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Chatham Town 3
Hobden (36'), Yila (45'), Nzala (76' pen)
1 Tonbridge Angels
Lyons-Foster (7')

Angels exit Kent Senior Cup

Tonbridge Angels suffered further cup disappointment as they were dumped out of the Kent Senior Cup at Chatham Town.

Jay Saunders was able to field a strong starting XI including new signings Sonny Fish and Charlie Pegrum and for the opening 20 minutes the Tonbridge supporters in an attendance of 508 had reasons to be cheerful as they dominated the game and took a seventh minute lead through Kodi Lyons-Foster.

Unfortunately, those 20 minutes proved to be a false dawn as the visitors intensity dropped off and Chatham firstly got a foothold back in the game and then took a stranglehold on it before the break.

The opening goal came after a quick free kick on the right was played short to Tariq Hinds who crossed low and hard into the box to be met by the onrushing Lyons-Foster who met the ball solidly to score from close range.

Fish, who was enjoying a positive competitive debut, struck a fine low shot that brought a good save at his near post by the Chats goalkeeper, Ben Bridle-Card and from the resultant corner, the goalkeeper was well placed again to save from Lyons-Foster.

Further efforts on goal from Jordan Higgs, Hinds and when Bridle-Card saved with his feet from Jordan Greenidge after being put through on goal by Pegrum, there was every reason for optimism.

But, as if a switch had been flicked, Chatham grew into the game and, after Jonny Henly had made his first save to deny Cameron Brodie, a 25 yard strike from Ollie Hobden found the top corner to equalise for the home side.

Chatham Town are enjoying their first season as an Isthmian Premier League side, presently sitting in second position, and once they had their equaliser their confidence quickly grew and they got their noses in front in first half added time. Good work and a cross down the right hand side found Jamie Yila who converted from close range.

Jay Saunders made a half-time substitution bringing on Scott Wagstaff for Lewis Gard and Lyons-Foster had an early opportunity heading over the crossbar from a Jamie Fielding cross.

Kristian Campbell struck a fierce shot just over the bar from 25 yards as Chatham continued to hold the game’s momentum.

Francis Mampolo was introduced on 56 minutes for Fielding and made a good impression. A Higgs cross on the hour was headed over by Greenidge and the Angels had several corners as they tried to wrest control from Chatham.

But, on 75 minutes, a foul in the box saw the referee point to the spot leaving Ashley Nzala to send Henly the wrong way, rolling the ball into the corner.

It left a mountain for the Angels to climb and despite several corners and strikes on goal saved by Bridle-Card from Mampolo, Chatham never really looked like surrendering their advantage.

Jay Saunders commented after the game: “First 15 minutes we were in control but today highlights where we’re at. We are a bit low and once we conceded we went into our shells.”

Published Wednesday 4th October 2023