Academy stretch the league leaders
By Wink Tomkinson
Defensive lapses prove costly
Academy manager Tommy Parkinson was more than a little frustrated that his charges had not taken any reward from this game against the National Academies League leaders, Bromley Reds.
After a very good hour in which they took the lead through a Josh Stirman goal after 59 minutes, two defensive lapses allowed Bromley to return home with all three points.
On a shirt-sleeves February morning at King’s Hill, neither team gained in dominance in a competitive, highly entertaining first half. Bromley centre forward, Kerry Oubefun, a strapping lad, fired wide and Leo Deere sent a shot over the bar for the Angels in the early exchanges.
The first goalkeeper to make a meaningful save was Tonbridge’s Tommy Taylor saving with his feet from Aaron Obikoi-Simeon after 18 minutes.
A cross from Sam Slipper found the head of Harry Hudson but his effort was directed at Ryan Coltress.
As the half progressed it was the hosts that gained the momentum with Stirman sending a volley narrowly wide and following a great pass over the top from Ned Snowden-Lewis, Tom Barton was thwarted by the advancing Coltress.
To end the half, Snowden-Lewis brought a save from the Bromley ‘keeper.
The second half began with the Angels’ continuing to hold sway and this culminated in the 59th minute when Stirman curled a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box to give the hosts a deserved lead.
How different the result might have been had Tonbridge gone into a two goal lead when, after 65 minutes, Coltress made a double save to deny Snowden-Lewis and Deere and five minutes later Bromley were level. Following a corner an effort was cleared from the line by Hudson but the clearance fell to Lewis Miller who drove home from 10 yards.
Bromley now had the momentum and they needed to take home the points with Dover breathing down their necks at the top of the table, on level points but with two games in hand.
After 78 minutes they took the lead with a fine individual goal, but one that frustrated Parkinson, as Obikoi-Simeon ran through at least five defenders without a significant challenge before planting his finish past Taylor.
Bromley’s Festos Kanara struck the right hand post with two minutes remaining but Tonbridge might just have squeezed some reward out of the game when a well directed free kick from goalkeeper Taylor found Hudson at the far post but his header only found the side netting.
It is perhaps indicative of the progress made when a narrow defeat by one of the county's best Academies is considered frustrating.