henly was only brought into action on a couple of occasions, one of which after 31 minutes being a good save from Max Worsfold.

The second period saw a greater level of action in both final thirds that made it a much more enjoyable spectacle with Tonbridge having more than their fair share of the game.

After 57 minutes, Francis Amartey had a great chance for Slough but shot narrowly wider, but Tonbridge responded a minute later when D’Sean Theobalds and Tom Derry linking well before the striker missed at the near post.

Three minutes later the Angels were denied an even better chance when the backside of a Slough defender managed to deflect the ball wide as Ben Greenhalgh shot from close range.

Henly made a good save at his near post to thwart Amartey whilst a Sonny Miles header was over and Turner’s header was shuffled to safety.

At the finish, to a man, players and management, personally thanked the Angels’ support who were obviously delighted with the point. Football was never meant to be a game of neutrality.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Tonbridge Angels 2 Bognor Regis Town 1

Match 49/19/1771 - Saturday, 23rd November 2019 - FA Trophy 3QR

Tonbridge Angels (1) 2 Turner 44 Derry 62
Bognor Regis Town (0) 1 Crane 83 (pen)
Attendance: 456

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/3,755

One round hardly constitutes a Cup run, but given Tonbridge Angels recent history in FA competitions, it’s about as good as it gets!

Bognor Regis Town came to Longmead on a fine run of Isthmian League form leaving one sensing that this was not even the proverbial banana skin, more so an almost predictable upset.

Steve McKimm was forced to make changes from last week’s win against St Albans with Jason Williams cup-tied and Ben Greenhalgh refused permission to play by Dartford.

Bognor started with the confidence of a side borne of their good run with Tommy Leigh shooting wide in the opening minutes and Bradley Letheridge posting a threat. This continued for the first 20 minutes before the Angels had their first chance with Joe Turner firing marginally wide.

But that Turner effort was no deterrent to Bognor’s forward momentum and, after 29 minutes, Jonny Henly saved well from Josh Flint with Mason Walsh firing over the loose ball.

A quickly worked free kick that saw Tonbridge sleeping allowed Harvey Whyte to set up Dan Smith but his shot was wide.

So it was against the run of play when the home side went ahead a minute before the break when a Jared Small cross from the right was met at the far post by Turner who finished well.

Henly was brought into action once more after three minutes of the second period saving a James Crane header before Tonbridge enjoyed their best period in the game. Rhian Bray put a header from a corner wide and Khale Da Costa had an effort deflected over. On the hour, Jack Parter saw his effort brilliantly touched over the bar by the visiting goalkeeper, Amadou Tangara.

Tonbridge doubled their advantage when a superbly worked move ended with highly impressive Christ Tiehi brushing off a challenge to put in a killing cross for Tom Derry to slide in a the far post and convert.

Tonbridge were now dominating, but as is their want, they gave their supporters a nervous last ten minutes when Bray gave away a penalty for holding with Crane converting from the spot.

Thankfully, a perhaps encouragingly, the home side managed the game out despite breath being held as a final minute free kick from Flint was safely directed into the hands of Henly.

All cup runs start somewhere, we can but hope!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Worthing 1 Tonbridge Angels 2

Match 48/19/1770 - Wednesday, 20th November 2019 - National Academies Alliance

Worthing (0) 1 Merrydrew 59
Tonbridge Angels (1) 2 Lewis 28,88 (pen)
Headcount: 25

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 130/3,717

Tonbridge Angels’ Academy maintained their three point lead at the top of the National League Under-19 Alliance when a penalty, two minutes from time, sealed victory at Worthing.

At a bitterly cold Woodside Road, two unbeaten sides went head-to-head and produced a game that successful distracted attention away from Jack Frost nibbling at the toes.

The Angels began the first half on the front foot and their ascendancy was to last throughout the opening 45 minutes. Two early free kicks from Ben Twist saw one blocked and the second headed over by Harry Hudson. Ned Lewis brought saves from the home goalkeeper and it was fully 20 minutes before Worthing mounted an attack of any substance bringing comfortable saves from Charlie Martin.

Two efforts in two minutes from Lewis narrowly went the wrong side of the right hand post before, after 28 minutes, Lewis linked with Saul Musengeyi before giving himself a touch to line-up a shot into the top corner from 20 yards.

Tonbridge’s domination of the first half should have brought greater rewards but chances came and went, including a thrilling run from Sam Babayale that parted the Worthing back line but the full back dragged his shot wide.

The time in the dressing room brought a shift in momentum with the home side working hard to get themselves back into the game. A header in the first minute was comfortable for Martin but, after 58 minutes, he could only watch on as a great chance went begging with a shot screwed wide.

