Thursday, 28 February 2019

Lewes 0 Tonbridge Angels 0

Match 99/18/1692 - Wednesday, 27th February 2019 - Bostik Premier

Lewes (0) 0
Tonbridge Angels (0) 0
Attendance: 404

Admission: Ticket from abandoned game
E-Programme: Free
Mileage: 78/5,806

Two hundred and twenty minutes of football between these two sides have failed to produce a goal and even when Lewes were offered the opportunity from the penalty spot, a tame effort from Ben Pope was comfortably saved by Jonny Henly.

The rearranged game, due the abandonment earlier in the month when the tide came in at the Dripping Pan, was once again put in doubt by a floodlight failure of one pylon but having been given the choice of another postponement by the referee, the managers agreed to the game going ahead.

At the final whistle, Steve McKimm, who described the game as not one to bring the fans flocking through the turnstiles, expressed his satisfaction with his side’s performance and a result that maintains the six point gap between the clubs in the quest for play-off places.

McKimm returned Alex Read to the starting line-up for Chinedu McKenzie who was unavailable and Tom Parkinson came in for D’Sean Theobalds who took a place on the bench.

Tonbridge dominated the early exchanges with Joe Turner testing ex-Angels’ goalkeeper Lewis Carey after five minutes. The Lewes custodian was brought into action again from the resultant corner turning aside a Sonny Miles header.

Turner and Parkinson saw efforts saved before Lewes mounted their first serious attack after 20 minutes when Henly saved from Omarr Lawson.

Just short of the half-hour, Tom Beere limped out of the game with Theobalds taking his place.

Whilst the visitors maintained their dominance the chances dried up and the game went into the break goalless.

After a couple of early second half raids from the visitors, Lewes had a period in which they gained the momentum. Mohamed Diallo flashed a pass across the face of goal that begged a touch and following a shot from Lawson that was parried by Henly, the referee pointed to the spot for what appeared to be a push by the goalkeeper as he sought to recover the ball following his save. Arthur Lee was cautioned in the arguments that followed the award but Pope’s effort was saved low to his right by Henly.

Miles’ header from a Turner free kick that was directed back across the face was as close as the Angels came to winning the game in the final half-hour whilst Henly saved from Pope as the sides cancelled each other out for a second time this season.

Tonbridge Angels Academy 1 Bromley Reds 2

Match 98/18/1691 - Wednesday, 27th February 2019 - National Academies League

Tonbridge Angels Academy (0) 1 Stirman 59
Bromley Reds (0) 2 Figuera 39
Headcount: 3

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 32/5,7288

Academy manager Tommy Parkinson was more than a little frustrated that his charges had not taken any reward from this game against the National Academies League leaders, Bromley Reds.

After a very good hour in which they took the lead through a Josh Stirman goal after 59 minutes, two defensive lapses allowed Bromley to return home with all three points.

On a shirt-sleeves February morning at King’s Hill, neither team gained any dominance in a competitive, highly entertaining first half. Bromley centre forward, Kerry Oubefun, a strapping lad, fired wide and Leo Deere sent a shot over the bar for the Angels in the early exchanges.

The first goalkeeper to make a meaningful save was Tonbridge’s Tommy Taylor saving with his feet from Aaron Obikoi-Simeon after 18 minutes.

A cross from Sam Slipper found the head of Harry Hudson but his effort was directed at Ryan Coltress.

As the half progressed it was the hosts that gained the momentum with Stirman sending a volley narrowly wide and following a great pass over the top from Ned Snowden-Lewis, Tom Barton was thwarted by the advancing Coltress.

To end the half, Snowden-Lewis brought a save from the Bromley ‘keeper.

The second half began with the Angels’ continuing to hold sway and this culminated in the 59th minute when Stirman curled a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box to give the hosts a deserved lead.

How different the result might have been had Tonbridge gone into a two goal lead when, after 65 minutes, Coltress made a double save to deny Snowden-Lewis and Deere and five minutes later Bromley were level. Following a corner an effort was cleared from the line by Hudson but the clearance fell to Lewis Miller who drove home from 10 yards.

