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Tonbridge Angels Academy 1
0 Charlton Athletic Trust

Academy edging closer to title

The Academy inched ever closer to retaining their National League Under-19 Alliance title with a hard fought single goal win against a very competitive and well organised Charlton Athletic Trust.

The Angels need one more win, with the next game at the Gallagher against a Maidstone United side who were soundly beaten by the closest of the challengers Chatham Town.

The last two league games have seen the Angels uncharacteristically struggling for goals following last week’s goalless draw at VCD Athletic. But, on this occasion, a lot of credit should go to some stubborn defending, but in particular, a fine performance from the visiting goalkeeper, Frankie Leonard.

After taking a 19th minute lead through Ben Hermitage, who finished a fine move that saw Fyn Rutherford open up the Charlton defence with a cross field pass to Sam Grant whose low cross into the box found Hermitage to finish into the bottom corner.

This might have opened the door to a comfortable win when, on 26 minutes, Hermitage was sent clear but saw his effort saved by Leonard with the follow-up from makeshift forward Tom Green well defended.

A minute later, Leonard again excelled, saving well from Shea Brennan after good work from Chester Smith but Charlton responded well and the Angels goalkeeper, Nat Gibb, was called on to save well from Mekai Lennox-James, who proceeded to cause more than a few headaches for the Angels backline.

In the last couple of minutes before the break, Gibb preserved his clean sheet, twice coming out on top in his personal battle with Lennox-James.

Both defences appeared to respond to the half-time talk and chances were kept to a minimum until the last 15 minutes.

Hermitage had a great chance to add to his season’s haul of 39 goals when put through on goal by Brennan but was denied by the advancing Leonard. Brennan fired over a minute later, before Charlton showed they had not given up on salvaging a point forcing Gibb into a save.

Ten minutes from the end Brennan struck the bar with Leonard saving the follow-up from Green and in the dying moment of the game, the goalkeeper was playing a sweeper role, 30 yards from goal to stop Rutherford in his tracks.

Tommy Parkinson pulled no punches labelling it a “poor performance” whilst crediting Charlton, who he felt “deserved something from the game”. He also pointed to the positive aspect of another clean sheet and only one goal conceded in the last 10 games.

Published Wednesday 19th April 2023