But the reprieve was only to last a minute when an uncharacteristic error from captain Hudson saw him robbed as he tried to shepherd the ball over the bye-line by Jack Merrydrew whose shot found the bottom corner.

The goal was the wake-up call with the Angels regaining the upper hand. From a Babayale corner, Harrison Mayhew headed at the goalkeeper, who similarly saved from Lewis a minute later.

Manager Tom Parkinson made three substitutions bringing Aiden Murphy and Louis Copeland into the attack and Regan Bowden slotting in at full back allowing Leo Deere to move forward.

After 76 minutes, Twist won a ball in midfield, drove into the box but unfortunately his finish was straight at the goalkeeper.

A series of corners brought some desperate defending from Worthing which included a shot from Copeland that just cleared the bar.

With two minutes remaining, another corner saw Babayale wrestled to the ground by a Worthing defender, as they both rose the Worthing player put his hand to the face of of the Tonbridge player who went back down. The referee was well placed to view the incident and immediately pointed to the spot, brandishing a yellow card to the home offender.

Lewis successfully converted the penalty, leaving the visitors to see out the remaining minutes without alarm.

Parkinson commented after the game that: “it was a good result against a very good footballing Worthing team but it should have been a lot more comfortable with a lot of chances missed, especially in the first half. But a much better performance than last week and six wins from six.”

Gillingham 1 Sunderland 0

Match 47/19/1769 - Tuesday, 19th November 2019 - FA Cup 1RR

Gillingham (0) 1 Hanlon 105
Sunderland (0) 0
After Extra Time
Attendance: 3,581

Admission: £11 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 46/3,587

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Tonbridge Angels 2 St Albans City 1

Match 46/19/1768 - Saturday, 16th November 2019 - National South

Tonbridge Angels (1) 2 Greenhalgh 29 Da Costa 77
St Albans City (0) 1 Banton 90
Attendance: 592

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/3,541

It will be several months, through the bleak, dark days of winter, before we know whether the turning point of this season, as with the Brightlingsea game of almost a year ago, was that last minute equaliser against Oxford City a fortnight ago. The comparisons are very stark, a late equaliser (although not quite as late as Oxford) and a new signing lifting the spirits.

At the start of this month, a make or break in lots of people’s eyes, nine points out of the 12 on offer was the dream scenario. As it stands, because of the postponement at Hungerford, four from six is the total and I think those people might accept that.

Ben Greenhalgh has arrived, on loan from Dartford, and made an instant impression with a superb free kick after 29 minutes against similarly relegation-threatened St Albans City. Also boosting the hopes of supporters was the performance in midfield of another recent signing, Christ Tiehi, who was simply magnificent.

Early nervousness gave way to optimism as Tonbridge started brightly with Greenhalgh shooting wide and St Albans goalkeeper, Dave Snedker saving from D’Sean Theobalds after parrying a Khale Da Costa cross.

The optimism rose further, after 29 minutes, when Greenhalgh curled a free kick from the edge of the box into the right hand corner of the net to give the Angels a deserved lead.

St Albans barely registered a shot on target in the first half whilst further chances fell the way of Theobalds and Jared Small.

After an early effort from Da Costa into the side netting, St Albans had their first, and only period in the game when they looked threatening. Guiseppe Iaciafano shot over and Olayemi Oyinsan headed over.

After 71 minutes, Jason Williams replaced Tom Derry and the move quickly brought a dividend when he linked well with Da Costa, setting up the winger to steer a shot into the far corner from the left side of the box.

But nothing comes easy at Longmead and after substitute Joe Turner had wasted a great chance, firing at Snedker, Zane Banton drove a shot into the roof of the net to set up an unnecessarily nervous finish. When St Albans won a free kick on the edge of the box, three minutes into added time, all sorts of nightmares were rekindled but Scott Shulton’s effort did no more than hit the wall and everyone breathed once more.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Folkestone Academy 2 Hugh Christie 12

Match 45/19/1767 - Wednesday, 13th November 2019 - Kent Academies Cup

Folkestone Academy (1) 2
Hugh Christie (4) 12 Hutson 20 Fife 25 Ruck 44 Reed 45+2,70,83,87 Barden 56,72,81 Kempton 85 Knight 90+3
Headcount: 8

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 100/3,503

Tonbridge Angels Academy Development side, Hugh Christie, cruised into the Quarter Finals of the League Cup in a one-sided match at Folkestone Academy.

The home side compete at a lower level than the Angels and despite being given a goal start when awarded a penalty after two minutes, the gap between the sides became more cavernous as the game progressed.

Folkestone fielded a young lady as their main striker and a tap on her ankle led to the early penalty that was duly despatched.