Bromley now had the momentum and they needed to take home the points with Dover breathing down their necks at the top of the table, on level points but with two games in hand.

After 78 minutes they took the lead with a fine individual goal, but one that frustrated Parkinson, as Obikoi-Simeon ran through at least five defenders without a significant challenge before planting his finish past Taylor.

Bromley’s Festos Kanara struck the right hand post with two minutes remaining but Tonbridge might just have squeezed some reward out of the game when a well directed free kick from goalkeeper Taylor found Hudson at the far post but his header only found the side netting.

It is perhaps indicative of the progress made when a narrow defeat by one of the county's best Academies is considered frustrating.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Tonbridge Angels 0 Merstham 1

Match 97/18/1690 - Saturday, 23rd February 2019 - Bostik Premier

Tonbridge Angels (0) 0
Merstham (1) 1 Figuera 39
Attendance: 552

Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/5,696

It was the first day of the season, the sun shone brightly, Merstham’s pitch looked a green baize and Tonbridge Angels brushed aside their hosts with consummate ease. As I happily departed the Moastside the only doubt nagging in my mind was “have I just watched the worst team we are going to meet this season”. Fast forward to mid-December, Merstham were not disproving my thoughts sitting four off the bottom of the table.

But, here we are late February, a sensational run of form has seen Merstham surge into fourth position with their hosts sitting third.

A quiet opening 15 minutes was only punctuated with Merstham picking up a couple of yellow cards and Amadou Tangara making a good save from a Tom Beere free kick.

On the half-hour, Tom Derry forced Tangara into another fine save at his near post turning the shot aside for a corner.

A couple of minutes later, Tangara was yellow-carded bizarrely for time wasting with an hour left on the clock.

A good move between Joe Turner and Derry brought yet another fine save from Tangara but, with their first attack of any conviction, Merstham snatched the lead when a cross from Gus Sow found Walter Figueira who stretched out a leg to volley past Jonny Henly.

Turner brought a save from Tangara before the break. The goalkeeper, whose kicking had been the butt of the hosts fans’ humour early in the half had had the last laugh as his series of saves had taken Merstham to the break with their lead.

It was Merstham that picked up the momentum in the early stages of the second period with Henly needing to advance to the feet of Roman Michael-Percil who had been sent clear following shortly after by Jack Parter clearing from the line.

Tonbridge huffed and puffed their way through the half without creating anything of any significance until nine minutes from time when Sonny Miles’ header was cleared from the line.

Merstham saw the game out with Henly asked to make a couple of saves as Tonbridge slipped to their first defeat of 2019.

Cray Valley PM Res 3 Tonbridge Angels U-21 0

Match 96/18/1689 - Thursday, 21st February 2019 - Suburban League

Cray Valley PM (1) 3 Karari 31 Taylor 61 Palmer 87
Tonbridge Angels Under-21 (0) 0
Headcount: 25

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 70/5,658

Tonbridge Angels’ Under-21 side’s hopes of promotion back to the Suburban League Premier Division from which they were unjustly removed last season received a setback, probably terminal, in this disappointing evening at Cray Valley.

Whilst enjoying more than their share of possession, they were consistently caught on the break by a team with a bit of pace and a physical centre forward.

Tonbridge certainly started the better of the two teams with the Cray goalkeeper, Tom Kemp, making a good save to deny Connor Watson after 11 minutes and another, low to his right, from Luciano Osbourne. When Osbourne was brought down in the box after 20 minutes there were strong claims for a penalty but these were waved away.

After dominating the first half hour, an awful miscommunication between the Angels’ keeper, Ryan Thompson and Emanuele Offin-Ankamah saw the ball misdirected past the goalkeeper for Cray’s centre forward, Steve Karari to run the ball into the net.

Tonbridge continued to dominate possession with Steve Panayi stretching Kemp and Jorge Diez failing to hit the target on a couple of occasions.

Kemp made a brilliant save to thwart Diez in the opening minutes of the second half and had that chance been converted the outcome might well have been different but after 66 minutes a free kick saw the Cray central defender Harry Taylor convert from close range.

