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Corinthian 3
4 Tonbridge Angels U18
Honarvar (7'), McLeod (39'), Waring (49'), Wallace (87')

U18's triumph at Gay Dawn Farm

Tonbridge Angels U18’s achieved a morale-boosting win against a Corinthian side that they could potentially meet in the Isthmian Youth League Cup Quarter Finals.

The weather had caused some concern about the fitness of the back pitch at Gay Dawn Farm, but it was in great condition and perfectly playable.

The two sides had fought out a very competitive 1-1 draw at Longmead Stadium just a fortnight ago so another tight match was expected and it didn’t disappoint.

Both sides had an opportunity to open the scoring before the Angels did so in the seventh minute when a free kick from the left taken by Reuben Etherington was allowed to carry to the far post from where Cameron Honarvar drifted in to convert with a good finish.

The game, officiated by an all-female team, got mired in a midfield battle for about 20 minutes with niggly fouls breaking up the play and perhaps needing the referee to step in a little earlier than the 30th minute to issue the first yellow card.

The game opened up again after the half-hour and Corinthian twice in a matter of moments tested the Angels goalkeeper, Toby Edwards, who responded with good saves.

In the 39th minute the Angels doubled their advantage when the quick-thinking Etherington slid a free kick through for Fin McLeod to run clear and score with a well struck shot.

Unfortunately, the Angels developed a vulnerability from corners and set pieces and, just a minute later, a corner travelled to the far post where an unmarked Hugo Taylor was on hand to score.

Corinthian mounted a big effort to go into the break on level terms but free kicks in potentially dangerous positions were ballooned over the crossbar.

Tonbridge regained their two goal advantage four minutes into the second half when Felix Waring weaved his way through the Corinthian defence, cutting in from the left, before despatching a fine finish into the bottom corner.

Corinthian got themselves back in the game on 71 minutes with a stroke of good fortune. Once again a corner being the Angels undoing but this time a clearance from Ben Martin-Coward unfortunately struck Sam Gerard in the face and the ball rebounded into the net.

Tonbridge had to withstand a good deal of pressure with Edwards saving well on a couple of occasions but they looked to have wrapped the game up with 11 minutes remaining when substitute Logan Wallace scored with a close range header from a Waring corner.

A brilliant Edwards save, turning over a 25 yard shot seemed to have secured the points but when Taylor bundled the ball home with three minutes to go a tense finish ensued before seeing out the time added.

Dom Welsh said after the game: “I though we were good tonight against a good Corinthian side. We had lapses in concentration that gave Corinthian lifelines into the game, but we had some excellent attacking play. One defeat in 10 gives us momentum going into the second half of the season.”

Published Tuesday 5th December 2023