On a sodden pitch it took the Tonbridge side a while to recover their composure and assert their obvious superiority on the home side. A Josh Reed header from a corner brought a good save from the corner and from an Angus Fife free kick, Max Webb headed over before, after 20 minutes, Luke Hutson converted with a header from a free kick.

The feeling that the floodgates were about to open grew when Fife curled a free kick into the top corner from 20 yards after 25 minutes.

But, despite many a close thing, that did not happen until the final couple of minutes of the half as Folkestone defended valiantly with the aid of the woodwork. But after 44 minutes Reed set up Brynley Ruck with time to turn and shoot. A couple of minute into added time a fourth was added when Webb’s effort came back from the bar for Reed to fire into the top corner.

With the tie virtually safe, manager Dominic Welsh shuffled his pack throwing full back Adam Barden into attack and the defender was able to tap in a rebound after the goalkeeper fumbled a Fife free kick.

The game was now almost embarrassingly one-way traffic but it was Fife, who had shown the most quality from midfield, that was left a little red-faced as he fired wide a 66th minute penalty.

A lapse in concentration saw a throw-in find its way to allow the hosts to score from close range but within four minutes, the sixth through Reed and the seventh through Barden re-established order.

It was a case of how many the visitors would score and as the Folkestone side tired and became even more ragged defensively, five goals in the last 10 minutes rounded up a dozen. Barden collected an unlikely hat-trick from his starting position at the back; Reed (who is normally a centre back) had a tap in for his hat trick; Harry Kempton brought up double figures and a Reed header for his fourth made it 11.

Arguably, the best goal of the game was the final one when Jacob Knight hooked in a volley at the near post from a Kempton cross.

Hugh Christie now go on to meet what can only be expected to be sterner opposition in Dover Christ Church Academy in the next round.

Bearsted 0 Chatham Town 1

Match 44/19/1766 - Tuesday, 12th November 2019 - FA Vase 2R

Bearsted (0) 0
Chatham Town (0) 1 Vines 82
Attendance: 141

Admission: £4
Programme: Free
Mileage: 15/3,403

Bearsted website report: This Bearsted result was probably an injustice as for much of the game they were much the better side and constantly putting their opponents onto the back foot. Certainly the highlights of the first half saw great opportunities for Nordirbek Bobomurodov, Peter Williams and Lucian Scarlat and on two occasions Chatham goalkeeper Jordan Carey came to their rescue. At the other end the possibility of being caught on the break was always a threat, but most of all when Scott Andrews diving low to his right to turn the ball around the post to deny Mikey Dalton from opening the scoring just before the half time break.
After the resumption, play for a while remained the same with the hosts on the offensive pitched against the possibility of being punished in return as the half wore on so the balance of play began to even up and seeing the home side . However having to suffer losing a player sent to the sin bin. Although they managed to survive this period of play the stalemate was eventually broken when after 82 minutes following a run and cross into the box, set Paul Vine was able to find the opportunity to score from close range and to take his team through to the next round.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Hungerford Town P Tonbridge Angels P

Saturday, 9th November 2019 - National South

Hungerford Town P
Tonbridge Angels P
Wasted Mileage: 240/3,388

Luton Town Cedars 3 Tonbridge Angels 2

Match 43/19/1765 - Wednesday, 6th November 2019 - National Academies League Cup

Luton Town Cedars (2) 3 Summers 2,72 Ball 33
Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Lewis 44 (pen) Mayhew 55
Headcount: 6

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 200/3,148

The width of a crossbar denied the Angels’ Academy at least the opportunity of League Cup progression via penalties as Harrison Mayhew’s spectacular volley crashed back from the woodwork in the final minutes of the game against Luton Town Cedars.

The Angels had recovered well from a poor start, conceding after just two minutes when several chances to clear a cross from the right were passed up before the ball eventually fell to Luton’s Ben Summers who made no mistake from six yards.

Once they settled into their game, the Angels showed they would be a stern test for their Football League opponents and a slick move after 11 minutes between Ned Lewis and Jacob Lambert ended with Leo Deere shooting into the side netting.

Summers was proving a handful, as was winger Jack Percy, and when a cross from the latter was poorly dealt with in a manner similar to the opening goal, full back Daniel Ball was on hand to score from close range and double the home side's advantage.

The game entered a phase following the second goal when the home side enjoyed a period of dominance with the Angels’ goalkeeper, Charlie Martin making regulation saves from Sam Scott and Joseph Sellers-West.

But the visitors were handed a foothold in the game in the final minute of the half when a cross from Sam Babayale found Lewis, who was clumsily brought down. The striker dusted himself down to score from the spot.

