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Dover Athletic 1
Mensah (45')
2 Tonbridge Angels
Mampolo (52'), Higgs (82')

Angels brave the storm

Tonbridge Angels emerged from a wind swept, rain sodden Crabble with all three points following a game where any sort of quality was largely negated by the effect of Storm Jocelyn, that grew stronger as the game progressed.

Jay Saunders was forced into another reshuffle recalling Francis Mampolo from his dual registration at Margate with Jamie Fielding and Ansu Janneh both missing through illness.

Such was the swirling nature of the wind it was difficult to ascertain whether either side had any advantage from it in the first period in which the Angels completely dominated. Such was their overwhelming superiority the travelling support were bewildered that half-time arrived with the scores level. It was a mystery that the combined talents of Miss Marple and Vera would not be able to unravel. At one point, an exasperated voice of a Dover supporter pleaded: “Can we have our ball back”, but the name of the game is putting the ball in the net and despite countless chances only one was converted and Dover scrambled a late first half equaliser.

In contrast to the rest of the half, Dover fashioned two decent chances in the opening 10 minutes with Iffy Allen blasting high and wide after two minutes when well placed on the right side of the goal and on 10 minutes the Angels bar was rattled by George Wilkinson from 20 yards.

From that scare, Tonbridge started to control the game with some slick passing and movement that belied the conditions with Paris Lock and Mampolo leading the Dover rearguard a merry dance.

After 16 minutes the goal finally came with a move that started with Mampolo and ended with Jordan Higgs turning and shooting to score against his old club.

It was a mixture of dogged defending, some good goalkeeping from Daniel Jinadu and, in truth some poor finishing that allowed the half to progress without any further addition until the last minute. Jinadu saved well to deny Nathan Odokonyero, Tariq Hinds and Mo Dabre as the traffic became ridiculously one way.

On the stroke of half-time a free kick sent into the Angels box was only partially cleared and the ensuing scramble saw Jacob Mensah stab the ball home to give the home side an unlikely equaliser.

Even in the time added, another Angels chance came and went with Jinadu saving with his feet from Odokonyero.

The effect of the wind on the kicking of Dover goalkeeper, Jinadu probably said that the wind had now veered in the Angels favour although the rain swirling said otherwise.

Tonbridge continued to dominate the game in the second period, perhaps with not quite the same authority but the lead was regained on 52 minutes when a cross into the box wasn’t dealt with by the keeper under pressure from Odokonyero and when the ball fell at the feet of Mampolo he swept it home.

Chances continued to be made to put the game to bed but were not taken which gave the home side the impetus to set up a last 10 minutes in which they peppered the goal with crosses and numerous corners. At times the defending was desperate but the storm was weathered in more ways than one.

Published Wednesday 24th January 2024