Angels U16s gain creditable draw in opener
Angels u16s kicked off the league season at the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium with a tough fixture against K Sports. The u16s are still looking to bring in a striker, having lost both forwards from last season but kicked off with a strong team and are hoping to avoid the injuries of last season.
Angels came out of the blocks on fire on a superb longmead pitch and were very unlucky not to open the scoring after 5 minutes, good work from Howie fed Balcombe who hit a great shot that the keeper managed to tip wide. Angels dominated the opening 20 minutes, Tyrie winning a couple of hefty 50/50 challenges and Kent picking up the pieces. Exall, Howie and Nott were really starting to combine well now. Howie then whistling a shot inches past the post and Balcombe bringing another good save from the keeper. Angels were causing problems from set plays and corners too, Austin’s superb deliveries into the box unlucky not to bring the opener, Hazelwood and Henley going close.
For all Angels early dominance K Sports have some very dangerous players on the break and started to look threatening down the right Austin, Hazelwood and Henley making some great tackles to prevent K Sports getting in behind. K Sports pressed with a front three very well not allowing Angels to play their customary football from the back but Gibb’s kicking was immense, putting the K Sports defence under real pressure. Nott and Exall were really starting to buzz now, Exall playing with a real sense of freedom and confidence glided past two players, nutmegged a third, played the ball inside to Nott who unselfishly squared brilliantly for Howie to fire home. It was a fantastic goal and a touch of real class from Exall whose smile lit up the stadium. Angels came in at half time very unlucky not to be more than 1-0 up.
Angels decided not to make changes at half time but a number of players were starting to look leggy having put in big performances on the Longmead pitch, Angels looking a real threat down the right side and Balcombe put in a couple of lung busting runs again lucky not to get through one on one on goal. Balcombe was then replaced by Wates and Kent by Raffelt. Henley and Hazelwood continued to look rock solid at the back and the one time K Sports managed to get in behind Smith read the danger and made an amazing tackle but took a very hefty kick to the face and was forced off with a bleeding nose.
K Sports were now starting to dominate possession, Howie continued to work tirelessly upfront to hold the ball up but K Sports were dominant in possession but couldn’t behind the Angels defence. Then from a K Sports corner Tyrie could only managed to flick the ball on going down with cramp and from the resulting scuffle K Sports managed to force the ball home at the back post for the equaliser. It was a bitter blow and more changes were forced, Tyrie and Exall off with Murphy and Judd coming on. K Sports with their tails up soon got a second a great cross from the right and a fine finish. Gibb then pulling off a great one on one save from a fantastic run from Jake Dallas.
Angels through everything into the final 10 minutes, Judd and Murphy combining well and Murphy firing agonisingly past the post. Smith back on then won a foul after a great run but was sent to the sin bin for decent, Angels now down to 10 Howie continued to chase everything down, Angels throwing balls into the box Howie flicking onto Kent who was pulled back for an Angels penalty. Up stepped Howie who had been superb all game and nonchalantly slotted into the top corner. Angels now down to 10 men and K Sports threw everything forward but Angels again broke through Judd who was cynically scythed down, the K Sports player picking up his second booking and it was now 10 against 10 both teams going for the winner but the game ending 2-2.
Team – Gibb, Smith, Henley, Hazelwood, Austin, Kent, Tyrie, Balcombe, Nott, Exall, Howie, Wates, Raffelt, Judd, Murphy
Next week the team face Ashford last season Kent Cup winners and runner up in the league.