The second half began with Tonbridge showing a renewed sense of determination and after Lambert had a shot blocked and Gabriel Ogunseri had fired over, they found a leveller after 55 minutes when a free kick into the box from Babayale was headed home by Mayhew.

The game which had been a good contest for an hour became a thriller as both sides strived to earn their place in the next round draw.

Percy’s cross across the face of goal begged a touch for the home side whilst free kicks from Regan Bowden and Ben Twist brought efforts from Lewis and substitute Louis Copeland that tested the home goalkeeper whose was small in stature in comparison to the physicality of the rest of his team, certainly the biggest that the Academy have met this season.

After 72 minutes, a wonderful through ball sent Summers clear to finish in the bottom corner to restore the Hatters’ advantage.

It was a long way to travel to go down without a fight and the Angels were not about to do that.

There were four minutes remaining when a free kick into the box was only half-cleared to the edge of the box from where Mayhew’s stunning volley deserved so much better than the hitting of the woodwork.

Babayale’s header only found the side netting and a final free kick from the full back drifted harmlessly over as time ran out for the Angels, who can nevertheless be proud of their performance against a Football League team with an unbeaten record this season.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Tonbridge Angels 4 Oxford City 4

Match 42/19/1764 - Saturday, 2nd November 2019 - National South

Tonbridge Angels (0) 4 Derry 48 Theobalds 55 (pen) Turner 85,90+2
Oxford City (2) 4 Benyon 31 Fleet 39 Brown 87,90
Attendance: 473

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/2,948

Another Saturday when football has to share centre stage with the Rugby World Cup and even if Liverpool and Manchester City were in opposition, it would have played second fiddle to a World Cup Final involving England.

So the household chores of a Saturday morning were scheduled around a kick-off time in Yokohama of 09:00 as we settled down to watch England crowned Champions of the World, or so we had been led to believe by the media. Turn up and it’s ours.

Of course, nothing is as predictable as that and South Africa were not ready to roll over and have their tummies tickled. Even to my less than knowledgeable eye it was soon apparent that the Springboks were more powerful in the apparently vital area of the scrum and as they wheeled the English around into offside positions, penalties built up an unassailable lead. When the second try went over with five or so minutes over, it was time to upsticks for Morrisons and the start of the footballing day chores.

Just as with the rugby, Tonbridge Angel’s game against similarly relegation threatened Oxford City was far from predictable and had a climax that would have had both sets of management watching from behind the sofa, if there had been a couple.

Torrential downpours during the morning had left the ground staff with an awful lot of mopping up to make sure that referee Daniel Lamport gave it the go-ahead.

Tonbridge started the game well and went on to dominate the first half, but somehow, went into the break 2-0 down.

In the first quarter-hour, with Jared Small’s pace causing the visitors concern, Tom Derry had a header deflected wide for a corner; Rhian Bray headed wide whilst the rejuvenated Joe Turner shot narrowly over and had another shot deflected wide.

It took Oxford City 20-odd minutes to mount a serious attack that came to nothing.

But, almost true to form one would say, it was indeed the visitors that took the lead on 31 minutes when a ball lost on the right of midfield was instantly pumped forward into the path of Elliot Benyon who drove a fierce shot between Jonny Henly and his near post.

Eight minutes later, the early dominance of the home side was well and truly put into the past as an Oxford corner from the left was met at the near post with a header from Reece Fleet to put City two goals to the good.

With Christ Tiehi having made way for Khale Da Costa after 35 minutes, Steve McKimm made a second change during the break with new signing Jason Williams replacing Small.

The changes had the desired effect with Derry converting a Da Costa corner three minutes in the half.

After 55 minutes the Angels were level when Da Costa was tripped in the box for D’Sean Theobalds to make no mistake with the spot kick.

The game had a good ebb and flow from that point with both sides having half-chances unconverted. But with five minutes remaining, Chinedu McKenzie linked with Turner before the winger cut in from the left to fire a pinpoint shot into the far corner. As the Tonbridge support celebrated what appeared to be the winning goal, no one was envisaging quite how the game was about to unfold.

Within two minutes, Oxford were level once more as a cross from the left from Nana Owusu found substitute Stefan Brown on the edge of the box with time and space to pick his spot into the bottom corner past Henly.

Joy of Turner’s goal turned into utter despair on 90 minutes when a three man move opened up the Tonbridge defence for Brown to finish.

But those that had braved the weather were rewarded two minutes into time added when a Da Costa corner from the left was met by the head of Turner at the near post and a point, albeit wholly deserved, had been salvaged.

