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Tonbridge Angels U18 1
Millis (65')
2 Maidstone United

Unbeaten run ends at the hands of the Stones

Tonbridge Angels U18’s paid the price of a poor first half to see their unbeaten home run, stretching to eight games, come to an end at the hands of neighbours Maidstone United.

Taking nothing away from the visitors, the first period was completely out of character from the Angels youngsters who were second best in all departments and lacking any sort of intensity.

Even manager Dom Welsh, not normally lost for words, was bemused by their first half. When asked: “I’ve idea, couldn’t tell you, just didn’t see it coming at all.”

In the early stages, the game itself lacked any sort of passion associated with a local derby. Sam Firman had the opening opportunity after 13 minutes when his effort found the side netting but it was another half-hour before the Maidstone goalkeeper, Chris Swift, was asked to make any sort of save, denying Reuben Etherington.

In between, the Stones dominated the game. Tyler Ware put a header wide after 20 minutes; Jecu Edoru fired over before, after 25 minutes, Edoru shrugged off a challenge to score into the far bottom corner after cutting in from the right.

Toby Edwards, in the Angels goal, picked up a yellow card when he brought down a Maidstone forward just outside his box, such was the disarray that the home side were in at that point and it was no surprise when the lead was doubled on 38 minutes when Will Daffell found the top corner, giving Edwards no chance, with a splendid shot from just outside of the box.

The half-time introduction of Tolu Fabimafobee gave the Angels an instant injection of energy and pace down the left and the home side poured forward to salvage something from the game.

Etherington set up Cameron Honarvar with a header on 50 minutes that was narrowly wide and Swift was kept busy making saves from Felix Waring and Fabimafobee.

A second substitution, Logan Wallace, brought different dynamic that stretched the Stones defence further. But while the chances were coming, they were also being wasted until, on 65 minutes, a cross-cum-shot from Noah Millis sailed over the head of Swift to nestle in the far corner of the net and the Angels were right back in the game.

For 25 minutes, Tonbridge hammered on the Maidstone door but they could not break down the resolute defence. Wallace and Fabimafobee tested the goalkeeper; skipper Will Puffette, thrown forward, saw headers clear the bar or held by Swift, but it was just not to be.

Dom Welsh, said after the match: “The end of a great unbeaten run. We lost the game in the first half with a poor all round performance. A game of two halves as we pushed hard in the second half but to no avail. Well done to Maidstone on a deserved three points.”

Published Tuesday 30th January 2024