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Tonbridge Angels Academy 2
3 Maidstone United Ambers
Academy Elite 2 v Maidstone Utd Ambers 3 02.02.22.

Parkinson ‘Maidstone were the better side’

Report and picture : Wink Tomkinson

The Academy came off second best in a physical encounter with Maidstone United in which full back Kian Austin was stretchered off towards the end of the first half. Hopefully, first indications are that Kian’s injury might not be as bad as first feared. 

A scrappy game, not helped by some inconsistent refereeing, suited a physically stronger Maidstone side in which, for the second time in a fortnight, Nathan Jeche put an Angels team to the sword with a couple of goals. 

In fairness, Maidstone started the game on the front foot and retained control of it for the most part of a first half that was punctuated by endless free kicks.  

Tonbridge’s best chance of the opening period came on 16 minutes when Joe Tyrie headed just wide from a corner but three minutes later it was the Stones who took the lead when a left channel ball sent Jeche clear to round the advancing Angels goalkeeper, Nat Gibb and steer the ball into the unguarded net. 

Austin’s injury came around the half-hour mark when Gibb appeared to have the ball kicked from his hands, but with the referee allowing play to continue, a scramble in front of goal ensued in which Austin took his knock. A stoppage of around 10 minutes followed as both trainers tended the stricken defender before he was stretchered away with the game restarting with a Maidstone corner.

Four minutes before the break, Tonbridge had the ball in the net only for the goal to be disallowed. A pass from Shea Brennan set Fin Hartley away to cross into a crowded area, a first time shot from close range was brilliantly saved by Harley Earle with the rebound being blasted home by Ben Hermitage who was adjudged to have been in an offside position. 

The Angels youngsters got off to a great start to the second half and were on level terms within four minutes when a corner from Hermitage found Tyrie whose header back across the face of goal found fellow defender Tom Green to rifle an unstoppable shot past Earle. 

But the joy was to last barely two minutes as from a free kick, a header struck the crossbar before being cleared, but from the resultant corner, the cross evaded Gibb and Jeche was on hand to nod in a close range header.

At this point, neither team were able to command the game and both goalkeepers were required to make relatively comfortable saves before Earle made a particularly good stop to deny Josh McArthur and as the desperate search for an equaliser continued, the resolute Maidstone defence withstood efforts from Fin Hartley and Ben Twist.

On 74 minutes, some sleepy defending from Tonbridge, allowed a free kick to be passed into space and on to Jack Muir who converted a well-worked goal to leave the Angels with an uphill task for the last quarter-hour. 

There was plenty of endeavour from the Angels to retrieve the situation and when they reduced the deficit with seven minutes remaining with a goal from McArthur they gave themselves some hope but Maidstone continued to defend manfully and, despite an extended period of time added, an equaliser was not to come.

Tommy Parkinson in a honest appraisal of the game commented afterwards that “this was a result that has been coming as performances have taken a big drop since Christmas. Maidstone were the better side and it was men against boys for the large part.”


Published Wednesday 2nd February 2022 (last updated Thursday 3rd February 2022)