Scintillating 1st half performance seals points for U18s
Pride restored for visitors in 2nd half
Visitors Raynes Park Vale suffered a Halloween nightmare of a first half as Tonbridge’s scintillating display tore the south London side to shreds, entering the break 6-0 up. But, all credit to Vale, whose management adjusted their shape at half-time, played a very high line and restricted the space that they had afforded the Angels during the first period.
The first half was a very satisfying performance and manager Jay Stubberfield said after the game that: “We played them off the park first half and deserved to go in 6-0. Raynes Park adopted a high defensive line and pressed us really high to stop us playing in the second half and it worked. We lacked intelligence and game understanding to change our approach. We kept trying to play out from the back even though there was no room; the room was in behind but we failed to get the ball there quickly enough. It's a learning curve of when to play and build or when to turn defences to get in behind which will eventually give our midfield more room to operate in.”
Tonbridge got themselves in front after seven minutes with a goal from Dominic Welsh after a cross from Richard Frimpong and from that moment they oozed confidence. Everybody looked comfortable on the ball as they played a short passing game that cut swathes through a mesmerised visiting defence.
After 17 minutes, another cross from Frimpong, this time operating from the left side, found Ziyad Ghali at the far post who hit a low shot into the far corner to make it 2-0.
Ghali doubled his tally after 26 minutes converting a through ball from Welsh and this became 4-0 two minutes later when Jardell Conteh fired in a free kick from the right hand side of the box.
A third goal in the space of six minutes came when Frimpong was felled in the box and Jack Cussen sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Raynes Park Vale had their first real attempt on goal after 38 minutes when Oska Henderson brought a good save out of Lewis Mitchell, who touched the ball over the bar.
Tonbridge wrapped up their first half display with a goal from debutant, Ryan Gallifant, who has arrived after playing for Brighton & Hove Albion through their age groups.
During the second half, as said, Vale tightened up and deserved their 86th minute consolation goal when a shot from all of 35 yards fairly rocketed over the head of Mitchell.
Tonbridge Under 18s are back in action at Longmead next Monday when they welcome back Maidstone United, a game everybody should be looking forward to after their epic 5-5 FA Youth Cup encounter. Looking forward, Jay commented: “Maidstone will not give us the time or space that Raynes Park afforded us in the first half, so we need to learn quickly from our second half performance.