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Tonbridge Angels U18 3
Velvick (5'), Larkin (84'), Cooney (88')
0 Bromley U18
FA Youth Cup

Angels progress in FA Youth Cup

Excuse us if this report indulges itself with a few superlatives. The Angels FA Youth Cup side produced one of, perhaps the best, performances and certainly result, in several years. To a man, they were magnificent.

At this stage last season, a valiant performance at Hayes Lane ended nonetheless with a 4-2 defeat, so to meet them again 12 months later, albeit at home, and to deservedly win by three clear goals is  Progress with a capital P!

Gifted an early goal, the Angels had to withstand intense pressure for 80 minutes before two late goals sealed their place in the final qualifying round.

The Angels went ahead after five minutes when Hayden Velvick latched on to a bad back pass before clinically firing into the far corner.

The first half wasn’t entirely backs to the wall although Will Puffette was needed to make a last ditch tackle to deny Bromley’s Will Gates and Toby Edwards saved from Finley Roberts and Kassim Dagher.

But Tonbridge continually looked dangerous on the break and, after 22 minutes, a shot-cum-cross from Felix Waring rebounded from the crossbar.

Tonbridge breathed a sigh of relief just before the break when Temu Appiah put a good opportunity narrowly wide.

The National League side started the second half probably stung by harsh words  in the dressing room and rattled the bar after five minutes through the impressive Kaya Hansson but the Angels themselves went close a couple of minutes later when Velvick fired agonisingly wide after being sent clear by Waring.

Bromley dominated the play but whatever was thrown at them the Angels back line stood heroically firm and as the visitors gambled with their goalkeeper virtually playing as a sweeper in the centre circle, they were always vulnerable to the pacy breakaways of the home side such as when substitute Cameron Honarvar broke clear to shoot inches wide.

Four minutes remained when an Angels corner was only cleared to Adam Larkin, who from 25 yards drove the ball low back through a forest of bodies to nestle the ball in the back of the net to put the next round within touching distance. 

Two minutes later, Tonbridge Angels' name was firmly in the hat as substitute Fin McLeod charged down a clearance for fellow substitute Teddy Cooney to place the ball  into the unguarded goal.

Official reports are supposed to be measured, perhaps unbiased, but we can be forgiven that this one is not. A night when even superlatives are not enough!

Published Tuesday 3rd October 2023