U18's fightback secures a point
After being given a complete runaround for 45 minutes, the Angels U18’s turned the game around in the second half to earn a well deserved point. When asked what had changed, Dom Welsh replied: “Good, old fashioned harsh words”!
Corinthian played some sparkling football in the first half and had it not been for an outstanding performance from Angels goalkeeper, Toby Edwards, no words at half-time could have retrieved the situation.
But beaten just the once, the door remained ajar for Tonbridge and a second half with, as Welsh added, “more running, more energy, quicker to the ball, quicker to pass the ball”, they drew level with a Fin McLeod goal and might even have won the game come the end.
Edwards was pressed into action after just two minutes when a sweeping move from the visitors ended with the goalkeeper making a close range save from Guppreet Benning.
Within a minute, Angels’ Felix Waring dragged a shot narrowly wide and it looked like the game was set for end-to-end action but that wasn’t the way the first half unfolded.
Twice in a couple of minutes, the livewire Corey Holden, a real box of tricks, saw desperate blocks thwart him, the second of which from such close range it almost defied belief that Edwards had kept it out.
It could only be a matter of time before Corinthian converted one of their changes and this came on 20 minutes from the penalty spot after Sam Gerard brought down Benning, who took and scored the penalty.
It didn’t seem possible that Corinthian’s confidence could grow further but it did and the only criticism that could be levelled at them would be their failure to take any of many chances, much down to Edwards brilliance but also wastefulness.
Chances were few and far between for Tonbridge but McLeod brought a good save from Ethan Rook, in the Corinthian goal, and the goalkeeper saved well soon after from Ben Martin-Coward.
Edwards clawed a shot out of the top corner from Ritchie Atkins as the Angels retreated to the dressing room to receive the hairdryer treatment from their manager.
They emerged for the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and, although Edwards wasn’t exactly unemployed, saving well from Michael Ihiedi after 55 minutes, he was not asked to repeat his first half heroics.
First big chance of the second period fell to McLeod after being sent clear by Cameron Honarvar but this was saved by Rook and the introduction of Sam Firman on the hour further added to the Angels impetus.
Tonbridge had the ball in the net after 69 minutes but this was somewhat controversially disallowed with the referee deciding that the goalkeeper had the ball kicked from his hands after initially spilling it before Honarvar put the ball in the net.
They were not to be denied after 71 minutes though when a well worked move down the left involving Firman and Honarvar saw the ball fed to McLeod who finished well from around 12 yards angling his shot into the far bottom corner.
The home side had the momentum going into the last 20 minutes and the goalkeeper was asked to make decent saves from Honarvar (twice) and McLeod whilst a final minute effort from substitute Logan Wallace cleared the bar.
A draw was a fair result and Dom Welsh commented: “It was an indifferent performance, huge tale of two halves. We were given the runaround with lack of energy in the first half but an electric second half sees us maintain our unbeaten home record. A point apiece was the right result on the night.”
Of his goalkeeper, he commented: “Toby had a very good game tonight, he’s come on lots and been good all season.”