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East Grinstead Town U18 1
Tidy (45')
5 Tonbridge Angels U18
Cooney (10', 65'), Honarvar (38', 59'), Firman (71')
East Grinstead U18

U18's progress in League Cup

The Angels Under-18’s produced an outstanding performance at East Grinstead Town to progress in the Isthmian Youth League Cup.

Manager Dominic Welsh said after the game: “Some performance that!”

Tonbridge started on the front foot with Cameron Honarvar and Sam Firman giving the hosts an introduction to the way their evening was to unfold. The East Grinstead defence had little answer to the pace of Honarvar and the guile of Firman. In the opening minute, Honarvar’s goalbound shot was deflected for a corner, from which skipper Will Puffette headed over.

East Grinstead’s goalkeeper, Ben Taylor, made good saves to deny Noah Millis and Teddy Cooney before the Angels went in front on 10 minutes when the two front men combined superbly to set up Cooney for a driven shot from around eight yards.

Felix Waring needed to leave the field for a brief spell following a head injury before returning to the fray with his head swathed, Terry Butcher style (thankfully without the blood) to rule the roost in midfield.

In the time of Waring’s absence, Toby Edwards had to make a decent low save from Daniel Spurle.

The game entered a phase when East Grinstead gained a toe hold with Edwards again tested by Alex Tidy and from the resultant corner, Tito Mendy headed onto the top of the crossbar.

But the Angels were still the dominant force and doubled their advantage on 38 minutes when a long ball forward from Rory Kavanagh was initially smothered by Taylor but the ball squirmed from his grasp allowing Honarvar to place it into the unguarded net from the edge of the penalty area.

East Grinstead pulled a goal back in first half time added when a linesman’s flag was overruled by the referee’s interpretation of the new offside rule. However, it was a very decent strike into the bottom corner from Tidy.

The goal did nothing but harden the Angels’ resolve and they completely dominated the second period with the only criticism being that they didn’t convert more of the numerous chances created.

After several near misses and goalkeeper saves, Tonbridge restored their two goal advantage on 59 minutes when Firman robbed a defender to set up Honarvar for a good finish.

Six minutes later, the game was virtually over as a contest when Evan De Silva set up Cooney to score at the second attempt and, on 71 minutes, substitute Fin McLeod sent Firman through to collect what was a richly deserved reward for a splendid evening’s work.

East Grinstead were offered the opportunity of a consolation when they were awarded a penalty following a foul but Tidy blazed his spot kick high and wide.

Dom Welsh added after: “Excellent performance tonight, we played some outstanding football throughout and kept the intensity high for 90 minutes.”

Published Friday 29th September 2023