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East Grinstead Town 3
0 Tonbridge Angels U18
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Disappointing evening for U18s

The Under-18’s slipped to a disappointing defeat in their Isthmian Youth League game at East Grinstead. It was a strange game in which the Angels dominated the first half but went into the break a goal down and conceded two goals in a couple of minutes midway through a second half in which they literally failed to get going.

On another cold evening and on a hard, frost-bound pitch, the players studs sounded a bit like the hoofs horses charging past.

For the best part of the first half-hour, Tonbridge played some attractive football and created some good chances. Haydn Velvick saw a shot deflected to safety after eight minutes and on 21 minutes, East Grinstead managed to survive as firstly the goalkeeper saved well from Velvick; the follow-up from Fin Wolvey was blocked with the returned shot from Harry London narrowly going wide.

Four minutes later Wolvey attempted an audacious lob from the right but was thwarted as the goalkeeper touched the ball onto the crossbar and over.

But, it’s goals that win games, and with their first attack and a route one pass over the top that sent the East Grinstead #14 clear to finish well past the advancing Matt Larkin.

Tonbridge continued to dominate the half but apart from a free kick from Wolvey, the goalkeeper was not really stretched.

If they Angels went into the break scratching their heads as to how they found themselves a goal down, they would be completely nonplussed as to why they “disappeared” in the second period.

Certainly the loss of skipper Harry London had a significant bearing on the second half performance in which the fluency of the first half hour was lost. 

Chances were still created with the home goalkeeper, who had a very good game, saving well from George Theis after 53 minutes and brilliantly from Velvick, readjusting after a deflection on 67 minutes.

But, once more, a route one pass saw the East Grinstead #2 lob the ball over Larkin to double the home side’s lead after 67 minutes and two minutes later it was game over as the EG #3 cut in from the left to bury a shot into the far corner for 3-0.

It summed up the Angels frustrating evening when Velvick’s shot came back off the underside of the bar straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.

The Angels youngsters struggled in the last 20 minutes to gain any momentum and East Grinstead finished the game by far the stronger and might well have added to the score from several reasonable chances.

A disappointed Dom Welsh commented after the game, “it was a strange game and a very indifferent performance from us.”



Published Friday 21st January 2022