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Bishop's Stortford 3
Worman (17'), Cureton (29'), Renee (88')
4 Tonbridge Angels
Turner (9', 50'), McKenzie (47', 69')

Angels up to 8th

Angels supporters were treated to something of a rollercoaster ride with something of a nervy conclusion but the fact that Tonbridge finished with all the points is testament to the fact they have found a goalscoring touch and are a more resilient than just a few weeks back. Finding themselves in potential losing positions they now seem to have the confidence to fight their way back into the game.

Unbeaten in 2019 with seven points out of nine, there is once again hope that there can at least be the promise of an exciting end to the season which around Christmas had seemed almost impossible. So what’s brought about the change? The arrival of Chinedu McKenzie to the club has allowed Steve McKimm to play two up front and has taken the pressure of Alex Read which has at the same time improved his game. McKenzie himself is a genuine handful for defenders with his somewhat unpredictable style and gives his defence the opportunity of selecting to play the ball long in the knowledge that one of the two strikers are likely to press the opposition. It may not always be pretty but it does seem to bring results.

Paradoxically, it was neither of the aforementioned who were involved in the first goal for the visitors but rather Joe Turner who tirelessly worked the flanks and took the opportunity of striking a free kick just outside the area from wide straight into the goal in the 9th minute. There was suggestion that the ball may have taken a touch off a defender but it never altered the flight and the goal was finally and correctly awarded to Turner.

It was however too much to expect that this was going to be an easy afternoon for the Angels. Bishop’s Stortford were on level terms by the 17th minute when Ben Warman tried a shot from 20 yds. It was a good decision as the effort was on target, low, and bounced slightly just in front of Jonny Henly to end up in the far corner of the net.

Just 12 minutes later the Angels were behind when a James Folkes clearance unfortunately fell to Ryan Charles whose accurate cross evaded Henly and there was Jamie Cureton at the back post with a straightforward side foot to put his side in front.

Despite winning the first period there was evidence to suggest that the Bishop’s Stortford defence was struggling to clear crosses whether they be from dead ball situations or open play and the visitors were to ruthlessly expose this frailty in the second half.

The 47th minute saw Tom Parkinson head Joe Turner’s cross back across goal for McKenzie to place the ball past the host’s goalkeeper Arthur Janata for the equaliser. Just two minutes later the Angels saw their lead restored when Turner claimed his second bursting through and giving Janata no chance with the shot that followed excellent work from McKenzie keeping alive a Tonbridge attack.

The visitors were well on top at this point and when following a long throw in the 67th minute by Arthur Lee headed on by Parkinson with McKenzie applying the finishing touch it looked as if it could be an embarrassing afternoon for the home side.

But football is often not that straightforward and despite the Angels looking the likelier to add to the goals tally, an 88th minute strike for the home side through Johnvile Renee meant a nervous last 7 minutes for the visitors with Jamie Cureton missing a decent chance deep in stoppage time.

Afterwards, Angels Assistant Manager Barry Moore said: “We did our homework on them and identified they were weak on defending crosses. We’ve got the ball up quickly to the front guys, it’s not always pretty but that’s the way we need to play just now. Our forwards were constantly pressing the opposition and we were able to do some of our defensive work from the front.”

Published Friday 19th April 2019