Tonbridge edged by Torquay at Plainmoor
Tonbridge Angels and 78 of their fans travelled to Devon on Saturday afternoon. Sean Shields wasn’t available due to illness and Ben Swift’s injury against Havant ruled him out. The starting eleven was: Henly, Hinds, Fielding, Sutcliffe, Meade, Higgs, Wagstaff, Gard, Mampolo, Greenidge, Dabre.
Tonbridge were the stronger side in the first half, but it was Torquay that took the lead inside 10 minutes. A breakaway goal was scored by Da Silva after Lewis Collins was set away down the left-hand side leaving Francis Mampolo behind him and delivering a good cross into the area for Torquay’s winger to tuck home.
Jordan Greenidge had a penalty appeal waved away on 14 minutes when the opposition keeper Halstead collided with him. From the stands, the evidence was inconclusive, but the referee was confident in his decision.
Torquay found gaps at times, but Tonbridge were still the dominant outfit with chances like Jordan Higgs’ long shot that struck the crossbar on the 26-minute mark and closer to half time, Jamie Fielding’s freekick which forced a good save from Halsted in the United net. In additional time, chaos in the six-yard box left Tonbridge fans perplexed as to how the ball didn’t go over the line.
Out for the second half it was a nightmare start with a couple of miskicks from the kick off but just 14 minutes into the second period, Francis Mampolo brought Angels back level. Having been told to ‘be positive’ by assistant manager Lloyd Blackman, Mampolo cut in from the left side of the 18-yard box and let fly into the far corner.
Just a few minutes later though, Torquay went ahead again. After what looked like a foul on Wagstaff in midfield, the hosts progressed down the right flank and Bradley Ash scored first time on the end of a cross and consequently dampened Tonbridge’s celebrations from the recent equaliser.
Challenges were flying in throughout the closing stages as the tension grew. Naturally substitutions were made for both sides which included the introduction of new signing Obed Yeboah for Mo Dabre who put in a good shift. Ansu Janneh also got a cameo, a decent chunk of time too despite coming on in the 86th minute as the referee added 10 minutes after a number of injuries.
Although there was the typical carnage of stoppage time, the status quo remained, and Torquay took the points despite a fighting performance from Tonbridge.
Jay Saunders commented after the game “I’m disappointed to come away with nothing, I thought we were good for large parts. The supporters were amazing, start to finish. We really appreciate their support.”