Three straight red cards and two penalty awards were the main talking points in a Cup tie that threatened an upset but in the end went the way of the higher placed club Tonbridge Angels. They had to do it the hard way coming from behind with 10 men for much of the game.
After just 14 minutes Angels central defender Sonny Miles was shown a straight red for violent play. With home skipper Tom Parkinson forced to drop to the back line Tonbridge lost some of their creativity in the centre and that allowed Whyteleafe to gradually take control of proceedings.
Most of the visitors’ best moves were coming through Daniel Hector and it was no surprise when the midfielder stepped up to have a go himself with a 20 yarder that beat Angels keeper Jonathan Henly in the 37th minute.
Although Eddie-Louis Dsane went close for the visitors in the 48th minute the home side came more into the game as the second half progressed with Tom Beere pulling the strings in midfield Both Craig Stone and Alex Read went close and one felt a goal for the home side was coming.
Despite a chance for Whyteleafe through Scott Day in the 68th minute it was indeed the Angels who scored next through Read following up his saved penalty in the 81st minute awarded for handball on the line by Matthew O’Donoghue who was sent to the dressing room for his efforts.
The game was won for the home side when Liam King was tripped by Harrison Carnegie in the 90th minute. The Tonbridge substitute had executed a great lay off to Turner whose accurate pass put King completely in the clear. In truth it was an easy decision for the referee to award the spot kick and send Carnegie off as last man. With regular penalty taker Read off by now, Turner took the responsibility and whilst perhaps a little too near the ‘keeper for comfort the pace of the shot took it under the diving Tyler McCarthy and Angels into the hat for the 2nd Qualifying Rround.
Afterwards, Angels First Team Coach, Justin Luchford said: “Obviously the early red card didn’t help us too much and we had to get to half time with at least a foothold in the game. We re-organised a bit during the break and despite being a man down I thought we were much more in control. We got the breakthrough with the first penalty award and that’s what hungry strikers like Readie do – follow in their efforts to make sure.”