Academy thrill at the Gallagher
By Wink Tomkinson
Angels ease to derby day win over Maidstone
For any Tonbridge Angels supporter, a 4-0 drubbing of arch-rivals Maidstone United at whatever level, and at the Gallagher, is cause for celebration. But for Academy manager Tom Parkinson, whilst applauding a fantastic result against an established Academy fielding second and third year students, he felt that his team could have been better. He felt that their quality was not good enough and ball retention could have been a lot better.
Parkinson could not have been any more pleased with the way the Angels’ youngsters started the game. With less than a minute on the clock, a free kick won on the left hand angle of the 18 yard box, was fired into the bottom corner by Charlie Owen, a midfielder making his first appearance for the Academy.
Also making a first start were Ola Williams, a tall central defender and, in goal, Lewis Mitchell formerly of the Angels’ Under-18 side, who stepped in for the injured Joe Roberts and Tommy Taylor.
Whilst Tonbridge dominated the early possession it was not without a scare when, after 12 minutes, Maidstone's Charlie Deinnger crashed a left-sided free kick against the bar.
From a corner, Williams steered a header wide but the Stones’ aerial difficulties were exposed again on 22 minutes when a Sam Slipper corner was converted by a far post header from Harry Hudson.
Maidstone came back into the game in the last quarter hour of the half. Maidstone's Matt Hathaway had the ball in the net, but was ruled out for offside and after a 30 yard shot had only been parried to a waiting Jamie Sherlock, Mitchell did well to smother his shot from close range.
Tonbridge reasserted themselves in the opening stages of the second period with Jacob Lambert hitting the bar and Ned Lewis seeing his shot from the rebound being saved.
But, after 50 minutes, some excellent wing work from Charlie Dumas ended with him standing-up a cross that left Rhys Bartlett with a close range header to effectively wrap-up the game for the Angels.
To remove any doubt, the visitors added a fourth after 63 minutes when a Slipper free kick from the right was met with a glancing header by Williams.
Harry Hudson, once more exposed Maidstone’s frailty in the air, but steered his header wide. Despite Maidstone’s late search for a consolation that brought Mitchell’s only meaningful save of the half, the Angels eased their way through to the end of the match and a well-deserved three points.
Tonbridge Angels: Lewis Mitchell, Regan Bowden, Luke Taylor (Zak Wolvey 46), Sam Slipper (Harrison Mayhew 66), Ola Williams, Harry Hudson, Jacob Lambert (Saul Masungey 60), Charlie Owen, Rhys Bartlett, Charlie Dumas, Ned Lewis (Nick Ithier 79).