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Havant & Waterlooville 2
McCarthy (14'), Seager (25')
2 Tonbridge Angels
Hinds (6'), Dabre (50')

Angels and Hawks share spoils

Tonbridge travelled south-west to struggling Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday afternoon. The side was unchanged from last weekend’s win against Eastbourne Borough, Kodi Lyons-Foster still wearing the armband in Scott Wagstaff’s absence due to suspension.

The XI: Henly; Fielding, Sutcliffe, Lyons-Foster, Vincent; Higgs, Dabre, Hanson; Hinds, Odokonyero, Shields. Subs: Gard, Mampolo, Popoola, Edwards, Meade.

An early goal from the advanced Tariq Hinds opened the scoring. Typically, a right-back but playing further forward on this occasion, the talented defender turned winger was played in neatly by Odokonyero (who had dragged players in) and struck the ball powerfully past Worner into the home net.

The hosts equalised within ten minutes courtesy of captain McCarthy who was given space on the edge of the box to line up and rifle home an effort which beat Henly and struck the post on its way in.

It wasn’t long later that Ryan Seager doubled the Hawks tally and headed them into the lead. A well worked move down the right resulted in a perfect cross from Callum Kealy and Seager made no mistake with it on a plate to nod home. Henly was a passenger and Tonbridge were now facing an uphill battle.

Before half time, Tonbridge were very nearly right back in the game. Nathan Odokonyero driving down the right-hand side delivered a cross into a threatening area and despite the lack of a blue presence in the box, a deflection off a home defender forced an exquisite reaction save from Worner.

At the break, Sean Shields picked up the armband with Lyons-Foster feeling an injury. The defender was withdrawn and replaced by Lewis Gard which pushed Dabre out onto the right wing, Hinds to full back and Fielding into central defence.

Five minutes into the second period and with Dabre now playing on the right side, the tricky forward found a passage to release a perfectly placed shot that nestled into the top corner and levelled the score.

Lewis Gard, after less than half an hour on the pitch, was brought back off after feeling tightness in his chest. Francis Mampolo took his place and pushed now-scorer Dabre back central.

Josh Popoola was introduced to the travelling Angels fans with a few minutes left to go and a number of shots from both sides were taken in the final period of the game but because of either poor accuracy or in a couple of instances good saves, the score line remained level at full time.

Jay Saunders commented afterwards 'It was a strange game, I thought we started the first half very well but we didn't control enough periods and I'd say the same for the second. It became like a basketball game, the game was too open'. 

Published Saturday 9th March 2024