U18's finish home schedule with a fine win
Tonbridge Angels Under-18’s signed off their Isthmian League home schedule with a fine 5-2 win against a spirited K Sports side that remained competitive until the final whistle.
Dom Welsh’s side roared out of the blocks and were four goals up within the first 25 minutes with Cameron Honavar and Finlay McLeod running the visiting defence ragged. But credit must go to the visitors, propping up the division, who regained their composure and worked hard to save themselves what might have been a heavier defeat.
Welsh reflected following the game that his side had been “very good in the majority of the stages, but we had some sloppy periods that might be expected when you go four goals ahead so quickly.”
The Angels were in front after three minutes when a surging run from Max Lambert opened up the K’s defence for Felix Waring to produce a pinpoint cross to the head of Honavar, who planted it into the bottom corner.
One quickly became two as McLeod was brought down in the box for the award of a penalty which was duly converted by Reuben Etherington.
K Sports were finding life very difficult trying to contain a buoyant Angels with goalkeeper, Daniel Kennedy saving well from McLeod and Honavar steering a header wide after another break from defence by Lambert.
On the quarter hour, a cross from the left from Felix Waring was met with a Rory Kavanagh header into the corner to make it three.
Honavar, whose electric pace was leaving defenders in his wake went close before, after 25 minutes, he unleashed a superb angled drive from 25 yards that whistled into the top corner giving Kennedy no chance.
Given their lowly league position, it might have been expected that the floodgates were well and truly open but when Bogdan Iancu curled a shot past Matt Larkin they found a new resilience and almost reduced the deficit further when Larkin saved well from Luke Russell with the Angels defence scrambling the rebound away for a corner.
And they needed that dogged determination as Tonbridge finished the half on the front foot creating, but not taking, several chances.
Seven minutes into the second period, a cross from the right wasn’t dealt with any conviction and it fell at the far post for Tom Green to stab home for a 5-1 lead.
K Sports endeavoured to take some respectability out of the game and, pushed on by the ever-busy Riley Crosby, they had the ball in the net on 63 minutes but this was ruled out by a linesman’s flag.
A mazy run from Waring across the face of goal set up an opportunity for Etherington that was pulled wide before, in the 82nd penalty, the visitors got a second from the penalty spot, converted by Iancu.
There remained time for Larkin to excel, as he has on so many occasions for the Under-18’s before he leaves the group as an over-age player, with a fine, low save in the final moments.
The win lifts the Angels into third in the table with just one game, away to Glebe at the end of the month, to play. The likelihood is that they will be overhauled by at least one team that has games in hand, but the season has seen a good improvement in results and, with a little more consistency, a top three position might well have been attained.
Photo: Kathryn Bell