6 months ago
By Steve Churcher
Thurrock 2-2 Tonbridge Angels - Roger Maddams reports from Ship Lane.
Take It Over the Bridge
Thurrock (1) 2 Tonbridge Angels (1) 2
Tuesday 12 September 2017
Soul man James Brown implored his team to take it to the bridge. On a wet, wild & windy night by the Dartford Crossing, the Angels broke their 3 league & 1 FA Cup defeat slump with a hard-fought point – Take It Over the Bridge & Back to Kent as James might have yelled had he had a TN postcode rather than an Atlanta one.
The Angels started with one change from Saturday’s line up with George Beavan replacing Liam Smith and Craig Stone moving back to right back, Angels in the now-familiar diamond. They faced up to a Thurrock side starting the day in 20th place who started with a 4-2-3-1 pattern, their line being led by Dennis Oli who played over 150 times for Gillingham.
Tonbridge started very brightly and had much the better of the play in the first half. A few sighter shots from Joe Turner and Dan Thompson in the opening 10 minutes either warmed the hands of shocking-pink clad home keeper Jake Jessup or whizzed over towards the nearby M25. Bang on Met Office cue around 15 minutes in the rains came, at the Angels’ back in the first period. Alex Akrofi was causing considerable concern to the home defence with determined & pacy running onto through balls fed through from the diamond. On 24 minutes, Alex Akrofi was rewarded with a twisting, spinning run from the left side of the box smashing in his shot into the roof of the Thurrock net. Right on right on, get on up…
The lead lasted briefly until the 30th minute when somewhat against the run of play, a lofted ball into the left side space behind a retreating Jay Siva and an onrushing Jonny Henly saw the attempted clearance loop off a combination of those and the pursuing Reece Morgan into the path of the unmarked Joel Nouble 25 yards out. His equanimous finish chipped the ball home into the vacant unguarded net.
Tonbridge got back on the good foot to bring smart saves from the home keeper on 38mins from a Tom Beere snap shot and Dan Thompson header a minute later. Half time 1-1
Liam Smith replaced George Beavan at half time – a twinging hamstring. The wind and lachrymose night was now firmly in Thurrock’s favour as the second half unfolded, with Thurrock pressing far harder on the Angels back line and the front two became more isolated and less effective. Although the second for Thurrock on 76minutes was disappointing – an unchallenged bullet header by Joe Christou from a corner through Jonny Henly’s arms – it was definitely with the tide of the half.
Somewhat unexpectedly that tide turned on 88 minutes when a Tom Beere free kick on the left corner of the home box was partially cleared to Luke Blewden whose return was met by an onrushing Chris Kinnear to sweep the ball home from 6 yards. Buoyed, Tonbridge pressed hard for a late, late winner almost paying the price with wide spaces at the back leading to a Beere caution in the 93rd minute.
Afterwards, manager Steve McKimm commented that he was “very pleased with the point, dominating the first half although the players were down in only getting a draw.” He gave particular praise for half time sub Liam Smith, up against a very tricky (and large) opponent in number 9 Joel Nouble.
Take it back over the bridge…
Team: Henly, Stone, Siva, Kinnear, Miles, Beavan (sub Smith 46m), Whitnell (sub Blewden 57m), Beere, Thompson (sub McCollin 65m), Akrofi, Turner. Unused subs; Elder, Adonis-Taylor
Updated 10:36 - 23 Sep 2017 by Steve Churcher