Academy run riot at Whyteleafe
By Wink Tomkinson
Twelve goals in extraordinary second half
An unfortunate injury to Whyteleafe’s goalkeeper after 19 minutes which led to a substitution with an outfield player was a contributory factor as Tonbridge Angels ruthlessly exploited their hosts misfortune with a stunning second half performance.
The result could never have been envisioned as the game moved into first half time added with the Angels Academy leading by a single Rhys Bartlett goal. But two goals in a minute gave the half-time scoreline a completely different look at 3-0.
Tonbridge went in front on 15 minutes when a header forward from Harry Hudson split the Whyteleafe defence for Bartlett to stride clear and finish.
After a corner and an accidental collision with Bartlett, the goalkeeper suffered a broken nose leading to his replacement. The outfield player turned custodian did well to deny Sam Slipper and one of his defenders came to his assistance to acrobatically clear from the line after Josh Stirman had lobbed the goalkeeper.
The goalkeeper’s handling wasn’t always the best but he was getting his body behind the ball making saves from Stirman and Bartlett, although the former was guilty of putting a gilt-edged chance wide as the clock ticked into the time added for the injury.
Early in this seven minute period, Whyteleafe created a couple of chances themselves which the lively Louis Simmons was unable to convert.
A cross from the left from Bartlett was palmed into the air for Leo Deere to score with a close range header and within a minutes after a shot from Bartlett had crashed against the bar, Deere powered in a shot that even a first choice goalkeeper would have done well to keep out.
At 3-0 it would have been easy to take the foot off the pedal and become complacent but one can imagine that Tommy Parkinson’s half-time talk was not going to allow this.
In the 54th minute a goalkeeper’s kick from the hands by Tommy Taylor was allowed, on the bounce, to find its way through to Bartlett who scored into the bottom corner. But Taylor’s assist was immediately negated as a woefully poor pass across the face of his goal was intercepted by Simmons who was able to run the ball into an empty net.
A third goal in two minutes came when Deere set up Hudson for a blistering drive from 20 yards and, two minutes later, Deere set up Ned Snowden-Lewis to score from the edge of the box for 6-1 with four goals having been scored in four minutes.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Whyteleafe’s heads had dropped and the game became ridiculously one-sided but also became an opportunity for the Tonbridge lads to showcase some wonderful passing football.
After 65 minutes, Bartlett completed his hat-trick when he tapped-in following the goalkeeper’s parry of Deere’s shot and Stirman added an eighth a minute later.
An eye-catching interchange of passes between Barlett, Stirman and Snowden-Lewis set up the former for 9-1.
Double figures was reached after 73 minutes when Snowden-Lewis rounded the goalkeeper and three minutes later, he was brought down for Deere to convert from the spot and complete his hat-trick.
Another fine passing move ended with Stirman making it 12-1 and Snowden-Lewis completed his hat-trick with a tap-in with Bartlett providing the assist.
A fifth goal for Bartlett with a sublime finish into the top corner and one in the last minute for Deere, his fourth, made it 15-1 for the heaviest win by any team in the league this season.
Tommy Parkinson, complete with plaster cast and crutches and making very light work of the high step climb to the dressing room, was naturally delighted and described his team as ruthless with some fantastic goals scored.
Meanwhile, at Hugh Christie, the Development team beat North West Kent 2-1 to close down their season. They suffered some heavy defeats in their first six games, but they have improved immeasurably to finish comfortably in mid-table and deserve much credit.