Academy just edged out by strong Dover side
Report from Wink Tomkinson
Despite a really gutsy performance in stifling heat from the Academy they slipped to a single goal defeat against a physically intimidating Dover Athletic side that boasted seven players six feet or more in height.
Right from the outset, Dover dominated the possession and Nat Gibb made a brilliant save after five minutes and another at his near post four minutes later. The Angels were finding it tough to get a foothold in the game and rode their luck in the 15th minute when the Dover right winger struck a post and after 20 minutes the same player saw his shot come back from the underside of the crossbar.
These early stages were a struggle for Chester Smith up against such an electric player but to his credit he worked him out and managed to contain his threat later in the game.
A splendid pass from Luca Woodhouse offered Keiarn Corner the Angels first opportunity but his shot went wide and, on the half hour, it was Corner that was brought down in the box for a penalty, which unfortunately the normally reliable Ned Lewis put wide of the post.
Within a minute another penalty was given, this time at the other end and somewhat harshly for a handball by Sam Babayale. But, once again the taker failed to convert as Gibb saved from the Dover winger.
Gibb was having a busy spell saving well in quick succession on two occasions.
Eventually, Dover’s dominance told as three minutes from the break the home centre forward scored from close range.
The opening minutes of the second period brought Gibb into action once more saving well from Dover’s number 10 but the Angels coffered a threat of their own with a surge forward from Corner that was ended with his shot blocked.
Tonbridge thought they had equalised after an hour when a lofted free kick from Lewis mishandled by the goalkeeper with appeals that the ball had crossed the line turned away by the officials.
Whilst the heat took its toll in the final half hour both sides had chances, Tonbridge’s coming when 16-year-old Fin Hartley racing clear but steering his shot wide.
There can be no argument that Dover were good value for their win but manager Tom Parkinson was very pleased with the application and endeavour of his young side.
Team : Nat Gibb; Kian Austin, Sam Babayale, Harry Hudson, Chester Smith; Ben Twist, Luca Woodhouse, Cameron Wootton; Ben Hermitage, Keiarn Corner, Ned Lewis. Subs: 59’ Fin Hartley for Wootton; 70’ Shea Brennan for Ben Twist; 63’ Leo Vowles for Ben Hermitage