Still Tonbridge continued to create and waste chances with substitute Billy Jacobs firing wide after being set up by Osbourne and following a wonderful move and pass from Diez saw another chance go begging.

Cray wrapped the game up, with a scoreline that was flattering, when Thompson advanced from his box to a ball over the top that he was never going to reach allowing George Palmer to complete the Angels’ misery.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Tunbridge Wells 1 Sheppey United 3

Match 95/18/1688 - Tuesday, 19th February 2019 - SCEFL Premier

Tunbridge Wells (0) 1 Bryce-Borthwich 78
Sheppey United (3) 3 Butler 9 Ibrahim 12 Lewis 24
Attendance: 167

Admission: £4 Senior
Programme: None
Mileage: 38/5,588

Abject defending in a 15 minute period defined this game and left Tunbridge Wells with a few boos ringing in their ears at the sound of the half-time whistle.

The Wells retained respectability in the second period, for that they deserve credit, but the hole they had dug for themselves was far too deep from which to clamber out.

There was nothing to suggest the 15 minutes of mayhem in the opening skirmishes with a Dane Moore shot being deflected away for a corner but, after nine minutes, Sheppey opening the scoring when a shot from the lively Tarik Ibrahim was deflected into the path of an unmarked Kane Butler who scored with a routine finish.

Within three minutes the visitors doubled their advantage when a failure by the Tunbridge Wells defence to clear their lines ended with the ball breaking to Ibrahim who made no mistake as he drove the ball into the bottom corner.

Tunbridge Wells attempted to rally with Harrison Carnegie presenting problems for the Ites bringing a save out of Aaron Lee-Wharton. The goalkeeper made an even better save after 19 minutes saving low to his left to deny Jason Thompson.

But the recovery was stalled after 25 minutes when the Wells’ goalkeeper, Cameron Hall, made a suicidal advance from his goal to a ball that he was a poor second to Ryan Lewis who lobbed it over the keeper’s head to follow-up and touch it home.

The final 20 minutes of the first half was a case of Tunbridge Wells keeping themselves in the game, this they did as Hall atoned with saves from George Batten and Lewis.

Whether it was a half-time tongue lashing, the embarrassment of hearing the boos or just that Sheppey only needed to see the game out professionally, the second half was at least competitive although the Wells failed to extend Lee-Wharton on too many occasions.

A good strike from Lewis Mingle after 57 minutes might have given them an early foothold in the second period but it was blocked leaving the Wells to wait until the the 78th minute when the ball broke for Chad Bryce-Borthwick to score from the edge of the box.

It was too little, too late as Sheppey saw out the game comfortably.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Burgess Hill Town 0 Tonbridge Angels 4

Match 94/18/1687 - Saturday, 16th February 2019 - Bostik Premier

Burgess Hill Town (0) 0
Tonbridge Angels (4) 4 Turner 6 Derry 17,26 McKenzie 32
Attendance: 417

Admission: £6 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 84/5,550

For 45 minutes it was men against boys, well at least one boy, 17-year-old Burgess Hill Town goalkeeper, Mitch Bromage who endured a torrid first period barely helped by a back four that verged on the incompetent.

The home side that slumped to the bottom of the table following this defeat at least gained a measure of respectability following a goalless second half which also saw the dismissal of Angels’ substitute Jared Small.

An early corner from Tom Beere that slipped through the hands of Bromage was an indication that the youngster was going to be under pressure every time the ball was lifted into the penalty area.

After five minutes, a poor touch from Tom Derry after being sent clear by Joe Turner, let the Hillians off the hook and, a minute later, Bromage did well to turn over a shot from Beere.

Tonbridge had adapted to a poor pitch much better than their hosts and their vulnerability to the high ball was exploited after seven minutes when a Beere corner was headed just inside the far post by Turner.

Only a further minute had elapsed when Chinedu McKenzie was sent clear but his lob over the advancing Bromage struck the bar.

Burgess Hill’s Pat Harding shot over in the home side’s first attempt on the Angels’ goal but, after 17 minutes, McKenzie lifted the ball over the head of a defender and into path of Derry who clinically finished.

