U18's go goal crazy at Vale
Raynes Park Vale put to the sword
Tonbridge Angels U18s had a unique opportunity to impress with their gaffers, Steve McKimm and Barry Moore taking the team alongside Billy Thornton, who has agreed to manage the side through to the end of the season. And, working on the principle that you can only beat what is put in front of you, impress they did.
For Steve and Barry, this was a return to where it all began as eight-year-olds, many moons ago, when the club was known as Malden Vale.
Two goals in the first five minutes completely knocked the heart out of the hosts, Raynes Park Vale who were woeful and that’s being kind. Tonbridge opened the scoring after two minutes when a poorly cleared corner found Jack Bray on the edge of the box from where a firmly driven shot found the centre of the goal. After five minutes, Connor Watson tried his luck from 20 yards with a shot that cannoned off the inside of the post onto the prostrate goalkeeper who valiantly tried to retrieve the ball but only ended up helping it into the net.
Billy Thornton said after the game that it had been difficult to keep the players focused when the game is of such a one-sided nature adding also that the pitch was pretty poor.
A long throw-in nearly caught out the hapless ‘keeper who almost managed to palm it into his own net before the Angels received a minor setback when Jack Fenton, who sat on the first team bench on Tuesday, was injured needing to be replaced by Tommy Chapman after 15 minutes.
Chances came and went for the visitors with goalkeeper Lewis Mitchell a mere spectator but it took until the 43 minute for the Angels to increase their lead with a cracking shot from all of 30 yards into the top corner from Bray.
If the stuffing hadn’t already been knocked out of Raynes Park, three goals in three minutes early in the second period did the rest.
After 52 minutes a through ball from Bray sent Ikeije clear to tuck it past the keeper; two minutes later Callum Adonis-Taylor rose to meet a Chapman corner and power a header home and a further minute elapsed before Liam McCreadie headed home a Bray cross.
At 6-0, the youngsters had every reason to take their foot off the pedal but there were bosses on the sidelines to impress!
Henry Ikeije made it seven when he was put through to slide a shot past a static keeper.
After 71 minutes, considering he was unemployed for such long periods, Mitchell showed great concentration in saving low to his left to maintain his clean sheet.
In time added, after good work from substitute Ziyad Ghali, the outstanding Bray was on hand to complete his hat-trick from close range.
The Under-18s are next in action on Monday, 20th March when they entertain fellow title contenders Ashford United.
Thanks to Wink Tomkinson for report