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Farnborough 1
Saied (60')
2 Tonbridge Angels
Wood (79'), Soares-Junior (85')

Late goals give Angels victory in Hampshire

Two players who have been out of loan until their Isthmian League season ended returned to the Angels to score the winning goals in the final away game of the season at Farnborough.

Nathan Wood and Ruben Soares-Junior, who have been at Margate, found the net in the last 11 minutes to see the Angels back to Kent with all three points.

Jay Saunders made four changes from the side that drew on Saturday at Chippenham, two enforced with the unavailability of Joe Turner and Jeremy Santos. Into the starting XI came Ben Swift, Jordan Greenidge, Soares-Junior and Devonte Aransibia with Lewis Gard, Tommy Wood on the bench alongside the returning Nathan Wood.

The match was rescheduled from a postponement earlier in the month for a waterlogged pitch and considering the deluge that hit the south of England on Monday, the home side’s ground staff did well to get the match on at all, although the pitch was very heavy.

Both sides had early efforts on goal, the best of which came from Farnborough’s Jonathan Page that brought a good, diving save from Jonny Henly.

Henly was active again on 16 minutes saving a Ricky Holmes free kick but, two minutes later, the Angels were offered a golden opportunity to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty after Jordan Greenidge had been brought down by the goalkeeper, Jack Turner. Greenidge took the penalty himself but his spot kick was saved by the trailing leg of Turner.

The Angels were forced to defend stoutly in the next few minutes and it took a double clearance from in front of the line to keep the score line at parity.

Just before the break the referee, Aaron Farmer, pointed to the spot again but this time in favour of the home side as he spotted a handball. This time it was Henly’s turn to emerge the hero as he saved from Holmes.

The Angels had their share of the pressure in the opening quarter hour of the second half with a cross from Soares-Junior finding Aransibia but his touch at the far post was blocked.

However, it was the hosts that went in front through Selim Saied who buried a shot into the bottom corner from inside the box.

The goal immediately sparked a reaction from the bench with Nathan Wood replacing Jack Wood and the substitute quickly got into the game with a shot that was, albeit comfortably, saved by Turner.

Henly saved well, touching over a header from Matt Bloomfield but the visitors equalised a minute later when Tariq Hinds won the ball and played it down the left touchline to Soares-Junior whose cross to the edge of the box saw Nathan Wood steer the ball into the bottom corner.

The tide had changed for the final 10 minutes with Tonbridge chasing the winner. A crucial block from a defender denied substitute Tommy Wood and a header from Ben Swift cleared the bar but, with five minutes remaining, a corner taken short to Nathan Wood who crossed into the box for Greenidge to hook the ball on to Soares-Junior who made no mistake from the right side of the six yard box.

Six minutes of added time was seen out without alarm to record a victory in Hampshire and three points that lifted Jay Saunders’ side to ninth in National League South. A win on Saturday, at home to Cheshunt, would at the very least ensure a top 10 finish.

Jay Saunders was obviously delighted after the game commenting that Farnborough is “a tough place to come, they had a shout for the play-offs, but I thought we defended our box well and, in the second half, we were very good and scored two good goals.”

Photo: Ian Clear

Published Wednesday 26th April 2023