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Tonbridge Angels 0
1 Worthing
Pearce (62')

Angels edged by Worthing

Tonbridge welcomed Worthing to Longmead on Saturday afternoon. On a day where half of the league’s fixtures were cancelled due to frozen pitches, the Angels were reminded of how lucky they are for the artificial surface they have. 

In came Nathan Odokonyero (striker) and Liam Vincent (full-back) for Tonbridge, two new faces in blue. For Worthing, their eleven was unchanged from a 1-4 victory away at Truro last weekend. Tonbridge's XI: Henly, Hinds, Fielding, Lyons-Foster, Vincent, Higgs, Wagstaff, Gard, Dabre, Odokonyero, Lock.

Worthing got the game underway and started well, forcing an error from Tonbridge’s new loanee left-back which enabled a cross to Ollie Pearce who fell to the ground appealing for an early penalty after the slightest of contact with Hinds. The referee didn’t buy it.  

Jonny Henly was called to action in the fifth minute after Jake Robinson was fed through. He found a gap to shoot but was denied by the Angels stopper who made a save with his legs. 

Jordan Higgs looked to replicate his recent wonder goal against Maidstone in the fourteenth minute with a volley from the edge of the box which fell wide of the left post. Tonbridge applied some pressure after that chance which saw a nervy moment at the back for Worthing and an ambitious penalty shout from the hosts.  

Tonbridge fired a number of shots narrowly wide or high throughout the first half and struggled to capitalise on several good crosses. Closer to half time, Danny Cashman found himself in a positive position closing in on a goal and with Henly coming out to make himself bigger, the winger blazed it over the bar.  

Worthing started the second period well. Pearce thundered the ball into the side netting, an early warning of what was to come on 62 minutes when he was clinical in the box converting a header after the ball had been ricocheting in the six-yard box. 

Nathan Odokonyero showed positive signs in his debut appearance for Angels, impressing on multiple occasions with positive runs and touches. He slotted in well and combined nicely with Paris Lock who, after driving into the box on the eightieth minute, danced around a number of defenders and won a penalty for Tonbridge.  

Lewis Gard who has an excellent record from the spot this season stepped up but unfortunately rifled it over with a rare lack of composure. Fate was sealed and the Angels despite their best efforts in the closing stages couldn’t equalise. Worthing took three points back to the south coast and Tonbridge’s 9 game unbeaten run at home came to conclusion.  

Tonbridge boss Jay Saunders said after the game “I felt we created chances in the first half, didn’t get going in the second and they’ve scored. I feel for Gardy with the penalty, I thought he had a good game”.

Published Saturday 20th January 2024