U18s do double over Ashford United
Ikeije stars for Angels
Manager Jay Stubberfield made six changes to his side to give game time to his squad ahead of next week’s FA Youth Cup tie against Maidstone United and was very satisfied with the outcome beating Ashford United 4-2.
Henry Ikeije delighted on the Homeland’s 3G surface with his quick feet that proved too much for his opponents who constantly brought him down for free kicks.
Ikeije might have given the Angels the lead after just 12 seconds when sent through on goal but was denied by the Ashford goalkeeper, Wharton, saving bravely at his feet, injuring himself in the process. It was the first of a series of fine saves from the home keeper.
Tonbridge did go ahead though after just two minutes when Jack Fenton shot low into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
The visitors were forced to make an early substitution when Louis Pateman was injured. Before they could get James Tansil on the pitch and reorganise the back line the home side equalised with a shot from their left back.
Richard Frempong produced a mazy run that ended with him being unceremoniously brought down on the edge of the box and a shot from 20 yards brought an acrobatic save from Wharton.
In first half added time, Tonbridge regained the lead when Ikeije latched onto a loose clearance to fire in from around the penalty spot.
Tonbridge made a half-time substitution with Frempong being replaced by Jack Cussen.
After 55 minutes a solo run and shot from Kunle Bakare increased Tonbridge’s lead to 3-1.
Four minutes later the game was over as a contest when, following a corner that was returned to the taker, the second cross found the head of Ikeije who steered it into the net.
Ashford pulled one back just after the hour when Lewis Mitchell spilt a shot and the rebound was tucked home from close range and a couple of minutes later they also hit a post.
Tonbridge’s disciplinary problems of last week’s cup tie against Dover were put into context when a late booking for Connor Watson was the only blot on the copybook. This was for an accumulation of fouls, a punishment that could have been easily have been dealt for the treatment of Ikeije.
Jay Stubberfield said after the game that he was probably more pleased with this performance, given the changes, than he was with the 5-0 routing of the same opponents earlier in the season and singled out Ikeije for his performance.
Tonbridge’s FA Youth Cup tie against Maidstone is at Longmead next Wednesday.
Report by Wink Tomkinson