Snowden-Lewis first half hat trick lights up Academy
Second half penalties seal win against Eastbourne Borough
A first half hat trick from striker Ned Snowden-Lewis was the foundation for a 5-2 home win against Eastbourne Borough but with the final result still in doubt at the break it needed a much improved second half performance to finally run out with a convincing win.
In the early stages it was the visitors who overall were playing the better football and in particular were putting a lot of pressure on the Angels left flank. It seemed however that they were vulnerable to the long ball down the centre and as early as the 1st minute Snowden-Lewis gave notice that he was going to be quite a handful when running on to through pass he nearly outwitted the Sports defence. It was only a temporary reprieve for the visitors however as four minutes later a somewhat speculative pass from Regan Bowden was beautifuly controlled by Snowden-Lewis and getting between the two central defenders he finished with some style to put the Angels into the lead.
That lead wasn't to last long as in the 9th minute Eastbourne deservedly equalized playing through the Angels midfield and their no 9 applying the finish. At this stage it appeared that Eastbourne might well take control of the match - they were finding their players better than Tonbridge with superior ball control and better running off the ball. Once again it was Snowden-Lewis to the rescue when a long ball deceived the two Eastbourne central defenders and the striker with excellent control placed the ball past the advancing Eastbourne 'keeper and into an unguarded net.
The scores were once again level in the 23rd minute when Eastbourne's dangerous No 9 turned brilliantly in the box to claim his second strike. Various chances continued to fall the way of the visitors but the Angels two central defenders Harry Lewis and Harry Hudson were snuffing out the danger always in the knowledge that Snowden-Lewis ably supported by Jacob Lambert up front would possibly grab another goal.
And that was precisely what happened in the 38th minute when Snowden-Lewis claimed his hat track after cutting in from the left to give the Angels a very slender one goal advantage at the break.
After an instructive half time talk from joint manager Tom Parkinson it was a very much improved all round performance from the Angels with in particular their midfield really stepping up to the plate and taking the game to Eastbourne. The introduction of Rhys Bartlett in a forward role alongside Snowden-Lewis with Lambert dropping back to midfield on the hour mark also had a pivitol effect on the game in favour of the home side. In the 69th minute, Angels won a penalty when Lambert was upended in the area, Bartlett stepping up to score. Another penalty was awarded to the hosts in the 88th minute. This time Bartlett won the spot kick who then proceeded to pick himself up and fire again to the right but this time high into the top of the net giving the hapless Eastbourne goalkeeper no chance.
In the end it was a relatively comfortable win for the Academy and lessons will have been learnt around starting games the right way; but for the clinical efficiency of striker Snowden-Lewis in the 1st half it could have been a very different outcome.