Log in or Register
Tonbridge Angels 2
Greenidge (45', 56')
4 Bracknell Town
Sanders (3'), Miles (23' og), Esprit (49'), Grant (73')
Jordan Greenidge scores the first of his brace against Bracknell

FA Trophy Exodus for Angels

Bracknell Town of Southern League Premier dispatched their National South hosts Tonbridge Angels in some style with a fine display of attacking football and the result never really in doubt.  In fact it was the second time this campaign that the Angels were to go out of the two prestigious FA knock out competitions at the very first attempt.  Once again it was a team from Berkshire that did the damage and managed by the two personnel that were in charge at Binfield FC at the time of the Angels very brief flirtation with the FA Cup back in September. 

Surely Angels could improve on that disastrous performance in the World's oldest knock out competition?  The omens were not good when as early as the 3rd minute they fell behind following a surging run by Esprit which should have been suppressed with Grant and then Sanders combining to open the score.

The first chance for the home side fell to Golding in the 10th minute following a cross from Turner but it was still Bracknell making most of the running with that man Esprit continuing to catch the eye.                         

In the 23rd minute the Robins doubled their advantage following a free kick from the right side that should have been dealt with by the Angels defence but the ball ended up in the back of the net from what looked suspiciously like an own goal but was nevertheless awarded to Grant.  No one was arguing.

There followed chances for Angels most notably an effort from Hinds and a header from Swift just over the bar.  At the other end, Man of the Match Esprit forced Henly into a save with his legs       

As the referee started to check his watches for the half time break Tonbridge suddenly appeared to have perhaps found a way back into the game grabbing a goal on the stroke of half time through new loan signing Greenidge converting a Turner cross. 

Two minutes after the restart the defining moment in the game occurred when Golding for the home side saw his header cannon off the crossbar.  If that had gone in does it become a different game?  We will never know and a minute after that normal service was resumed when Esprit scored with a fine strike although once again the Angels defence was found wanting. 

Greenidge did manage to grab a second goal for the hosts on 56 minutes but the impressive thing about Bracknell was that they didn't panic or park the bus, but quite simply put their efforts into getting back that two goal cushion and making the game safe.  This they achieved in the 73rd minute through Grant and from that point they never looked back. There were a couple of Angels chances for Collins but it was Bracknell who looked the likelier to extend the score line with Platt, Esprit's replacement hitting the woodwork in the 83rd minute.               

As a few Angels supporters started to drift towards the exits with the commencement of stoppage time, everyone of a Tonbridge persuasion was left scratching their heads as to why their team could perform such heroics at previously unbeaten Ebbsfleet the Saturday before, but today put in such a limp performance.        

Make no mistake Bracknell fully deserved their win but Angels were architects of their own downfall.   As a home supporter quipped at the final whistle with dark humour  "Well in terms of knock out competitions, there's always the Kent Senior Cup!"    

Angels Boss, Jay Saunders said afterwards: “I can’t defend the players, we didn’t do the basics well enough to win a game of football. Not taking anything away from Bracknell, they were four really poor goals to concede.”

Photo by Wesley Filtness. Tonbridge Angels photographs can be found at www.wezpix.com

Published Saturday 19th November 2022 (last updated Sunday 20th November 2022)