Academy earn a point from Ebbsfleet
By Wink Tomkinson
Hard fought encounter fails to find a winner
Tonbridge Angels Academy retained their unbeaten start to their League season with a hard fought point against Ebbsfleet United at STC Sports Club, Eltham.
Tom Parkinson, with Jamie Coyle alongside him in the technical area, was light on numbers with five players unavailable through injury and effectively was only able to list one substitute.
The pitch was, in truth, a bit of a cabbage patch and difficult for both sides and the leaden skies had turned into an irritating drizzle. Tonbridge started the brighter with Jacob Lambert pulling a shot wide and Ned Lewis forcing Ebbsfleet goalkeeper, Omar Adam, into a save low to his left.
Lewis brought another save out of Adam and Zak Wolvey fired over as the Angels controlled the first half hour before the home side went close when a corner was allowed to travel to the far post from where Zaccharia Dainkhh shot into the side netting.
Joe Roberts was asked to make his first real contribution to the half in the final minute when he saved low to his left from Aruf Ahmed before the referee called time on a 45 minutes that the Angels had largely been in full control.
Parkinson was forced to use his sole fit substitute, Tom Hylton early into the second period when Joel Banks limped out of the action.
Ebbsfleet, probably responding to a few harsh words during the break, offered a great deal more going forward and after 53 minutes, a speculative shot from the impressive Dantai Demontagnac slipped through the grasp of Roberts to open the scoring.
The game opened out after the goal with chances falling to both sides, the Angels’ Lewis firing wide after being put through by Josh Stirman and, following a free kick floated into the box by Sam Slipper, Harry Hudson planted a header against the bar.
Lambert shot narrowly wide before the visitors drew level with a shot from outside of the box by Stirman that similarly slipped through the grasp of Adam after 72 minutes.
Tonbridge will be disappointed with themselves that following a corner of their own, the ball was punted forward with Dainkhh galloping away down the left to provide a tap-in for Darnell Edwards-Henry to restore Ebbsfleet’s lead after 76 minutes.
But the Angels roared back and were level just a minute later. Slipper floated in another free kick that this time was met by a powerful header from Harry Lewis to restore parity.
The heavy nature of the pitch, with the grass desperately in need of the sight of a mower, told on all the players in the final 10 minutes who were beginning to run on empty and neither side had quite the energy to craft a winner.
Tom Parkinson said after the game that he couldn’t have asked more from his team in terms of effort but had been disappointed with the decision making that led to the two goals conceded.