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Tonbridge Angels U18 2
0 Sutton Common Rovers

Angels freeze out SCR

While their followers shivered on the sidelines in sub-zero temperatures, the Under-18’s warmed the cockles with two second half goals to beat perennial title chasers Sutton Common Rovers at Longmead.

There was also a great sense of satisfaction from the coaching team having seen their charges, in inclement weather of a different sort, take a 5-1 battering at Whyteleafe back in November.

In truth, there was very little to distract supporters from the numbing of their extremities in a first half of very few chances as the two teams sparred like championship boxers weighing each other up. Toby Edwards was the first goalkeeper to warm his hands, comfortably saving an effort from Noah Africa whilst on 23 minutes Angels' Cameron Honarvar narrowly dragged a shot wide.

The game opened up in the closing minutes of the half with SCR’s Harry Horben steering a header from a free kick straight at Edwards and a surging run from defence that ended with a shot that was deflected for a corner.

After the sports bar had turned a good trade in hot chocolate, the second half offered considerably more in terms of entertainment with the Angels much more to the fore.

A free kick from Reuben Etherington caused some chaos in the SCR penalty area that ended with Will Puffette scooping the ball over the bar and a loud cheer turned to groans as it was thought that a rasping shot from Etherington had found the top corner only to find that the ball had rippled the side netting.

It was the Angels though that opened the scoring, just past the hour, when following a free kick, a high boot to the head of Adam Larkin caught the attention of the assistant referee and after consultation the penalty spot was pointed too. Etherington confidently sent Derek Humphries the wrong way to edge the Angels in front.

Good teams like Sutton Common don’t lie down though and they pressed hard for an equaliser with Edwards saving well at his near post to deny Yuto Ouen and a free kick from Horben that was only inches over the crossbar.

Horben’s frustration boiled over when he received a second caution and in time added and a free kick from Etherington saw Larkin nip in front of a defender to lay the ball across for Logan Wallace to convert from close range.

Dom Welsh said after the match: “Not many would have seen the turnaround in our season following the 5-1 at Sutton Common, who showed tonight they are still a good side. That was an outstanding performance from our boys tonight. We had a game plan that was executed outstandingly to prevent a quality side from creating clear cut chances whilst at the other end we took our chances at key moments.”

Next Monday evening (kick-off 19:45), the Angels U18’s take on Metropolitan Police in their postponed League Cup Quarter Final, your support would be most welcome.

Published Tuesday 16th January 2024