Under-18s edged out at Cobdown
By Wink Tomkinson
Angels bow out of Kent Cup following a thriller
An old boxing adage is that a good big man should beat a great little ‘un. I not sure it entire translates to football, but on this occasion a team that emanated from the Land of the Giants eventually emerged victorious against a team from Lilliput.
I swear when K Sports brought on a player with number 37 on his back, you could only look on in bemusement as to how any lad could grow to that height and build by the age of 18.
Whilst Tonbridge Angels Under-18’s had been drawn at home in this Kent Cup Quarter Final, the pitch at Hadlow was unplayable and the game was switched to K Sports’ 3G surface at Cobdown.
K Sports took the lead after 10 minutes when a corner was met with a perfectly directed header from Harry Hudson, unfortunately into his own net.
The lead was only to last three minutes when good work down the left led to a cross that was turned goalwards by Saul Masungeyi but saved with the rebound also blocked before Charlie Bates found the net from close range.
The game had a good ebb and flow with both goalkeeper’s excelling until a ten minute spell turned the game firmly in K Sports’ favour.
After 27 minutes, the K Sports right winger pulled a pass back from the bye-line into the path of the centre forward whose powerfully hit shot went through the hands of Josh Leese and into the top corner.
Three minutes later the home side doubled their advantage when the centre forward was allowed to travel from the right side before cracking a shot into the bottom corner.
Four minutes later, it appeared that it was game over when K Sports’ height advantage was used to full effect as a corner was converted with a powerful header.
Tonbridge responded immediately to give themselves a foothold in the game when Bradley Austin headed a cross into the path of Masungeyi who beat the K Sports goalkeeper at his near post.
Austin was a shot tipped over and K Sports had a goal disallowed before the break as the end-to-end nature of the game continued.
Goalkeepers making saves, chances wasted in the opening 20 minutes of the second period before, with 15 minutes to go, Tonbridge gave themselves every chance of clawing this thrilling cup tie back into their grasp. Musengeyi surged down the right and pulled a cross back from the bye-line for Charlie Bowles to score from close range.
Four minutes later they were level when a ball into the box failed to be cleared and Jamie Drapper’s shot was deflected into the net.
Perhaps the momentum might have been with the Angels for the final 10 minutes but when another cross was swung into the box there was a K Sports head to direct the ball into the bottom past the despairing dive of Leese.
Nick Ithier saw his effort turned aside whilst Leese also made a fine save as the semi-final berth remained in doubt to the final whistle.