The last week has been one of milestones both on and off the pitch at the Academy.
On the pitch we had a major first! Wednesday’s games produced the first time that all three of our sides have not only won their games but also each side delivered a clean sheet.
The Elite squad maintained their lead at the head of the National League Under-19 Alliance with a 3-0 home win over Phoenix Sports. The title race looks set to be won in a showdown with Whyteleafe, date for your diary, on 25th March.
A goal from skipper Harry Hudson, who on the previous night, had been a second half substitute in the first team friendly at Bracknell Town, put the Angels in front after 10 minutes and this remained the scoreline at the break.
Second half goals from Jacob Lambert after 65 minutes and substitute Louis Copeland, four minutes from time wrapped up the game. Tom Parkinson said after the game that it was a “good first win of the New Year against a good Phoenix side with a clean sheet to go with it. We defended brilliantly throughout.”
The Development 1 side travelled down to Broadstairs for their Kent Schools Academies Premiership game against St George’s, (TSC Academy), who beat them at Kings Hill by 4-1 earlier in the season. But this time, it was Tonbridge that prevailed with a thoroughly workmanlike performance that limited their hosts to just a couple of chances whilst creating plenty of their own. Goals from Josh Reed, who scored after 19 minutes after being set up by Shay Haffenden and a second half effort from Max Webb who got the final touch following a free kick into the box by Angus Fife.
Arguably though, the best performance of the day came from the Development 2 side who beat Wrotham School (Pro Soccer Academy) by a single goal from Nathan Wye. As with the other Development side this reversed an earlier season defeat, but this was all the more remarkable as they took to the field without a recognised goalkeeper with regular midfielder Callum Donaghue taking the gloves.
Tom Parkinson paid tribute to all his Academy sides highlighting the fact that across the three teams they had 15 players unavailable for various reasons. “Hard work and application of those who played today was fantastic. The Improvement as individuals and as a team from the start of the year to now has been massive. Credit to Dom Welsh and Rhys Bartlett who have been a big part of the students development.”
This week’s Man of the Match awards went to Ben Twist, Luke Taylor and Wesley Ibeawuchi.
Of the players presently out on dual registration, last Saturday, Ned Lewis made his debut for Snodland, coming off the bench for the last half-hour against Rochester United whilst Saul Masungeyi featured in Snodland’s Hospitals Charity Cup win on penalties after 1-1 draw with FC Elmstead. Sam Babayale also came off the bench for Tunbridge Wells as they progressed to the Third Round of the SCEFL Challenge Cup at the expense of Canterbury City.
Off the pitch, as the trials edge ever closer, came the announcement that, for the first time, the Academy will be opening its doors to girls. If you are a girl in year 11/12 who wants to study whilst playing football daily please sign up via: http://form.jotformeu.com/92911723517357
for the trials At Hugh Christie School on 19/20 February.