No more sharing of Saturday’s which is a good thing because the heart and brain cannot continue to take the heady mixture of disappointment and celebration in equal measure.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Crystal Palace Community 3 Tonbridge Angels 5

Match 41/19/1763 - Wednesday, 30th October 2019 - National Academies' Alliance

Crystal Palace Community (1) 3 Medley 35,76,90
Tonbridge Angels (2) 5 Lewis 8,23 Copeland 48 Hudson 56 Musengeyi 83
Headcount: 13
Played at Catford Wanderers
New Ground: 338

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 84/2,910

Tonbridge Angels Academy maintained their 100% record with a 5-3 victory against Crystal Palace Community but manager Tommy Parkinson was less than impressed with his side’s last 15 minutes when the foot came off the pedal whilst 4-1 up.

Parkinson explained after the game that his side had, too often this season, played in patches and they need to learn to be consistent both as a team and individually over the full 90 minutes.

Despite this, for 75 minutes, the Angels’ youngsters dominated the game and were, ultimately, well deserving of their fourth straight win in the National Academies’ Alliance.

Tonbridge went in front after eight minutes when a ball pumped into the box brought a misjudgment from the Palace goalkeeper who called for a ball that he had no chance of collecting. Ned Lewis was first to the ball and his header was looped over the advancing Mason Whitnall and into the unguarded net.

On a narrow pitch at Catford Wanderers, Sam Babayale’s long throws into the box were causing chaos in the Palace defence with one throw managing to find its way through to striking the far post.

Harry Hudson headed wide from a Babayale throw before, after 23 minutes, an exquisitely curled shot into the top corner from Lewis doubled the Angels advantage.

With Crystal Palace barely threatening, Tonbridge had further opportunities to extend their lead. Lewis headed over from the umpteenth Babayale throw and Louis Copeland shot into the side netting before the home side surprisingly pulled a goal back after 35 minutes when their burly striker, Nathan Medley, scored with a shot into the top corner from 20 yards.

Tonbridge’s dominance was restored at the start of the second half when Saul Musengeyi’s shot-cum-pass found Copeland at the far post to net from a tight angle.

The Angels put the game virtually out of reach of their hosts after 56 minutes when a free kick lofted into the box by the excellent Ben Twist was met with a header from Hudson to make it 4-1.

Lewis narrowly shot wide and Hudson headed a Babayale free kick wide before, after 76 minutes, Medley once more showed the quality of his left foot with a shot from which Angels’ goalkeeper, Charlie Martin, might well have done better.

Any real concerns were dispelled with seven minutes remaining when Musengeyi was sent clear to finish into the bottom corner but it was the Palace striker Medley who had the last say when he completed his hat-trick with a free kick into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Whilst he bemoaned his side’s final quarter-hour, Parkinson praised his side’s earlier performance when they “had some spells with good quality, scoring some nice goals”. The Angels maintain their position at the head of the table alongside Welling United who also have four wins out of four.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Wealdstone 3 Tonbridge Angels 1

Match 40/19/1762 - Saturday, 26th October 2019 - National League South

Wealdstone (2) 3 Tiehi (o.g.) 15 Clifford 50 Noel-Williams 90+1
Tonbridge Angels (0) 1 Theobalds (pen) 59
Attendance: 866
New Ground: 337

Admission: Pass
Programme: £3
Mileage: 170/2,826

Two miracles in one day was a lot to ask and ultimately was not to be, but following England’s heroic victory in the Rugby Union World Cup, Tonbridge Angels gave their best to produce a miracle of their own at League leaders, Wealdstone.

This was a first visit to Grosvenor Vale, a decent enough ground even if it is a little bits and pieces in its construction. There is a reasonably sized seating area behind the far goal that strangely goes from a corner to the far post and then stops for a separate piece of covered terracing. Another area of seating straddles he halfway line whilst opposite there is a third seated area but much smaller. Behind the other goal is a covered terrace that once more goes from a corner to the far post and stops for an area of flat uncovered standing.

The welcome was friendly, which was almost unexpected following the reports from fellow National South clubs and, although it is easy to do when you are top of table and have ultimately won the game, the home support gave the Tonbridge side generous applause as they left the field at the end of the game.

Tonbridge were left with effectively only two named on the bench following a suspension to Khale Da Costa and unavailability. Jared Small returned to the starting 11 for Da Costa and there was a first start for Christ Tiehi.

The visitors struggled to contain Wealdstone down the flanks in the opening half but strangely accumulating a lot of corners of their own, four in the opening five minutes that came to nothing.

Jonny Henly was the first goalkeeper called into action saving from Jacob Mendy Mendy (so good they named him twice) after 10 minutes and making a better stop, low to his left to deny the very impressive Dennon Lewis four minutes later.

