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St Albans City 2
McConnell (13', 65')
3 Tonbridge Angels
Turner (35'), Greenidge (37', 89')
The winner! 89th minute strike from Greenidge.

Angels take all the points at Clarence Park

Angels repeated their feat of last season by travelling to Clarence Park and coming away with all the points and by the same score line with even a player, Joe Turner, scoring again but this time he had to be content with the opening Tonbridge goal rather than the winner; he won’t be complaining. 

Tom Parkinson came in for the injured Ben Swift while Craig Braham-Barrett came to the back line with Jack Wood dropping to the bench.

It was the usual quiet start to the game as both teams worked each other out but gradually St Albans started to take the ascendancy with Wiltshire and Neal both having sights of the Angels goal but nothing to seriously worry Jonny Henly. That said Saints were starting to move through the gears nicely and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring in the 13th minute through McConnell despite there being a suspicion of offside.

St Albans continued to look comfortable with Angels having difficulty in putting together any fluent moves. It was a case of digging in and preventing St Albans from increasing the scoreline.  In fact it took until the 25th minute before the visitors put together anything to seriously worry the home side defence. A Braham-Barrett cross was scrambled away by the Saints defence.  But it encouraged Angels to be more adventurous and suddenly there was Joe Turner, following a Lewis Gard pass, scampering through the St Albans defenders and shooting past keeper Dylan Berry.  

If that could be said to be somewhat against the run of play then what was to follow was extraordinary. On 37 minutes a Tonbridge corner saw Jordan Greenidge rise highest in the Saints goal area and Angels found themselves ahead. It was quite a turnaround and certainly not in the script so far as St Albans were concerned. 

Sound defending saw the visitors go in for the break still ahead. It was obvious that playing down the slight slope as is their preferred option that Saints would come at their guests from the very start of the second period. And so it proved with a dangerous home corner that put the Angels back line into all sorts of trouble but the final effort from the attackers was blazed high over the bar.  

There was the occasional Angels raid typified in the 63rd minute when Greenidge seemingly chasing a lost cause almost embarrassed the City defender.  A minute later St Albans almost predictably had drawn level with McConnell claiming his second goal of the afternoon converting a cross from the right.  

At that point it was really a case of whether Angels could hang on and claim a more than useful point. With St Albans making the most of the running the visiting defence rose to the challenge and constantly frustrated the hosts in their efforts to restore the lead. 

On 75 minutes Aransibia took a free kick for the visitors. It was struck well enough but straight at Berry. It was at the other end where most of the action was taking place but for all their efforts it was increasingly looking like the draw. But Angels had other ideas.  

On 89 minutes, Jack Wood, an inspired substitution, started moving the ball with pace deep into the Saints penalty area and whilst he might have gone all the way his shot instead ricocheted across the area with Greenidge at an acute angle squeezing the ball between goalpost and keeper for his second of the game. 

Despite a dangerous near post St Albans header in stoppage time Angels held on to claim an important three points which still keeps them in touch with those coveted play-off positions. 

A delighted Angels Boss, Jay Saunders said afterwards:  “We have come here today and beaten a team who in my opinion are the best we’ve come up against so far this season. After the disappointment of the festive period double header defeat against Welling and last Saturday (3-3 draw with Slough) I have to be very pleased with todays result.”

Picture : Ian Clear. The winner! Greenidge with the 89th minute strike.

Published Saturday 14th January 2023 (last updated Monday 23rd January 2023)