Angels U18s through to 3rd Round of Isthmian Youth League Cup
Report and Picture : Wink Tomkinson
Tonbridge Angels Under-18’s progressed in the Third Round of the Isthmian Youth League Cup with a hard fought win against an equally impressive Hastings United side. It was a compelling contest with no quarter asked, none given with a couple of stunning free kick goals to further illuminate the game.
The game started as it intended to go on with a first minute chance for the Angels that Max Lambert put wide before Hastings grasped the early dominance that led to a ninth minute lead through Dominic Corbin after a corner from the right had been headed on at the near post for the Hastings man to head home at the far.
Hastings drew confidence from the goal and, with a great work ethic, that for 20 minutes the Angels struggled to match, the chances fell to the East Sussex side.
But slowly the Angels, now matching their visitors with every stride began to wrest control with Finlay McLeod bringing a fine save from goalkeeper Ben Spicer.
Matt Larkin, in the Angels goal, was pressed into action saving well from Finley Chapman with the follow-up effort going wide.
Tonbridge got themselves level after 38 minutes when a superb through ball from Felix Waring sent McLeod clear to slip the ball under the advancing Spicer.
The half-time whistle brought down the curtain on a very good half but the second half proved a cracker!
Lambert drew a good, low save from Spicer and a couple of minutes later Larkin did similarly from a Hastings free kick and so the tempo was set.
On the hour, the Angels got their noses in front when Zach Garcia, dubbed the “Ginger Pele” by this team mates, curled a 20 yard free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
At this point in the match, Tonbridge held the ascendancy and, after 65 minutes, they thought they had doubled their advantage, but a very tight offside decision denied Lambert’s strike. But the energetic Lambert was not to be denied on 75 minutes when he chased down a back pass and while the goalkeeper dithered with the ball at his feet, the impact of Lambert’s tackle took the ball into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
If the Angels youngsters thought that was game over their visiting counterparts were having none of it and three minutes later, from a 25 yard free kick, Chapman drove the ball into the top corner to set up a frantic, enthralling finish.
Both sides had their half-chances but deep into injury time, when a header from a free kick was collected by Larkin there was a collective sigh of relief as the referee called a halt on a highly entertaining evening.
Dominic Welsh was obviously delighted with his team’s effort commenting after the game: “Excellent win tonight. Disciplined and determined are the words! We had a game plan that the lads 100% adhered too and that brought an outstanding result against a strong Hastings United side.”