But the problems that Wealdstone were causing in the wide area bore fruit for the home side a minute later when a cross from Michee Efete was turned into his own net from Tiehe.

After 27 minutes, Wealdstone’s central defender Connor Stevens spurned a good chance after a corner had been headed into his path by Jerome Okimo.

But in the final five minutes of the half the Angels came back into the game and forced another four corners before Jack Rudoni forced the Stones’ goalkeeper, Aston Oxborough into a fine save with the rebound being sent wide by Joe Turner.

Five minutes into the second period, a soft-looking penalty, albeit viewed from the length of the field, was awarded to the home side after Rudoni was adjudged to have brought down Lewis. Billy Clifford’s initial spot kick was well saved by Henly but the taker followed up to into the roof of the net.

But Tonbridge fought back and reduced the deficit 10 minutes later when D’Sean Theobalds scored from the spot after Tom Derry had been brought down by Okimo.

Tonbridge pressed hard for an equaliser, that could be argued they deserved, and after 66 minutes Turner headed at the goalkeeper and a shot from Rudoni was deflected wide. But the chance for some reward came with nine minutes remaining when a cross from Small found the diving head of Derry whose contact was almost too good directing the ball into the grateful hands of Oxborough when a misplaced header would probably have found the net.

With the visitors throwing bodies forward in search of a goal, it was almost inevitable that they would get caught on the break and in the first minute of added time, a breakaway led to substitute Dejon Noel-Williams firing into the bottom corner to seal the points.

So miracles only come in one’s but at least the country was rejoicing the morning’s event.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Tunbridge Wells 3 AFC Croydon 1

Match 39/19/1761 - Tuesday, 22nd October 2019 - SCEFL Premier

Tunbridge Wells (3) 3 Sahadow 14 Thompson 20 Fjord Rogers 24
AFC Croydon (1) 1 Ogun 36
Attendance: 155

Admission: £4 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 38/2,656

A blistering first 25 minutes culminating with a goal that could grace any level of the game gave Tunbridge Wells a three goal lead that, although AFC Croydon improved, was comfortably enough to secure the three points.

The Culverden pitch had taken a hammering from the wet weather over the last few days but although it was visibly soft it was perfectly playable.

Tunbridge Wells started on the front foot and in those opening 25 minutes AFC Croydon barely left their half. Euan Sahadow put two efforts over the bar before supplying a cross that was headed over by Jordan Wells in the 10th minute.

AFC’s goalkeeper, ex-Wells favourite Nic Taylor, made a good save to deny Fjord Rogers but, after 14 minutes to breakthrough finally came when a shot from Josh Froggatt could only be parried by Taylor into the path of Sahadow who made no mistake from close range.

The visitor’s defence were being overrun and, from a Jake Beecroft corner, Jason Thompson had the freedom of the six yard box to bury a header for 2-0.

But the best was yet to come, a sharp three man passing move between Thompson, Wells and a lofted cross from Sahadow ended with a stunning volley from Fjord Rogers that Taylor could only watch on helplessly.

The Wells might have four or five up with some desperate defending seeing a corner to safety and Sahadow testing Taylor before, with their first real attack on goal, a cross from Kazzeem Richards was converted by Dominic Ogun into the bottom corner.

The second half was more even-handed but the Wells never really looked like giving up their advantage. Taylor saved at his near post to deny Froggatt and Thompson should have done better with a header that cleared the bar in the opening 10 minutes.

Simon Overland made his first save of the match after 67 minutes following a header by Nahum Green and it took a fine saving tackle from Chris Lawal with three minutes remaining to deny AFC a grandstand finish.

The pitch had probably sapped the energy out of the legs of both teams in the latter part of the game but Tunbridge Wells had managed to get their work done in that electric first quarter.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Tonbridge Angels 1 Chelmsford City 2

Match 38/19/1760 - Saturday, 20th October 2019 - National South

Tonbridge Angels (1) 1 Da Costa 16
Chelmsford City (0) 2 Whelpdale 90+2 Jeffers 90+4
Attendance: 590

Admission: Pass
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/2,618

Football is such a cruel game. Arguments can be made that Tonbridge were the architects of their own downfall with defensive mistakes that led to two goals being scored in time-added, but the manner in which Tonbridge were left pointless was cruel in the extreme.

At the beginning of this month, a single point from the three games looked unlikely but the confidence building demolition of Braintree, and Chelmsford’s own indifferent form, had left room for a modicum of optimism. Despite this, the visitors still had the look of an expensively assembled squad with Sam Higgins, the spearhead of our play-off defeat at East Thurrock in 2016, ex-Gillingham favourites in Chris Whelpdale and Billy Knott and, in the centre of defence, the formidable Dave Winfield.

