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Tonbridge Angels 4
Hinds (22'), Odokonyero (71', 75'), Shields (72')
1 Torquay United
Ash (79')

Angels enjoy a cruise

Tonbridge Angels supporters departed the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium full of the joys of spring after watching their favourites demolish Torquay United with three second half goals in a five minute spell. For the visitors, it was the end of a terrible week that had seen a 10 point deduction following their intention to go into receivership.

After a morning of sunshine, cloud cover was hardly spring-like as Jay Saunders made two changes from the side beaten at Aveley on Monday. Kodi Lyons-Foster and Ryan Hanson returned following injury with Jernade Meade and club captain Scott Wagstaff, who had been ill this week, dropping to the bench.

A healthy contingent of Torquay supporters had defied the M25 closure to take their places in an attendance of 1,308.

After a quiet opening 10 minutes the game sprang to life with Torquay’s goalkeeper, Mark Halstead, making a superb save to deny Hanson’s header at the near post from a Sean Shields corner.

Within a minute, the visitors had a great chance when a cross into the box from Bradley Ash found Aaron Jarvis who dwelt too long allowing Jonny Henly to smother at his feet.

Tonbridge took a 22nd minute lead when Shields released Liam Vincent down the left and from his low cross, Tariq Hinds scored from close range at the far post.

The game was delayed when referee Dan England was struck on the head with the ball and within a minute of the official recovering after treatment, Jordan Higgs was similarly struck to also require treatment.

Six minutes before the break, Torquay went close when a cross from Jack Stobbs was back-headed by Tom Lapslie but his effort nestled on the roof of the net.

On the cusp of half-time, Nathan Odokonyero saw an effort deflected narrowly wide.

The early part of the second half saw an Odokonyero shot saved by Halstead and after a fine interchange between Hinds and Odokonyero, Shields saw his space denied and the ball was scrambled to safety.

Torquay had a spell in which they dominated the possession before a five minute spell from the Angels saw them surge into an unassailable four goal lead. On 71 minutes  Shields sent Odokonyero clear to cooly convert one-on-one with the goalkeeper and a minute later an audacious lob from the right side of the penalty area from Shields left Halstead helpless.

On 76 minutes, brilliant footwork from Odokonyero made space for a shot into the bottom corner and despite Bradley Ash scoring a 79th minute consolation goal for the Gulls the game was as good as done.

The announcement of Ryan Hanson as the Man of the Match brought a complimentary chant from the supporters of his ex-club before the final whistle brought disgruntled boos from same fans whilst the Angels supporters celebrated joyously at the other end.

Jay Saunders said in his post-match interview: "Very pleased, home win, nice to score a few goals in front of our supporters. All-in-all, it's a good result."

Published Saturday 16th March 2024 (last updated Sunday 17th March 2024)