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Tonbridge Angels 2
Sutcliffe (36'), Dabre (77' og)
0 Eastbourne Borough

Back to winning ways!

Tonbridge Angels brought to an end their winless run of four games with a comfortable win over relegation threatened Eastbourne Borough, who had Freddie Carter sent off in the first half.

On a bright afternoon after a morning of rain at the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium, Jay Saunders made three changes from the side that agonisingly lost to Slough Town with Lewis Gard (injured), Jordan Greenidge (sickness) and Scott Wagstaff (suspended) being replaced by the returning Jamie Fielding, Mo Dabre and Ryan Hanson.

After a tepid opening 20 minutes in which only Jonny Henly was tested with a near post save from Decarrey Sheriff, the game came to life when a Sean Shields left sided corner was met with a Kodi Lyons-Foster header that was cleared from the line.

Eastbourne Borough’s goalkeeper, Ben Dudzinski saved well from Mo Dabre, before after 33 minutes, a run from Nathan Odokonyero was ended when unceremoniously brought down by Carter that brought a second yellow and subsequent red card.

With their man advantage, Tonbridge pressed the fast forward button and after 36 minutes, a Shields corner brushed the head of Lyons-Foster before landing at the feet of Ethan Sutcliffe who tucked it home for his first goal for the club.

The Angels ended the half on top with Dudzinski saving from Shields, Jordan Higgs and  Odokonyero.

Tonbridge maintained their momentum into the second half with an early run and cross from Odokonyero narrowly evading Hanson.

Shields and Liam Vincent are forming a good understanding down the left hand side and from here a good chance for Dabre was created but his shot was wide.

On 68 minutes a fantastic block from Eastbourne’s Sam Beard denied Tariq Hinds after Dabre’s never-say-die attitude produced a cross from the byeline when most of would have given it up.

Tonbridge doubled their advantage on 78 minutes after a five minute period in which their visitors had looked quite dangerous with a couple of shots at Henly and a corner from Leone Gravata that was scrambled clear at the near post.

But, from that moment of concern, Fielding broke clear down the right before letting fire a shot from the edge of the box that Dudzinski could only parry into the path of Dabre. The midfielder’s shot cannoned down from the underside of the bar before rebounding in off the prostrate goalkeeper.

The Angels eased their way through the closing minutes with efforts from Lyons-Foster, Shields and Odokonyero successfully denied by Eastbourne’s stretched defence.

A satisfied Jay Saunders said after the match: "Lot happier than last week!" Good performance for large parts of it, probably should have been out of sight first half. There were good elements to our play today, workrate and tempo. Chances were cleared from the line or blocked and we had to keep grinding away."

Published Saturday 2nd March 2024