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Concord Rangers 1
Williamson (49')
0 Tonbridge Angels

Hugely frustrating evening on the Island

Tonbridge Angels were left to rue a night, and a first half in particular, of missed chances before falling to a disappointing defeat on a wet, thoroughly miserable evening on Canvey Island, home of Concord Rangers.

It was a hugely frustrating evening for the vast majority of the Angels faithful, many of whom were hurrying to get through the turnstile as the first whistle was being blown following an accident on Remembrance Way, the main route on and off the island and then saw their return home lengthily delayed by a road closure on the A21. It truly was a night to forget.

Tariq Hinds was one of those delayed and his place in the starting XI needed to be changed as Jamie Fielding returned. Jeremy Santos' hamstring injury saw the return of Tommy Parkinson whilst Ruben Soares-Junior and TQ Addy were on the bench for Dajon Golding and Joe Turner, who will play on despite needing a hernia operation at the end of the month.

Concord Rangers fielded two old Angels favourites in their line-up with Ricky Modeste starting and D’Sean Theobalds on the bench.

The first half was, well you can choose the adjective, but we’ll go for dumbfounding. Virtual total domination for Tonbridge, corner after corner; miss after miss; block after block and a night in which the Concord goalkeeper, Mitchell Beeney was look back on with pride.

It left the Angels supporters with a sense of foreboding at the break that with so many chances that should have seen the game done and dusted it would come back to bite your backside and they were right.

The list of chances could go on forever. In the sixth minute, Turner brought the first of many fine saves from Beeney, who saved the follow-up from Louis Collins and from the resultant corner, Ben Swift headed over.

And this was the recurring theme, Lewis Gard corners, various headers that were turned over the bar or turned away by Beeney.

It was half-hour into the game before Concord were allowed to venture out of their half, let alone force Jonny Henly into a save, but save he did, low to his left, from Mo Bettemer, in what was a minor warning shot for the Angels.

Right up to the whistle for the break, chances continued to be made, chances continued to be wasted, or to be fair, denied by Beeney who saved from Parkinson and Collins.

The second half was a chalk and cheese performance from the first. An early cross from Gard just eluded Collins at the near post and as the visitors began to huff and puff, their hosts grew in confidence and started to carry a threat of their own and four minutes into the half, a corner for Concord was allowed to drop in the six yard box and Ben Williamson was afforded time and space to poke home.

As the half progressed, Tonbridge continued to press but with the Concord back line standing firm, Beeney was far less employed as it seemed Tonbridge ran out of ideas as to how to break down this resilient opponent.

It was hugely frustrating, none more so than for manager Jay Saunders who said after the game: “The team that was out there today was good enough to win that game and if we take our chances we do win the game but we haven’t done that today.”

Published Wednesday 9th November 2022