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Hollands and Blair 3
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4 Tonbridge Angels U15
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Hartley (), Sargent (,), Wolvey ()

Sunday 15th September saw the U15’s take on their second game of the season, and another journey to Medway to take on Holland’s and Blair FC. A side who always work hard and are never easy opposition. 

With 4 changes from the starting line up the previous week, it took the Angels some time to get going , and after only 5 minutes on the clock were behind, after some good defending from full back Mason Nicholls , his set back to Joe Wallis was cleared into the shins of Blair striker , rebounding into the bottom corner. 

Despite a poor start the Angels quickly composed themselves getting a couple of long ranged efforts away. On 9 minutes the blues found themselves level, a throw in from the right found striker Fin Hartley who’s quick feet found him half a yard to strike, his effort dropped by the GK to the feet of CM Harry Sargent to stab home. 

After the goal came Angels were clearly the more dominant side with GK Matt Larkin not seeing any action at all in the first 10 minutes other than the goal! On 12 minutes the Angels had a golden chance to go ahead, the ball dropped to attacking midfielder Fin Wolvey in the centre of the park, instinctively hooking the ball in behind to forward Charlie Gilbert who lashed his one v one effort over the bar. However this didn’t stop Angels from going ahead as 3 minutes later the ball was in the back of the net. And a superb way to do it with the most well worked goal of the game. A free kick swung in by Blair was claimed in commanding fashion by keeper Matt Larkin, quick thinking from the keeper saw his kick find the feet of Fin Hartley who was able to bring it down and feed Charlie Gilbert down the right hand side , his cross goal pass found late arriving Harry Sargent who notched his second of the game. 

Just five minutes later in a goal crazy first half Blair were level , a sharp precise move from the back saw Angels into midfield before the referee blocked our forward pass inadvertently dropping to the feet of Blair midfield who lashed home a rocket of a strike from 25 yards!! (Worth noting under new laws, the ball striking the ref and changing possession should have resulted in a drop ball to the Angels!). 

Feeling a little hard done by already, the next 5 minutes only got worse for the Angels, 2 minutes later Matt Larkin was forced into a good save at his near post after giving away cheap possession at the back. On 30 minutes the ball ran harmlessly through to GK Matt Larkin with on rushing striker attempting to challenge, CB Joe Wallis shielded the ball sensibly through to his goalkeeper , only for the referee to take offence and award a ridiculous penalty! The Blair striker stepped up to slot home . 

Most teams at this point would have capitulated completely, but Angels weren’t to be denied today! Seemingly with everything against them , on a bobbly tough pitch, and a ref seemingly fancying a Blair victory... they were hungry to get back into the game. And on 35 minutes they were unlucky not to be level, a great moving sucking the Blair side in to create space behind saw Fin Hartley’s lobbed effort narrowly wide. He wasn’t to be denied right on the stroke of HT however as Fin Wolvey pounded on a defensive mistake to slide Fin Hartley through who’s effort found the top corner! 

AND.....BREATH!!! 

3 changes at half time saw the Angels start with energy and enthusiasm, a training ground move after 45 minutes from our own goal kick saw us play through Joe Wallis at centre back into full back Alfie Dennis creating a midfield overload allowing Wolvey to turn and found Isaac Barden who was a constant threat in the second half who found his shot blocked! 

By far the best move of the game with Angels willing to play their own game on a pitch that didn’t allow much passing! From the resulting corner it was Barden again who rose highest to see his header narrowly wide! Angels on top and really testing Blair’s resolve. A much better second half defensive performance saw Blair grow frustrated early on, giving away a cheap free kick 40 yards out, a thunderous effort from Joe Wallis hit the cross bar only to see Ron Little miss an open goal on the follow up! 

With chances going begging you just wondered if it was going to be one of those days ! That was until the 58th minute when Angels had a throw on the half way line, up steps Mike Hollamby who took one touch on his chest and delivered the most beautiful channel ball you’re ever likely to see!! Max Lambert’s first touch was straight into the box where he was fouled and awarded a penalty. Up steps Fin Wolvey, deadly from the spot, stepped up to dispatch home, despite looking nervous after missing his last penalty in pre season! 4-3 Angels. 

The shape of the game didn’t change throughout the second half with Angels chances a plenty. Matt Larkin made one save in the second 40 minutes getting down low to prevent Blair from a tight angle. Angels now pushing for a 5th to kill the game, another pin point delivery from Wolvey found the head of substitute Rockie Burke who headed over from 6 yards. More half chances followed for the Angels who sat back and let Blair have deep possession with a chance of shape saw the 3 points rightfully heading back to Longmead. 

A superb second half display defensively in a half where we could have scored 5/6. A gritty , determined performance which could have gone the other way after some dubious officiating , full credit to the players who handled themselves brilliantly throughout! 

That’s now 2 wins from 2 equalling our win tally from last season already after 2 games (20 played last season). A fantastic achievement , and a show of how far we’ve come! MOM Harry Sargent, was at the forefront of everything we did in the attacking third and his energy and desire helped us through the last 10 minutes too! 2 goals for the vice captain! 


Published Friday 20th September 2019