After a quiet opening in which a double save from Henly was the only item of note, Tonbridge went ahead after 16 minutes when a crossfield pass from Jack Rudoni was collected by Khale Da Costa who cut in from the right to fire a shot from 20 yards into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club.

Chelmsford responded immediately and Henly was needed to touch over an effort from Jonny Giles.

The visitors enjoyed the best of the possession throughout the rest of the first half, but for that Henly was only tested in the time-added when he saved from a Knott free kick.

The second half continued in much the same vein with Chelmsford enjoying the majority of the possession and Tonbridge relying on the breaks but neither goalkeeper having much too do until the 70th minute when a Da Costa free kick into the area ending with the ball hitting the bar and, three minutes later, the Chelmsford goalkeeper, Carl Pentney turned away an effort from Tommie Hession-Harris for a corner.

As the game entered its final throes of regular time, there was nothing to lose for the visitors and Henly saved as the game entered its added time of six minutes.

A long punt forward from Pentney saw a misplaced header from Sonny Miles find Shaun Jeffers whose cross from the right gave Whelpdale an easy opportunity to convert and retrieve a point, or so it seemed for the Essex side.

But, in a final cruel twist, another long punt into the Tonbridge box this time from the goalkeeper that was initially headed on and another misjudged header from Miles allowed Jeffers to win a challenge from James Folkes and place a shot under the advancing Henly for the winner.

It was a savage blow but of a type that has become a irritating habit this season with Chelmsford’s goals being the eighth and ninth that have been conceded in the last five minutes of either half, in turn costing five points which could have steered them into the relatively calm waters of lower mid-table.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Tonbridge Angels 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1

Match 37/19/1759 - Wednesday, 16th October 2019 - National Academies Alliance

Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Copeland 85,87
Dulwich Hamlet (0) 1
Attendance: 17

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 32/2,580

Two goals from substitute Louie Copeland in the last five minutes gave the Academy a hugely exciting comeback win against a Dulwich Hamlet side that would have returned home feeling a little robbed.

Dulwich showed from the outset that they would prove to be a stern test for the Angels who had entered the game with a 100% record.

In a first half of very few chances, Dulwich just about shaded it with goalkeeper, Charlie Martin saving from Leon Thomas on a couple of occasions whilst Saul Musengeyi stretched the Dulwich keeper, Luke Godwin on just the one occasion.

As the grey skies turned to heavy rain, the game found an extra zip in the second half. Dulwich had two great opportunities to open the scoring in the opening five minutes with a substitute heading over and after a defensive mistake, Martin came to the rescue to deny Darragh Okie-Tutu.

Further chances were to fall Dulwich’s way and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 64 minutes through Yaya Aly, who picked his spot in the bottom corner having found plenty of time and space on the right sided angle of the box.

It did, however, spark a response from the Angels and when Exause Bizima sent Copeland clear the substitute’s shot came back off the crossbar.

With 10 minutes remaining a free kick from Ben Twist was turned away for a corner, from which Harry Hudson’s header was brilliantly touched over the bar by Godwin.

Five minutes remained when a ball was won on the right side and the ricochet sent Copeland clear to cut in and from just inside the box he directed a shot into the far corner giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Copeland’s pace was destroying the Hamlet back line and he was involved as a cross begged a touch but eluded everyone.

But, with two minutes remaining, Copeland produced a magical moment when he curled a shot into the top corner from around 25 yards before being engulfed by joyous team mates.

Tom Parkinson admitted after the game that Dulwich were much the better side for long periods in the game. “We were not at our best today, but have shown great character and resilience to come from behind to win the game.”

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Tunbridge Wells 1 Southall 3

Match 36/19/1758 - Tuesday, 15th October 2019 - FA Vase First Round Replay

Tunbridge Wells (0) 1 Froggatt 78
Southall (2) 3 Dean 30 McLeish 45 Dosho 80
Attendance: 130

Admission: £4
Programme: None
Mileage: 38/2,548

It’s a good job I’m not a betting man. Despite the disappointment the of the last kick equaliser at Southall on Sunday, I was convinced that Tunbridge Wells would prevail in the replay with relative ease. Just shows what I know!

About the only foot put wrong all night by the Combined Counties side was to misjudge the M25, causing a delayed kick-off of a quarter hour but from the first whistle they bossed the game and were good value to earn not only the prize money of £825 but an eminently winnable game at home to Seaford in the next round.

Just like Sunday’s encounter the game took a while to get going with a shot from Southall’s Darreon Hark to only one to employ a goalkeeper.