After 26 minutes, the lead was increased to three when Turner set up Derry to outpace the cumbersome Hillians’ back line and shoot into the bottom corner.

The afternoon was looking to become very embarrassing for Burgess Hill when Adem Ramadan passed to McKenzie who planted a shot into the top corner.

Burgess Hill ended the half with a couple of yellow cards to complete a miserable 45 minutes for their suffering supporters.

Burgess Hill manager Simon Wormull’s half-time team talk at least engendered some resilience into his floundering troops and whilst the traffic continued in one direction the expected avalanche of goals in the second half failed to materialise.

Bromage excelled to turn over an effort from Derry but then dropped a cross and in the ensuing melee a shot from Sonny Miles was blocked, such was the young ‘keeper’s afternoon.

After 78 minutes Small saw red for supposed violent conduct, a swing of the arm to free himself from the clutches of a defender. The referee consulted a linesman who concluded he had seen enough to advice on the dismissal.

In truth, following the first half action, the game rather peetered out and, in time added, Jonny Henly muddied his gloves for the first time when he comfortably saved twice from Aaron Smith-Joseph.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Wingate & Finchley 1 Tonbridge Angels 2

Match 93/18/1686 - Wednesday, 13th February 2019 - Bostik Premier

Wingate & Finchley (1) 1 Beckles-Richards 17
Tonbridge Angels (0) 2 Turner (pen) 71 Small 87
Attendance: 101

Admission: £6
Programme: £2
Mileage: 128/5,466

It was the cliched game of two halves. After a surprisingly easy sail through the Dartford Tunnel, the second period of the journey became torturous as the attempt was made to circumnavigate the North Circular with the aid of Doris the Sat taking us on a magical mystery tour of north London’s back streets. To her credit we avoided standing still for any great length of time and arrived at the Maurice Rebak Stadium in good time.

Despite the warm welcome of the Wingate people and the delight of their main stand that has been restored to its former glory plus the perilous charm of their terracing in front of said stand (a Health and Safety issue waiting to happen), the nature of the journey is such that I don’t think many club’s supporters from our neck of the woods will be sad to see them drop into the division below should they be relegated at the end of the season.

The match itself was also the cliched two halves. Tonbridge were, quite frankly, quite awful in the first half and improved immeasurably in the second to just about deserve the spoils at the finish.

The visitors started well enough. Alex Read tested Shane Gore after five minutes; a move between Joe Turner and Chinedu McKenzie ended with the latter shooting wide and a McKenzie header was directed at Gore following a Read cross. But then Tonbridge lost their way, much the same as I felt I had on the journey.

After 16 minutes, a clumsy foul by Arthur Lee following his own mistake brought a free kick a yard outside of the box.

The free kick rebounded back off the wall to Reece Beckles-Richards whose effort took a deflection to wrong foot Jonny Henly enroute to the back of the net.

For the next 15 minutes Tonbridge were hanging on only by virtue of the home side’s profligacy in front of goal and were very fortunate to stay just a goal adrift after 31 minutes when a shot from Rob Laney struck the right hand post.

The half-time exchange of words had the desired effect on the visitors and from the outset of the second period the attitude was more positive, wrestling the initiative from Wingate and Finchley.

Turner brought a good save out of Gore and from the resultant corner a shot was cleared from the line.

A double substitution just past the hour brought new signing Tom Derry into the action in place of McKenzie and Jared Small for the ineffective Adem Ramadan. Derry has been brought to the club from East Thurrock until the end of the season courtesy of the generosity of a group of supporters who have financed the move.

After 71 minutes, the breakthrough was finally made when Read was brought down in the box for the award of a hotly contested penalty. Wingate central defender Sean Cronin was so incensed that he talked himself into a yellow card that quite easily, in fact should, have resulted in him walking back to the dressing room.

Turner’s penalty-taking style of giving it the full leather saw the ball rocket into the roof of the net before Gore had even given thought to what direction it might take.

Now the ascendancy was all Tonbridge’s but they had to wait until three minutes from time when a beautifully crafted move, started by D’Sean Theobalds; a surging run through the heart of the pitch by Tom Beere before laying off the ball into the path of Small who finished with a superb shot from the right into the far corner.

