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Welling Town 0
1 Tonbridge Angels Academy
Thompson (9')

Angels progress in FA Youth Cup

Tonbridge Angels emerged from a stern test against Welling Town at Cobdown to earn a place in the FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round draw.

The age limit for the FA Youth Cup is 18 years old on 31st August, so the Angels team is formed by a mix of Academy and Isthmian Under-18 players.

Welling Town arrived with the wrong kit so their purple strip barely avoided a colour clash with the visitors blue. I’m guessing the Angels white shorts saved the day.

Tonbridge started well and were ahead after nine minutes thanks to a well worked goal involving Reuben Etherington and Hayden Velvick, whose left wing cross found Ollie Thompson on the right side of the six yard box to thrash a shot into the roof of the net.

Credit must go to the hosts as they responded well to the opening goal with an effort from the tricky Menai Lennox-Janes and a free header in the box for Jack Davies.

After 27 minutes, Welling were handed a route back into the game when Ashton Thomas was adjudged to have brought his man down in the box for a penalty but the spot kick was well saved by Toby Edwards diving to his right to push the ball to safety.

In the closing stages of the half, the Angels regained the momentum with narrow misses for Sam Firman and Alex Shave.

The second half was completely Tonbridge dominated but a failure to take their chances always left that single goal lead on a knife edge. In fairness to the Angels, the Welling goalkeeper, Ryan Reeves, had a splendid second half, time after time, denying them the luxury of a two goal cushion.

His first save of the half came after 55 minutes when he turned over the bar a shot from Etherington, quickly followed by a low save from Velvick.

Firman saw his shot saved, even after a deflection, and on 79 minutes, sent clear by Thompson, Felix Waring’s angled shot was agonisingly wide of the far post.

As the missed opportunities piled up, the Angels supporters in an attendance of around a hundred hoped that the game would finally be put to bed as they were awarded a penalty in time added when Velvick was brought down. But Reeves was equal to Etherington’s kick and the tension needed to be endured for a couple of minutes more before the final whistle.

Dom Welsh agreed that they had dominated the game but “had struggled to find the finishing touch.” The draw for the next round is expected to be made on Friday.

Published Tuesday 19th September 2023