Five second half goals for the Academy
Second half recovery too good for Hastings
Tonbridge Angels Academy produced a superb second half performance to overcome a Jekyll and Hyde Hastings United team on the 3G at Kings Hill.
After a good opening 10 minutes for the Angels, the visitors who arrived slightly late, appeared to get the travel out of the legs and went on to dominate the opening half.
Ned Snowdon-Lewis had two chances in the first six minutes, the second of which being safely deflected to the Hastings goalkeeper and a minute later he saw his effort crash against the bar after being well assisted by Jacob Lambert. Zak Wolvey had his follow-up attempt blocked as the Hastings’ defenders bravely threw bodies in front of the ball.
Tonbridge continued to force the pace with Harry Hudson heading over from a corner but following a strong, but fair, challenge on Tyler Richardson, a formation reshuffle was needed after 17 minutes as the full back was unable to continue. Harrison Mayhew, fresh back from an injury lay-off himself was introduced.
As the Angels’ took time to adapt to the changed formation, Hastings grew into the game. Their burly centre forward and strike partner were a handful with the left winger, who had been giving Richardson a few problems, supplying the service.
The right midfielder (sorry, no names for the Hastings team) struck the bar and Hudson needed to clear from the line as the visitors pressed forward.
Eventually something would have to give and, on 31 minutes, it inevitably did. Some fine work down the left from the winger ended with a pass inside and a further pass from the number 10 to the main striker who scored from close range.
Hastings were now in complete ascendancy and Joe Roberts needed to make a good save low to his left to maintain the scoreline.
The Angels were forced into a second substitution when they lost another defender, Harry Lewis, to another strong challenge, this time forward Tom Hylton was the replacement necessitating another reshuffle.
Such was the nature of the first half with Hastings dominant and Tonbridge having to reshuffle it was difficult to imagine the way the second half would unfold.
Whatever Tommy Parkinson put in their half-time tea is worth bottling because from the outset the Angels were on the front foot and the Hastings’ goalkeeper, who had be sound in the first period looked a nervous character.
Lambert fired over and from a raid by full back Luke Taylor, the goalkeeper made a fumbling stop before, nine minutes into the second half, from a corner that wasn’t dealt with in any convincing fashion, the ball fell to Mayhew who bundled it in with the visitor’s claiming that he it hadn’t crossed the line.
The referee had throughout the first period made some strange decisions that particularly riled Hastings and led to their coach getting a ticking off. But, with the goal decision going against them, they lost their discipline and their game consequently suffered.
After 65 minutes a good pass from Lambert sent Hylton clear to finish coolly into the bottom corner past the advancing keeper.
A very poor challenge from the Hastings’ right back brought a booking and a melee of handbags that was quickly brought to end by the Tonbridge staff who ordered their players away from the scene to allow the referee to do his job. Whether he did that with a yellow is open to question.
Retribution was quickly administered from the resultant free kick, delivered into the box by Sam Slipper, for Hudson to bury.
Tonbridge were now in complete control and, with six minutes remaining, Josh Stirman exquisitely curled a shot into the top corner to ensure the three points were going home with the Angels.
Hastings rallied briefly in time added and Roberts was asked to field a couple of efforts but in the final act, a well worked move between Stirman and Lewis ended with Hylton having a tap-in for his second, and Tonbridge’s fifth of the game.
The result lifts the Angels into third place in the National League Under-19 Alliance league table. Next week they entertain Bromley Reds in a Cup game at Kings Hill, 1 o’clock kick off.