Further progress in league campaign for U18s
Deserved win despite some tired legs
Tonbridge Under-18s were made to fight hard to retain the three points won in a good first half performance as the exploits of Monday night’s extra-time victory over Lordswood took their toll.
Manager Jay Stubberfield was able to welcome back Tommy Chapman and Sid Sollis, who marked his return with an energetic performance, a hat-trick and a yellow card that rules him out of the next fixture. All in a day’s work for the irrepressible Sid!
Greenwich Borough who play their Under-18 games at Meridian Sports and Social, Charlton on an immaculate pitch began the evening just a single place behind Tonbridge on goal difference, so an evenly contested game was expected.
Tonbridge started much the brighter and in the first eight minutes carved out chances for Jardell Conteh, two efforts from Sollis, who was taking a shoot on sight approach and a cross that just eluded Guy Taylor. So it came as no surprise when the visitors went ahead after 12 minutes when Sollis’ shot from the edge of the box sailed past the rooted Greenwich goalkeeper.
Tonbridge were in absolute control of the game and chances came and went before they increased their advantage on 35 minutes when a shot from Sollis from all of 30 yards skimmed across the turf and under the diving body of the goalkeeper.
It took until five minutes before the break for the home side to make a meaningful attack on the Tonbridge goal. Richard Frempong needlessly gave away a free kick on the edge of the box and the resultant kick was curled into the top corner with Lewis Mitchell getting a hand to the ball but unable to push it to safety.
As the second half wore on it was noticeable that Tonbridge were physically beginning to wilt as their opponents were able to play higher up the field than they had during the first period. Nevertheless, it continued to be the Angels that created the chances.
Chapman’s return lasted an hour before being replaced by Harvey Killick in a double substitution that also saw Alex Bishop coming on for Taylor.
Adam Riley, who had shown up well for the Borough from left back, brought a smart save out of Mitchell at his near post before Tonbridge re-established their two goal lead after 70 minutes. A free kick from Liam Smith into the danger area saw Sollis get the final touch to complete his hat trick.
Jack Fenton took a heavy knock 15 minutes from time and needed to be replaced by James Tansil.
Tonbridge fell foul of being undone by a set piece a second time when a free kick into the box was hooked on by Greenwich’s Harry Collins to reduce the deficit but they saw out the final 10 minutes with relative comfort to seal the points.
Jay Stubberfield commented after the match that his side had started to feel the effects of Monday’s encounter after 20 minutes but was pleased overall. He felt that the two goals conceded, from set pieces, were poor but he didn’t think that anyone could say that they didn’t deserve the win. He added that his job was to develop players and supply them to the first team and if they can win games along the way that is a bonus. “At the moment we’re doing both so I have to be pleased.” Replying to my comment that as a supporter, I would love to see them chase down Maidstone at the top, he said that after developing players, chasing down Maidstone was a close second!
I have a personal accolade for Liam Smith, who performed admirably for the first team on Tuesday evening and turned out on Thursday for the 18s with the same enthusiasm, a smashing attitude.
Tonbridge moved into fourth position, six points adrift of leaders Maidstone but with two games in hand.