Tonbridge advanced to the next round of the Kent Senior Cup thanks to an Alex Read hat-trick, but they had to work for the win against a committed Sittingbourne, writes Max Meads.
McKimm fielded a similar squad to Saturday, with skipper Tom Parkinson missing due to a head injury. Former Angel Nathan Elder was named among Sittingbourne’s subs.
The Angels started well, and action was not far away, with a penalty given in the 3rd minute, which Alex Read slotted into the bottom left. A second penalty was given eight minutes later, but Read was unable to put the Angels 2-0 up.
Craig Stone was subbed off for Joe Turner in the 13th as an injury precaution. Sittingbourne were struggling in the first 25; the Angels had the lion’s share of final-third action, with the few Sittingbourne chances seen to easily.
Post-25, Sittingbourne came alive, with a handful of corners testing the Angels. Tonbridge came close again after a Liam King header rattled the post in the 38th.
In the 45th minute, a Sittingbourne free-kick was cleared by Miles, but the resulting cross led to a clash of Angels in the air, allowing Izzy Adebayu to put the first goal past Henly since preseason on the stroke of half-time.
The Angels came into the second half slightly brighter, with a couple of corners challenging Sittingbourne. Tonbridge’s second goal came in the 49th, after a Harry Brooks error gifted Read a tap-in.
A relatively even 10 minutes followed, with 2 good chances by Read answered with two equally good Sittingbourne chances. A contentious foul was called in the 52nd- King and Read were running on goal, but the referee elected to stop play.
In the 57th minute, a third penalty was given to the Angels after Read was brought down in the box. Read finished his hat trick with a cool finish into the bottom right.
Soon after, Sittingbourne were ruled offside, with Henly committing to an athletic diving parry to clear the ball. Shortly following, however, Johan Caney-Bryan made it 3-2.
Nathan Elder was subbed on in the 80th to cheers from both sets of fans, and came close just two minutes later. The Angels had some good chances in the final minutes, but none made it in.
Angels gaffer Steve McKimm said after the match, ‘Our first 25 minutes were excellent. If we played it right we could have been 3 or 4 up at half time, but we didn’t and we paid for it, going into half time at 1-1. I’m pleased we made it to the next round, but it was a hard fought game and the players know they didn’t do their best.’