A similar run from Beere as the clock ticked to the final minute brought a cynical foul but the free kick was blocked as Tonbridge saw out time added without a scare.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Tonbridge Angels U18 4 K Sports U18 5

Match 92/18/1685 - Sunday, 10th February 2019 - Kent Cup Under-18 QF

Tonbridge Angels U18 (2) 4 Bates 13 Musengeyi 38 Bowles 75 Drapper 79
K Sports (4) 5
Headcount: 35
Played at K Sports

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 26/5,338

An old boxing adage is that a good big man should beat a great little ‘un. I not sure it entire translates to football, but on this occasion a team that emanated from the Land of the Giants eventually emerged victorious against a team from Lilliput.

I swear when K Sports brought on a player with number 37 on his back, you could only look on in bemusement as to how any lad could grow to that height and build by the age of 18.

Whilst Tonbridge Angels Under-18’s had been drawn at home in this Kent Cup Quarter Final, the pitch at Hadlow was unplayable and the game was switched to K Sports’ 3G surface at Cobdown.

K Sports took the lead after 10 minutes when a corner was met with a perfectly directed header from Harry Hudson, unfortunately into his own net.

The lead was only to last three minutes when good work down the left led to a cross that was turned goalwards by Saul Masungeyi but saved with the rebound also blocked before Charlie Bates found the net from close range.

The game had a good ebb and flow with both goalkeeper’s excelling until a ten minute spell turned the game firmly in K Sports’ favour.

After 27 minutes, the K Sports right winger pulled a pass back from the bye-line into the path of the centre forward whose powerfully hit shot went through the hands of Josh Leese and into the top corner.

Three minutes later the home side doubled their advantage when the centre forward was allowed to travel from the right side before cracking a shot into the bottom corner.

Four minutes later, it appeared that it was game over when K Sports’ height advantage was used to full effect as a corner was converted with a powerful header.

Tonbridge responded immediately to give themselves a foothold in the game when Bradley Austin headed a cross into the path of Masungeyi who beat the K Sports goalkeeper at his near post.

Austin had a shot tipped over and K Sports had a goal disallowed before the break as the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

Goalkeepers making saves, chances wasted in the opening 20 minutes of the second period before, with 15 minutes to go, Tonbridge gave themselves every chance of clawing this thrilling cup tie back into their grasp. Musengeyi surged down the right and pulled a cross back from the bye-line for Charlie Bowles to score from close range.

Four minutes later they were level when a ball into the box failed to be cleared and Jamie Drapper’s shot was deflected into the net.

Perhaps the momentum might have been with the Angels for the final 10 minutes but when another cross was swung into the box there was a K Sports head to direct the ball into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Leese.

Nick Ithier saw his effort turned aside whilst Leese also made a fine save as the semi-final berth remained in doubt to the final whistle.

Tonbridge Angels 1 Margate 1

Match 91/18/1684 - Saturday, 9th February 2019 - Bostik Premier

Tonbridge Angels (1) 1 Turner (pen) 27
Margate (0) 1 Swift 83
Attendance: 520

Admission: Season Ticket
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 38/5,312

Jim Rowe's report:

Margate belied their lowly league position to gain a valuable away point against play off contenders Tonbridge Angels to give their new joint manager Jay Saunders a reasonably positive start.

In truth, Angels lacked the intensity they had shown in recent games and over the 90 minutes a draw was probably a fair result.

After a quiet opening the game came to life in the 27th minute when a good move for the home side involving Jack Parter and Chinedu McKenzie forced Margate keeper Louis Wells to concede the corner. A second corner was then given away at which the visiting defender Ben Swift inexplicably handled with a penalty the inevitable result. Up stepped Joe Turner to put Tonbridge 1-0 up.

Margate did offer a response through Joseph Hungbo who forced a save out of Angels keeper Jonny Henly and a little later Kadell Daniel got round the back of the home defence with a dangerous low cross.

The 56th minute saw away skipper Liam Friend’s header go just over the bar while a minute later at the other end Adem Ramadan’s header was cleared off the line.

