U18s come from behind to beat Corinthian
Cussen seals win
Tonbridge Angels Under-18s came from behind to beat a Corinthian side that defended deeply and looked to catch the home side on the break.
Jay Stubberfield was unable to call on the services of Sid Sollis, who was suspended and the injured Henry Ikejie and Ollie Baker.
A minute’s silence was held before the start of the game in memory of Jack Morrisson, a 16-year-old goalkeeper who had played for Corinthian and was well known to players of both sides. The young man had died whilst out fishing at the weekend.
Tonbridge opened strongly and carved out several chances with Jack Bray twice bringing saves out of Corinthian’s goalkeeper, Harry Earle. So it came as no surprise when they took the lead after 20 minutes. A long ball was played out of defence by Ryan Gallifant into the right hand channel from where a pass inside found Richard Frimpong, who struck low into the right-hand corner of the goal.
Corinthian had a good outlet in the pacey Louis Clarke and the tall, powerful Ryan Mills, when did they start making 18-year-olds of his build and stature!
After 23 minutes Mills bulldozed his way through a couple of challenges before shooting past Lewis Mitchell to bring the scores level.
The Angels were rocked back on their heels when they found themselves behind within a minute. The ball was played through to Bamino Oladipupo who slipped it past the advancing Mitchell for a good finish.
The home side might have equalised in quick time, but after a fine run from midfield, Bray dragged his shot narrowly wide.
The Angels levelled after 35 minutes following some good work on the right-hand byeline from Ziyad Ghali, who pulled back a short pass to Jack Cussen to strike home from close range at the near post.
Cussen rounded the goalkeeper in first-half added time but his shot didn’t carry enough weight and was cleared from the line.
Frimpong saw a similar effort cleared in the opening moments of the second half as the traffic became mostly one-way.
The breakthrough finally came after 72 minutes when a free kick move straight off the training ground worked to perfection. Liam Smith laid a straight pass to Bray, and whilst the Corinthian defence waited for a cross into the box, he fired home from 12 yards.
The game was wrapped up eight minutes from time when Jardell Conteh played a ball through for Cussen to run onto; as the goalkeeper dithered, the striker latched onto it and shot into the far corner.
Jay Stubberfield felt that his side had made harder work of the game than it possibly should have been, but this was a good win to round off the year.
The U18s now have a Christmas break until January 9th when they visit Maidstone for a long-awaited top-of-the-table clash and a repeat of their classic encounter FA Youth Cup encounter of earlier in the season.