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Tonbridge Angels 1
Odokonyero (18')
2 Farnborough
Haigh (51'), Pendlebury (68')

Second half goals seal Angels defeat

A game of the proverbial two halves saw Farnborough extend their winning run to seven straight games at the Angels expense.

After a first half in which Jay Saunders’ team dominated and led through a Nathan Odokonyero goal, the visitors emerged from the dressing room a different team to score twice to take maximum points back to Hampshire.

Shorn of an almost entire midfield with Scott Wagstaff, Ryan Hanson and Jordan Higgs all missing out through injury, Jay’s squad looked threadbare with Josh Popoola and Lewis Gard returning to the starting XI with three Academy/Under-18’s on the bench.

After a relatively quiet opening quarter hour the game sprang to life when Odokonyero wriggled his way into the box before seeing his shot deflected for a corner from which Jamie Fielding’s header was cleared from the line by CJ Fearn for another corner.

This time Sean Shields cross from a short corner was headed back across the face of goal by Fielding to Odokonyero who deftly turned and fired home past a helpless goalkeeper.

Tails up, Tonbridge were creating good chances with Shields only managing to stab a shot wide and Liam Vincent forcing Jack Turner into a good low save and, after 38 minutes, a Shields cross was headed against his own crossbar by Guy Hollis.

Jonny Henly brought rapturous applause from the home support but not in the normal manner after making a double tackle some 35 yards from his goal out on the right touchline.

In a moment, early in the second half, the game turned in the visitors favour as referee Matthew Norton waved away strong claims for a penalty after Odokonyero was brought down and as the ball was swept to the other end, Joe Haigh cut in from the right to bury a shot into the far bottom corner to equalise for the visitors after 51 minutes.

The momentum had swung in favour of Farnborough and Tonbridge had to withstand heavy pressure conceding several corners before a free kick conceded on the edge of the box was well struck by Olly Pendlebury and could only be helped into the roof of the net by Henly.

The Angels mounted a spirited last 20 minutes that saw Fielding stretch Turner and an Odokonyero header that drifted narrowly wide. And then, in the final minute of regular time, a cross from Shields saw Turner save from Gard with the follow-up being cleared from the line by Ricky Holmes.

Five minutes of time added brought shots at goal from Vincent and Tariq Hinds but Farnborough stood firm to take the points.

A frustrating afternoon for Jay Saunders who commented after the game: “We had a lot of players missing today; we put a lot of effort in and the key moments leading up to their first goal the officials have had a big part to play in the way the game altered. For all the long balls they throw in I thought we dealt with it well, but key moments in games change things.” 

Picture: David Couldridge

Published Monday 1st April 2024 (last updated Tuesday 2nd April 2024)