Chances fell to the home side through Tom Beere and Chinedu McKenzie but it was the corners and long throws of Margate that were starting to give problems for the Tonbridge defence.

Eventually in the 83rd minute the away side would profit through their aerial bombardment when Swift for the visitors was first to the ball and grabbed a deserved equaliser making full amends for conceding the 1st half penalty.

Afterwards, Angels boss, Steve McKimm said: “I’m not going to be too critical of the boys today. We’ve won 14 out of 18 points and with a small senior squad combined with a couple of injuries I’m not in a position to change things around too much. Some of them are running on empty - that all do full time jobs - and a couple of months ago it could have been a game we would have lost. We’ve managed however to pick up a valuable point.”

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Lewes A-A Tonbridge Angels

Wednesday, 6th February 2019 - Bostik Premier

Lewes (0) A
Tonbridge Angels (0) A
Attendance: TBC

Admission: £6 Senior
E-Programme: Free download
Mileage: 82/5,356

On whatever planet the referee saw this game reaching its conclusion it wasn’t the same one that I’m inhabiting.

From a first viewing at 18:30, after take note of a tweet saying the pitch had passed its inspection at around 18:20, it was obvious that with rain falling and forecast to fall even harder in the coming couple of hours that any start was going to be futile.

By the time the teams took to the pitch at 19:40, conditions had considerably worsened with a swathe of water through the central areas of the pitch. But the referee had made his decision and he was going through with it come hell or high water, of which the latter was obviously the more appropriate!

What ensued for nearly 40 minutes was farcical, but with some decent football that defied the elements.

The water made its first impression after six minutes when a good move between Tom Beere and Chinedu McKenzie ended with the ball getting stuck in an ever-widening puddle.

Three minutes later, Lewes’ ex-Angels goalkeeper Lewis Carey made a good save turning over a shot from Joe Turner and he followed up this with a save at his near post to deny Alex Read.

Lewes were not without their chances and Jonny Henly was employed to save from Kieron Pamment and the puddles showed equality when the ball was held up to hamper Luke Blewden’s effort.

After 31 minutes, ex-Angels’ favourite Blewden thought he had given his side the lead when he handled the ball into the net, but only received a yellow card for his trouble.

As the conditions became totally ridiculous, the referee’s attention was finally called to the sidelines from where he consulted with both benches but seemingly was asking that the match continue to the break, five minutes away. But after speaking with the captain’s and finally with his linesman, he signalled, thankfully, that the game had been abandoned.

I asked an FA official whether the decision had been the right one and when I adjusted the question to the only one he concurred. But, the highlight (for me) of the evening was Jonny Henly coming face-to-face with his chairman and with a broad smile asking whether there would be a clean sheet bonus!

King Henry 0 Hugh Christie 1

Match 90/18/1683 - Wednesday, 6th February 2019 - Kent Schools' FA

King Henry (0) 0
Hugh Christie (1) 1 Musengeyi 44
Headcount: 20 (who came and went at various times)

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 82/5,274

Tonbridge Angels’ Development side Hugh Christie visited their Phoenix Sports’ counterparts King Henry and continued the significant improvement that has been made since the heavy defeats of early season.

On a 3/4G surface that would be the envy of several non-league stadiums already carrying such a pitch, Hugh Christie dominated the game and should have run out clearer winners had their finishing not been so profligate.

King Henry enjoyed the better of the early moments with a couple of chances going high and wide and Joe Roberts forced into a save. But from around the quarter hour mark, Tonbridge seized the initiative and won a penalty when the referee saw a push in the area following a long throw from Sam Babayale. Tyler Richardson stepped up for the spot kick but his effort struck the crossbar with the rebound falling to Harry Watson, whose effort was brilliantly turned over by the Phoenix goalkeeper.

Far from becoming downhearted by the setback, the Angels redoubled their efforts and the Phoenix goalkeeper needed to be at his best to deny Adam Barden; shots from Saul Musengeyi went close and, from a Richardson free kick, Watson planted a header against the bar and Musengeyi struck a post.

In reply, Roberts had a couple of comfortable saves to make and Phoenix’s tall striker should have done better when sent clear.