So, out of context with the pattern of the game, the visitors went in front after half-an-hour when a Southall corner was only cleared to the edge of the box from where Peter Dean drove a unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Tunbridge Wells failed to bring their wingers Josh Froggatt and Euan Sahadow into the game and chances were few and far between as a consequence.

On the stroke of half-time, an excellent three man move opened up the Wells back line and Aaron McLeish finished well past the advancing Nicholls to make it 2-0.

Andre Da Costa should have put the game beyond the Wells in first half time added when he shot wide of the post after being sent clear.

One was left to think, expect even, that the Wells could only improve in the second half, wrong! If anything it got worse.

After 68 minutes, Southall’s goalkeeper made probably is only mistake of the night when he spilt a shot but Jason Thompson shot wide of the gaping goal.

Similarly, at the other end after 76 minutes, a weak punch from Nicholls landed at the feet of Jack Mills but he also wasted the opportunity.

Tunbridge Wells were given a lifeline when Froggatt seized on a weak back pass to fire home with 12 minutes remaining.

But four minutes later another defensive mistake allowed Emanuel Dosho a run on goal which he finished with a shot that went in off the far post.

Ultimately, Tunbridge Wells will curse those added minutes at Ashford but can have no complaints on this particular night.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Southall 4 Tunbridge Wells 4

Match 35/19/1757 - Sunday, 13th October 2019 - FA Vase First Round

Southall (1) 4 Mills 34 Austin 52 Mark 75 Pitt 90+7
Tunbridge Wells (3) 4 Thompson 17,43,90 Lawal 27
Attendance: 95
After extra time
Played at Ashford Town (Middlesex)

Admission: £4
Programme: £1
Mileage: 142/2,510

My recently acquired magnetism for a last minute, last kick even, goal means that Southall and Tunbridge Wells need to try again at Culverden on Tuesday night. Whilst the home side will consider it a triumph to still be in the competition, Tunbridge Wells will be kicking themselves that having led 3-1 they have allowed the tie to go to a second game.

Southall ground share at Ashford Town (Middlesex) hence the Sunday afternoon fixture and the game being played to the constant rumble of a plane taking off from Heathrow and climbing into the sky every 45 seconds. For any football fan that doubles as a plane spotter it has to be a heavenly venue.

The game took an age to get going and the plane spotting was actually a welcome distraction until, after 18 minutes, a fine right wing run and cross from Josh Froggatt saw the Southall goalkeeper only push the ball into the path of Jason Thompson who crashed the ball into the roof of the net.

With the goal the game sprang to life and another cross from Froggatt to Thompson saw the striker hit into the side netting whilst the Wells goalkeeper Ryan Nicholls had to save well from Jack Mills.

After 29 minutes a well worked short free kick routine saw Jake Beecroft slide a through ball to Christian Lawal to shoot between the goalkeeper and his near post.

After 32 minutes Southall’s Ben Long picked up a booking that was to prove costly later in the game.

But, four minutes later, a fine shot from just outside the box by Mills gave Nicholls no chance and offered the home side a route back into the game which Southall grasped with Mills firing just over a couple of minutes later.

The Wells though restored their two goal advantage just before the break when a free kick from Euan Sahadow was turned into his own net by a defender under pressure from Thompson, who I admit thought had scored.

Southall, with nothing much to lose in the second period, placed their visitors under pressure from the outset and the Wells were the architects of their own downfall in this period as they continually gave the ball away.

Seven minutes into the half, Nicholls had to make a desperate save at his near post but, a minute later, a corner from Mills was met with a powerful header from close range by the home captain, Gavin Austin.

Southall continued to press, Mills saw a shot saved by Nicholls feet and substitute David Pitt tried an audacious lob from about 40 yards. In between Tunbridge Wells had a free kick awarded for a back pass 10 yards from goal that ended with a Thompson shot rattling the underside of the bar.

On 77 minutes Southall got parity that their second half endeavours had deserved when full back Jack Roper had time and space to pick a shot into the far corner.

After 81 minutes, Long’s second yellow was converted into a red card and with a man advantage Tunbridge Wells pressed on for a winner that appeared to have come when Beecroft passed for Thompson to fire home in the 90th minute.

Tunbridge Wells attempted to manage the game out with the ball held in the corner for long periods but it appeared that the referee was going to add every second that ball remained there, whether it was in play or otherwise. Three minutes became seven when a final free kick taken by the goalkeeper found substitute Pitt, who waltzed a couple of tackles before sending the game into extra time with the last kick of regular time.

Neither side could find a winner despite close calls for both teams, so on to Tuesday night.

Admission: £4
Programme: £1
Mileage: 142/2,510