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U15s through to Kent Cup semis

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Nail biting penalty shootout against Faversham Town

Faversham had only lost once in the league so far this season, so this tie was always going to be tough. 

Angels team: Larkin, Dennis, Wallis, Little, Hollamby, Nicholls, Burke, Wolvey, Lambert and Hartley.

Subs; McCusker, Smith, Lawrence, Mellish and Barden 

A tough game was expected and a tough game we got, the opening 10 minutes went by with a sloppy start from the Angels , promoted by a lightening start from Faversham Town. Lots of pressure applied, and a few sloppy clearances from the Angels meant that Angels couldn’t find any rhythm or a foot hold into the game. Faversham we’re pushing and pushing but never in the first 15 minutes found much space in behind or any memorable openings , a few long ranged efforts were no trouble for keeper Matt Larkin. 

15 minutes in and Angels were slowly starting to find their feet in this game , the midfield now breaking lines and playing forward to the feet of Fin Wolvey who was causing all sorts of problems for Faversham’s midfield and defence. However on 21 minutes it was Faversham who struck first, sloppy defending in their own box saw Angels dispossessed and a well struck effort found the bottom left corner. 1-0 Faversham. 

The Angels didn’t panic and  it was now their turn to apply the pressure for a period of the game. The Angels worked the Faversham keeper into a couple of smart saves at the feet of Hartley and Lambert , but that didn’t stop the Angels pushing, with Faversham looking to threaten on the break. However the Angels couldn’t break own the Town back 5. And with 10 minutes left it was again Faversham’s turn to push and push with no luck. But with two to play before HT on 38” it was a well struck clearance from Alfie Dennis who found the feet of Finn Hartley who’s first touch was delightful and fed the ball to Wolvey who was impacting the game from everywhere. His cross field ball was well headed clear by the Town defence, Finn Hartley picked up the second ball 10 yards outside the box and his chest and left foot volley found the bottom corner for the Angels! 1-1. 

Half time arrived and the Angels had to be content with the score line having not been able to play their normal style of play, credit to Faversham for their tireless work off the ball. 

The second half began and and it had a similar feel the half with both teams having periods of the ball and large amounts of pressure without massively testing each keeper. The game was feisty and a great advert for youth football , it had everything! The second half went by without too much action... the biggest chance of the half fell to Isaac Barden, the first time the Angels really found their passing rhythm when 5 quick passes made its way to Isaac 1 on 1 with the keeper, usually so reliable in front of goal, however the pressure was too much and it was blasted wide. 

Both teams making use of their subs and fresh legs kept the game entertaining , Faversham’s main second half threats came from deep balls and set plays fired into the Angels box, which Angels stood firm from. The Faversham striker was causing problems with his strength and speed however Little and Wallis were on top form to keep him quiet. 

It was in the last 5 minutes where the action really started! With the game destined for  extra time it took a dramatic turn in Faversham’s favour. 75” on the clock with 5 left to play, Faversham No.6 (massive shout out to the lad who was a threat all day) chopped in from the right hand side , all of 30/35 yards out fired a breathtaking effort into the far right hand corner to surely win it for his side. It takes something special to beat Larkin from such range, and it was truly spectacular, worthy of winning any game. 

By the time we restarted play their was 4 minutes on the clock, Angels management chucked the kitchen sink at the final moments pushing everyone forward! There was lots of effort and pushing from the Angels but it looked too late. Until the very last minute , Fin Hartley cut in from the left and his effort was spilled by the Town keeper, the never say die attitude from Angels which has been ever present this season saw the desire from Max Lambert to chase the ball in, toe it around the keeper and subsequently brought down by the goalkeeper! 79” on the clock... PENALTY ANGELS! 

Fin Wolvey is always so clinical from 12 yards, scoring many penalties over the past 2 and a bit seasons for the Angels... this one was the biggest. Nerves. Pressure. JUBILATION!!! Fin Wolvey saw his penalty sneak past the keeper who guessed the right way!! 2-2 in the dying seconds of the game!! 

The game headed into extra time, with Angels not at their best today it was pure determination that gone them through. A tactical change from the Angels saw a more cautious approach hoping that not conceding in the next 20 minutes would give us the best chance . Knowing we’ll always create one more chance for ourselves. 

Credit Faversham who over the next 20 minutes knocked and knocked on the door but couldn’t break a solid Angels shape down, Angels played on the counter and nearly had some joy down the flanks , neither side had any clear chances in the 20 minutes , heading to penalties!! 

Note: in the summer we went to various tournaments and had many penalty shootouts which we managed to loose 3/4 finals to. So penalties never our strong point!!

Up first was the Angels, goes without saying ... for boys of ages 14/15 playing with their mates. Stepping up to take a penalty in such a big game is no easy feat. So a massive well done to all 9 lads who stepped up .

Finley Wolvey stepped up first after getting us to this point and saw his penalty blast off the bar! 

Faversham punishes the Angels with a low strike into the bottom corner. 1-0 Faversham . 

Up next CB Joe Wallis, we all know Joe can strike a ball so it was no surprise when his strike was blasted into the side of the goal!! 

Big moments in games call for big players , and I couldn’t be happier for a nicer lad to be writing these next few lines... an absolute hero of the team who deserves all the credit . 

Up stepped the ever dangerous Faversham forward who powerfully diverted his kick towards the bottom right corner, and across flew Matt Larkin right by the corner of the goal to push away!! A HUGE MOMENT IN THIS TIE! 1-1. 

Up stepped Isaac Barden who’s powerful effort beat the keeper low into the left corner!!

ITS THAT TIME AGAIN!! Faversham town stepped up for their third penalty, a confident run up from the Town player saw him blast the ball arrowing towards the top left corner...and met by THE most remarkable penalty save you will ever see from stopper Matt Larkin. Absolutely ridiculous piece of goalkeeping from the Angels number one. 2-1 Angels !! 

Up stepped forward Fin Hartley who’s always deadly inside the box, the most composed penalty of them all stroking the ball into the bottom right! 

Faversham NO.6 stepped up and there was no doubt where this was heading . Straight into the top corner , despite somehow Larkin getting a finger to it!! 3-2 Angels. 

The pressure now fell onto full back Alfie Dennis, who had never taken a penalty for Angels before... but Alfie is the biggest character in the squad and he confidently volunteered to take! Up stepped Dennis who’s powerful low penalty was too far away from the keeper who went the right way!! 4-2 Angels and it’s all over!! 

Celebrations followed as the Angels booked themselves into the last 8 in Kent. 

What a game. Huge credit to Faversham Town who played better on the day, but sometimes you can’t beat spirt, and the Angels never say die attitude saw them through this topsy turvy game. Unbelievable .

MOM Matt Larkin- two moments of magic in the shoot out saw the Angels progress . The video of our shootout including the saves can be found on our twitter!! (Tonbridge Angels U15’s)

Goals - Hartley and Wolvey (p) 

Published Friday 29th November 2019