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Chatham Town 2
4 Tonbridge Angels U16
Hartley (,), Wolvey (), Little ()

U15s off to winning start

This Sunday saw the U15’s begin their 3rd Kent Youth League season away to Chatham Town on the brand new 4G pitch laid this summer. A real tough season opener to negotiate. 

The Angels got off to a flyer in which looked like an open game from the off. On just 5 minutes a corner by Finley Wolvey was cleared back out to Wolvey himself who chopped the on rushing defender before delivering a whipped cross to forward Max Lambert who’s two attempts were well saved by the Chats GK before Fin Hartley was on hand to tap home the rebound. 

The game began to settle after a frantic end to end game. With Chatham clear game plan to get in behind our defence with long balls to a direct and powerful front three, our defence knew they’d be in for a tough game. However defended the first 30 minutes admirably. On 30 minutes the Angels had a throw in 15 yards from their own goals , a complete lapse in concentration saw the throw land at the feet of former Angels player and now Chatham striker who despatched confidentially. 

Chatham pushed on strong for the next 5 minutes with no reward, with the Angels side getting back into their stride immediately. With 35 minutes left on the clock the Angels who had found space difficult to find so far managed to work the ball out from the back into Fin Hartley on the left side of the pitch with sharp passing. Hartley cut inside the Chats full back to find central midfielder Fin Wolvey on the right hand side from 30 yards out, a touch to compose and the second touch was a rocket of a strike into the far left top corner. An unbelievable strike which put the Angels 2-1 up at half time. Not before the Chats had one final chance to level before half time as they raced away 3v1 from an Angels corner , full back Alfie Dennis saved the day with some heroic defending to keep Chatham out. 2-1 Angels at half time. 

The first 10 minutes of the second half started quietly with very little chances from either side, the occasional long range effort from both sides were dealt with comfortably by either keeper. However the Angels were showing more desire and more hunger to win than the Chats. Angels were managing the game superbly knowing that as long as they could hold firm that they would win the game. On 50 minutes Angels drew a free kick just inside the Chatham half , centre back Joe Wallis drove a ball towards the Chatham goal which was met at pace by his centre back partner Ron Little with a delicate finish any striker would have been proud of! 3-1 Angels . 

Now cruising and putting their foot on the pedal Angels were finding chances easier to come by with Chatham pushing 4 players up front in search of the comeback. Another wide free kick for the Angels again delivered by Wallis on 55 minutes was met by the head of Max Lambert who found the back of the net, Angels were however denied by a dubious offside call from the Chats linesman. 

Just two minutes later the Angels were denied a clear goalscoring opportunity again when striker Rockie Burke was called offside despite running passed the Chatham defender. This didn’t stop the Angels from pushing on for more as Burke chased down a loose ball , out muscling the Chatham defender only to see his effort blocked by the keeper on 62 minutes. Missed chances were now of vital importance as 3 minutes later Joe Wallis failed to clear after believing he should have had a free kick awarded in his own 18 yard box before the Chatham winger raced through to score. 

With 15 minutes remaining the Angels were faced with an onslaught of long balls directed to the 4 or 5 Chatham players awaiting one more chance. The Angels ended up in a 5-4-1 formation looking to see the game out and defend their lead. It was almost attack vs defence , with the defence holding strong. GK Matt Larkin didn’t have to make a save within the onslaught which is a credit to the 11 players in front who through their bodies, heads and anything they could at the ball to see the game out. 

With just 2 minutes remaining and Chats becoming desperate , they conceded a free kick high up the pitch . With Angels looking to keep their lead in tact, Fin Hartley cut a lonesome figure playing up against 4 Chatham defenders. However a sliced clearance saw Hartley one on one with the keeper and slotting cooly towards the bottom corner! Not our best footballing display but a real effective, gutsy performance with quality when needed. 3 points secured and well deserved. A really tough fixture but Angels really deserved the points and would have been very unfortunate not to claim the victory! And on another day could have been much more comfortable. 

MOM - Ron Little and Joe Wallis ...one of the best central defensive performances you’re ever likely to see , dealt with everything thrown at them . Little with a goal and Wallis with 2 assists shows that they not only contributed defensively but going forwards too.

Published Friday 13th September 2019 (last updated Monday 16th September 2019)