Academy are goal crazy
By Wink Tomkinson
Bartlett, second nap hand in three games
Tonbridge Angels Academy have gone goal crazy in the last fortnight as two of the bottom three teams have been put to the sword to the tune of double figures, whilst Rhys Bartlett has helped himself to 14 goals in the last three games taking his season’s total to a remarkable 32 in just 13 games.
Unlike the game at Whyteleafe where an injury to the goalkeeper had a significant impact on the game and the result, this double-figured rout did not look on the cards in a first half in which Burgess Hill acquitted themselves well, took the lead and played their full part in a competitive 45 minutes.
The first 10 minutes saw the Tonbridge lads lethargically out of the blocks and from a corner after four minutes the visitors saw an effort on goal turned wide and an effort that was comfortably saved by Joe Roberts.
The Academy’s first real chance came after 14 minutes when good work from Leo Deere set up Ned Snowden-Lewis but his miskick in front of goal saw the opportunity pass.
Burgess Hill continued to offer a threat and it was no great surprise when they went ahead after 17 minutes when a corner was only cleared to the edge of the box from where an unchallenged strike on goal found the bottom corner.
The goal had the desired effect on the Angels and they were level within a minute when Bartlett sent Josh Stirman clear to round the goalkeeper and slot into an empty net.
Having responded to the shock of going behind, the home side now picked up the momentum and the chances started to come, but were also missed, with regular abandon.
The goalkeeper did well to save with his feet twice in a minute from Snowden-Lewis and Deere whilst a Bartlett header from a corner that was headed on by Deere was directed at the goalkeeper.
As the goalkeeper excelled and chances were wasted it took until the second minute of added time before Tonbridge finally got a lead to take into the break after Snowden-Lewis had first set-up Bartlett to have a shot blocked, which fell to Deere whose effort was also blocked before Bartlett was able to stab it home.
During the half-time break the green 3G carpet turned white as a heavy hailstorm engulfed King’s Hill leaving the spectators glad of the Sports Bar and a warming cuppa.
It was not only the colour of the carpet that had changed but the tempo of the match as Tonbridge scored twice in the opening three minutes of the half to set in motion the deluge that was about to follow.
Within a minute of the restart an inch-perfect cross from the right to the far post from Regan Bowden allowed Snowden-Lewis a tap-in and a couple of minutes later it was a carbon copy as this time the striker converted with a header.
Bartlett, set-up by Deere, notched number five after 57 minutes and after the goalkeeper had done well to deny Stirman and Bartlett, substitute Saul Masungeyi gave a very good assist to allow Stirman the sixth.
A fine move between Snowden-Lewis and Bartlett gave Masungeyi number seven two minutes later.
Credit should be given to Burgess Hill who did not allow their heads to drop but the goals continued to flow with a curling shot into the top corner from the edge of the box giving Bartlett his hat-trick.
Bartlett was to add two more for his second nap hand in three games with a shot into the bottom corner after 80 minutes and after a well-crafted move including the excellent Charlie Owen and substitute Sam Babayale, a tap-in to make it 10-1.
As at Whyteleafe last week, this was a ruthless second half performance that produced some great goals, the result of excellent team play.