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Aveley 2
Coleman (35'), Ogunrinde (52')
1 Tonbridge Angels
Odonkonyero (47' pen)

Angels leave Essex empty handed

Tonbridge Angels slipped to a narrow defeat on a chilly evening at Aveley’s Parkside Stadium.

Promotion, through the play-off route, chasing Aveley scored a goal in each half to further their credentials for the post-season finale.

Jay Saunders made two changes from Saturday’s drawn game at Havant with Scott Wagstaff returning from suspension for Ryan Hanson (injured) and Jernade Meade for Kodi Lyons-Foster, who was withdrawn injured at half-time on Saturday.

Tonbridge made the early running in the first half, forcing early corners and, in the 11th minute, Liam Vincent playing further forward than his normal full back position, was denied by Aveley goalkeeper Jonathan North’s feet that deflected the ball away for a corner.

Vincent was very much to the fore seeing a shot blocked and on 32 minutes, a header from a Sean Shields cross that cleared the bar was a great chance.

Three minutes later the Angels were behind when the home side broke away down the left that ended with Razzaq Coleman De-Graft shooting across the goal to find the bottom right hand corner.

Tonbridge had mainly been the equals of their hosts but nonetheless went into the break with that one goal deficit. This was quickly equalised in the second half when following an effort from Nathan Odokonyero that was turned away for a corner from which Ethan Sutcliffe was bundled to the ground with the referee immediately pointing to the spot. Odokonyero sent North the wrong way as he converted the penalty.

Unfortunately parity lasted a matter of moments as Jason Ring sent a cross into the box, that one being half-cleared back to Ring who recrossed this time for Manny Ogunrinde to fire into the bottom corner.

The hosts largely took control of the game following the goal. Odokonyero’s snap shot on 62 minutes cleared the bar whilst, at the other end, Ogunrinde fired over and shot into the side netting.

Jay Saunders shuffled his team bringing on Josh Popoola and Francis Mampolo but solid defending from the home side offered very little in the way of opportunities, apart from an almighty scramble in the six yard box that saw a couple of scuffed hits before North fell on the ball.

One last chance fell Odokonyero’s way but this drifted wide of the right hand post before the referee’s whistle saw the reasonably sized Angels contingent heading, disappointed, towards the QE2 bridge.

Published Tuesday 12th March 2024