Angels ease past Havant
Two late goals from Man of the Match Tariq Hinds eased the Angels to a comfortable victory against bottom of the table Havant and Waterlooville, who had been reduced to 10 men from the 28th minute.
Jay Saunders made one change from the side that took a point off second placed Aveley on Tuesday with Jernade Meade returning from international duty with Montserrat with Billy French rested to the bench alongside new signings Mohammad Dabre and Obed Yeboah, a 19 year-old Dutch striker who joins from Truro City having spent his youth career at AFC Wimbledon.
It was a cold afternoon at the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium and supporters from both sides, in a healthy attendance of 1,025, needed some distraction from the numbing of their fingers and toes. Sadly, a turgid first half failed to achieve this.
But, after 28 minutes of the half, came the major incident that shaped the game with a big call from referee Steven Hughes. Havant’s James Roberts, who had been shown a yellow card just two minutes earlier for a challenge on Scott Wagstaff, was booked and subsequently red carded for simulation after going down in the box. Referee Hughes was perfectly placed to make the judgement and it brought little argument from the Havant side.
After 20 minutes of very little action, the Angels carved out the opening opportunity when a through ball from Sean Shields sent Francis Mampolo clear but the Havant goalkeeper, Ross Worner, was quick to cut down the angle and turn the ball away for a corner.
And as real chances go, that was about as good as it got in a disappointing first period.
Whatever Saunders had to say in the confines of the dressing room the words had the desired effect as the Angels came out with renewed sense of purpose alongside the introduction of Dabre for Mampolo.
Dabre’s opening contribution was a tricky run and cross that was met by the head of Jordan Greenidge but steered wide. But, five minutes into the second half, the big striker won a penalty after a run into the box was ended by a clumsy challenge from Yoan Zouma. Lewis Gard stepped up to retain his perfect record from the spot sending Worner the wrong way to convert his sixth penalty of the season.
Four minutes later a good combination down the right ended with Shields placing the perfect cross onto the head of Greenidge, who got in front of his marker to nod home from close range.
Now in full control of the game, Ben Swift went close with a header from a corner, but in turn was injured and eventually needed to be substituted. A moment’s lapse in concentration following his departure saw a long cross from Jake McCarthy find Kieran Phillips at the far post to head home.
Although the reduced deficit made the game slightly more uncomfortable the chances to put the game to bed were falling to the Angels way with efforts from Meade and Greenidge bringing good saves from Worner.
Any worries were finally dismissed in the last minute of regular time when a pass was laid across to the edge of the box from where Hinds drove the ball home.
A fair reflection of Tonbridge’s dominance was added three minutes into added time when Greenidge won the ball with is back to goal and laid it back to Hinds to lash home from 20 yards.
A very pleased Jay Saunders said after the game: "I never felt threatened, second half we came out strong and when we upped the tempo at the end we killed it off."
The win lifts the Angels to eighth in the table with only goal difference separating them from a play off position.