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Tonbridge Angels 4
Greenidge (22', 77'), Gard (25'), Dabre (34')
0 Dartford

A pre-Christmas Cracker!

Tonbridge Angels produced a pre-Christmas Cracker of a performance for their supporters to demolish near-neighbours Dartford with a first half display that swept their visitors aside.

Jay Saunders was able to recall Sean Shields to the side following his absence with a virus for the trip to Torquay United with Francis Mampolo dropping to the bench.

Mercifully dry, if a little cold, Tonbridge gave due warning to the Darts, for many years a bogey side of the Angels, in the opening minutes of their second clash of the season. After five minutes, Jernade Meade fired over the bar and a minute later Sean Shields' effort escaped the right post, followed by a Jordan Greenidge shot that wasn’t too far wide.

After 16 minutes, Mo Dabre and Scott Wagstaff combined to create another chance, with the skipper delivering a cross that Greenidge steered onto the outside of the post. 

The goal that the Angels had threatened, and thoroughly deserved, arrived on 22 minutes when Greenidge met a Shields left-sided corner at the near post to turn the ball home to the delight of the Angels support behind the goal.

Three minutes later those fans were in absolute dreamland when the Angels doubled their advantage with a superb goal on the break. As a Dartford attack was broken down, the ball was played out to Shields who made ground before sending Dabre clear to cross into the box to Lewis Gard who withstood the challenge of a defender to slot past the advancing Darts goalkeeper, Ryan Sandford.

Dream time for the Angels, nightmares for the visitors as the home side cruised into a three goal lead on 33 minutes. Dabre who had already been heavily involved with his energy and workrate, added his name to the scoresheet when he met a Wagstaff cross to score from the edge of the six yard box.

Before the break, Jamie Fielding took a blow to the face which saw him on his way to hospital being replaced by Tom Parkinson. The referee, Lisa Benn, only reached for a yellow card despite what appeared a raised elbow from Harvey Bradbury who had been warned for a similar offence earlier in the half on Jordan Higgs.

A fourth goal would surely have put the game to bed and this very nearly came after 37 minutes when a shot, heavily deflected, from Tariq Hinds was brilliantly turned aside by Sandford.

Dartford made a double substitution at the break in an attempt to reinvigorate their performance, but despite a slight increase in possession, Tonbridge kept them at an arm’s length with relative comfort with Tyrell Miller-Rodney’s effort into the side netting their only real opportunity.

Thirteen minutes remained when Wagstaff stood up a cross from the right to the far post for Greenidge to nod home and wrap up a fine afternoon’s entertainment for the Angels support.

The win will give the Angels confidence going into the hectic Christmas period with a trip to Somerset and Taunton Town next Saturday before the double header with local rivals Maidstone United.


Published Saturday 16th December 2023