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Braintree Town 1
Davis (85')
0 Tonbridge Angels

Angels fall to late winner

Tonbridge Angels succumbed to an 85th goal at Cressing Road, giving the National League South’s in form team, Braintree Town, their fifth straight win.

It was a tough one to take for the supporters who had made their way through the tunnel as their side had been the equal of their hosts for much of the game, creating several good chances of their own in the second half.

Jay Saunders said after the match: “I though we were worth a point to be fair, in the second half we had some really good chances. We defended well for large parts but it was a poor goal to concede … a bit of a sucker punch.”

Jamie Fielding’s injury from Saturday kept him out of the starting lineup and with Liam Vincent’s loan extension not meeting the deadline, Mo Dabre was asked to fill in at left back. Ryan Hanson replaced Lewis Gard, who dropped to the bench.

On a breezy night that later turned damp, the first half can be best described as dour with neither side particularly imposing themselves on the game.

Tonbridge opened well with Sean Shields having an effort blocked inside the first couple of minutes but the half progressed with misplaced passes and very little for either side’s supporters to enjoy.

The best chance of the half fell to the Angels, four minutes from the break, when Shields released Dabre down the left whose cross found the head of Francis Mampolo, but his effort cleared the bar.

There was an early talking point into the second half when Mampolo passed into the box to Shields who was brought down with strong claims for a penalty but referee Daniel Baines (the referee from the Super Play-off Final) waved them away.

Jonny Henly, who hadn’t be overly employed, saved at his near post from Tom Blackwell and just past the hour, the same two were involved again with once more the Angels stopper coming out on top.

A really good move from the Angels almost unlocked on the deadlock on 67 minutes when Nathan Odokonyero and Tariq Hinds combined but the latter’s cross was only inches away from Shields in front of goal.

Shields tested Braintree goalkeeper, Jack Sims, who parried the ball to safety before in the last 10 minutes, the home side mounted a big effort to find a winner.

Henly did brilliantly to smother an effort from Jayden Davies at his feet but a minute later, Mampolo lost possession on the right and Alfie Payne crossed low into the box for Davies to convert at the far post.

In the last minute of six added, Lewis Gard crossed for Kodi Lyons-Foster but his header was saved by Sims and that brought the curtain down on another night at Cressing Road, where fortune rarely favours the Angels.

It’s been a tough couple of away days and supporters, for sure, will be grateful of a few home comforts on Saturday when we entertain Slough Town with tickets available HERE.

Published Wednesday 21st February 2024