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Merstham 0
3 Tonbridge Angels
Small (15'), Jones (37' og), Read (49')

Angels begin campaign with win at Merstham

Angels cruised to an opening win in their 2018/19 campaign overcoming Merstham 3-0 at the Specsavers Stadium in a match that as soon as the first goal went in, the final result never seemed in doubt.

Central defender Arthur Lee, midfielder Tom Beere and striker Alex Reid particularly caught the eye for the visitors but in truth the entire team in blue played with a vigour and intensity that quite simply was always going to make it a long afternoon for the hosts. That afternoon got even longer for the Moatsiders when with all substitutions made one of their players suffered concussion and had to leave the field resulting in a 10 minute delay and a reduction in personnel.

Joe Turner and Jack Parter were already causing problems for Merstham on the left flank when on 15 minutes the former put in yet another cross which perhaps Chris Haig in the home side’s goal should have dealt with, but it meant that Jared Small was able with a looping header to find the back of the net and open the visitors account.

The tally should have been doubled when after great work from Parter working the ball along the bye line saw his low cross quite literally flash along the Merstham goal line but there was no Tonbridge player able to apply what would have been a tap in.

On 32 minutes a brilliantly delivered Beere free kick was just about dealt with by the Merstham defence but there was only another six minutes to wait for the next Tonbridge goal. This time goalscorer Small turned provider when his well placed cross was diverted by Jelan Jones into his own goal.

The goal of the game came in the 49th minute when following great build up play between Beere and James Folkes, Read got his competitive goal tally underway with a shot that was always going to beat Haig. Assistant coach, Barry Moore said afterwards “Readie is the kind of player who may only get one clear cut chance during a game but he’s more than capable of taking that chance.”

The remainder of the game saw constant Tonbridge pressure that saw a Sonny Miles header hit the Moatsiders crossbar, another header this time from Lee but dealt with by Haig, and a Joe Turner shot that brought out a fabulous save from the Merstham stopper.

As the game reached its final stages and with Merstham now down to 10 men there were two chances for Folkes, and following a long period of Tonbridge possession football an ambitious Turner attempt that flew past the Merstham goal.

Published Thursday 18th April 2019