Title race out of U18s hands
Draw with Stones means Merstham can win title
Tonbridge U18s had to settle for a draw from a match in which they deserved better with the result leaving Merstham needing to win just one of their remaining two games with Maidstone their visitors on Thursday.
Tonbridge dominated the game throughout but chances were very much at a premium.
Two early chances fell to Sid Sollis. The first came from a Jack Bray long throw that found the head of Sollis who was only able to direct it at the Maidstone goalkeeper, Nathan Akhlaq. A minute later, following a Tommy Chapman cross, the talismanic striker fired over.
It was against the run of play when the Stones took a 15th minute lead. A corner from the right was misjudged by Lewis Mitchell which handed the influential Sid Warden an easy header to open the scoring.
Gaining confidence from their goal, Dale Ashman forced Mitchell into a decent save low to his left before Sollis struck a shot from the left hand angle of six yard box against the far post.
On the half-hour, a fine cross from Chapman was met with a header from Jack Fenton that was touched onto the crossbar by Akhlaq.
The hosts began the second half where they left off with Bray having a shot blocked and Fenton dragging the rebound wide.
Tonbridge deserved a bit of luck and this they got after 57 minutes when Callum Adonis-Taylor overhit a cross from the right that completely deceived the Maidstone ‘keeper and sailed into the net.
The game became one-way traffic as the Angels searched for a winner. A marginal offside decision denied Sollis a goal that would have been a masterful piece of finishing where it not for the linesman’s flag.
Ultimately, for all their possession and further chances that fell to Sollis and Fenton and a last gasp effort from Adonis-Taylor that was cleared from the line by Warden, it was not to be for Tonbridge, leaving the way clear for Merstham’s title party.
Tonbridge still have their Ryman Under-18 League Cup against Whitehawk at Whyteleafe next Thursday to look forward to and they can be justifiably proud that they have been part of an intriguing three-way race for the title.
Thanks to Wink Tomkinson for report