Just as the clock was ticking down to the break, Tonbridge finally broke the deadlock. A fine through ball from Watson sent Musengeyi clear and this time he took his chance with a a well placed lob over the advancing goalkeeper.

Perhaps stung by a half-time talking-to from ex-Angel Liam King, Phoenix opened the second half forcing Roberts into a low save and a shot from a tricky right winger was wide. Tonbridge had the ball in the net after 55 minutes following a Richardson free kick but it was ruled out for reason unclear.

The visitors had a major let off after 63 minutes when the same winger was sent clear only to see his shot come back off the inside of a post and into the grateful arms of Roberts.

The second period continued with a litany of missed chances for the Angels coupled with some good goalkeeping that saw substitute Brad Needham denied and Watson unfortunately unable to add his name to the scoresheet which would have been much deserved.

Tempers became frayed into the time added as Hugh Christie saw the time out largely in the home side’s half and it was to Needham that the final chance fell drawing another save from the keeper.

One defeat in seven games has seen Hugh Christie propel themselves away from the foot of the table.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Eastbourne Borough Academy 1 Tonbridge Angels Academy 7

Match 89/18/1682 - Wednesday, 30th January 2019 - National Academies League

Eastbourne Borough (0) 1
Tonbridge Angels (3) 7 Lambert 22, Bartlett 29,54,58 Snowden-Lewis 34,63,65 (pen)
Headcount: 11

Admission: Free
Programme: None
Mileage: 66/5,192

Twenty-five or so prospective students attended the Tonbridge Angels' Academy open evening on Wednesday with a view to making up next year’s intake. Those young men will have to aspire to a bar that has been set high by the group that have contested the Angels’ debut Academy season.

The overall aim of Tom Parkinson’s project is to produce players who might go on to earn first team football at Tonbridge, or anywhere else, whilst getting a solid academic education. League position might not be voiced as a priority but the reality is that this group have given themselves a serious chance of a top three finish, an outstanding effort.

This game was played at Eastbourne Borough’s first team stadium at Priory Lane and the Angels’ Academy side immediately revelled in the fine facility. Despite having put five past the hosts in the reverse fixture at the beginning of the season, an awkward encounter against the hosts who had shown improvement recently was expected.

But Tonbridge seized the initiative from the opening whistle and by the time they opened the scoring after 22 minutes, Ned Snowden-Lewis had cracked a fine effort against the crossbar and Leo Deere had the ball in the net only to be ruled out for offside.

So it came as no surprise when Jacob Lambert curled a good effort into the top corner to put the Angels one-up. Eastbourne literally had no forward momentum and only their goalkeeper stood between them and a first half pasting.

A wonderful move involving three or four swift-passing Tonbridge players down the left eventually opened an opportunity for Rhys Bartlett who fired in a great shot between the goalkeeper and his near post. A well taken goal that embellished the move that had presented the chance.

Deere hit a post and immediately afterwards another slick move this time between Lambert and Bartlett ended with Snowden-Lewis rounding the goalkeeper for the Angels third.

After 37 minutes with the head having been turned in just one direction, Eastbourne finally brought Tommy Taylor into action advancing to smother the ball at a forward’s feet and the Angels keeper needed to be alert to save at his near post five minutes later.

Normal service was resumed at the beginning of the second half with the Eastbourne goalkeeper saving from Bartlett and Deere before a Zak Wolvey cross from the right was converted by Bartlett. With that goal the hosts heads dropped and, following an embarrassing mix-up from a throw-in, Bartlett had a tap-in for his hat-trick and Tonbridge’s fifth.

Bartlett sent Snowden-Lewis clear for the sixth and two minutes later he was brought down for a penalty which he con converted himself to register his hat-trick.

Following a poor clearance, the Eastbourne inside-right was clear to register a consolation goal, much too the annoyance of Taylor.

No goals, but plenty of opportunities, were added in the final 20 minutes with Bartlett alone having five efforts on goal.

Tonbridge’s Academy moved up to third place in the table following Sutton United’s defeat at second placed Bromley.

Ned and Regan sign first team forms