U18s through to semi finals of league cup
Angels stun Moatsiders in penalty shoot out drama
The Angels U18s progressed to the semi-finals of the Lucas Fettes Ryman League Cup after a thrilling penalty shoot-out win against a very good Merstham side.
After three postponements and an abandoned game, the decision was made to play the game on the 3G surface at Whyteleafe.
Tonbridge seized the initiative from the outset with Jack Bray heading narrowly over from a Tommy Chapman corner.
It had been pretty much one-way traffic when the Angels opening the scoring after 15 minutes. Sid Sollis surged from the left across the face of the box before playing in Harvey Killick, who picked his spot into the bottom corner from the right side of the six yard box.
The “hosts” doubled their lead after 24 minutes when Henry Ikejie finished from close range after good work from Killick.
Going two goals down stirred Merstham into life and they went close after 32 minutes when a shot that would have needed a save from Lewis Mitchell was inadvertently blocked by a fellow Merstham attacker. However, the reprieve was short-lived. A foul conceded just outside the box brought a delightfully flighted free kick from Anwah Transwest over the wall and beyond the grasp of Mitchell.
Killick scored his second of the evening when a well placed cross from Chapman found the head of Sollis who steered the ball into the path of Killick to finish clinically.
The Angels could have put some gloss on a dominant half when Sollis shot over and Jack Fenton brought a good low save out of the Merstham keeper.
Merstham made a real fight of the game in the second period inspired by a couple of substitutions that gave them some attacking impetus. After 64 minutes the deficit was reduced to 3-2 when following good work down the right, Nick Wilson pounced as a shot rebounded off the left hand post.
Two minutes later, the Surrey side were level when a lightening break down the left hand side had a similar end result as Manny Omrore scored when the ball rebounded off the post.
The game took another twist with a third goal in six minutes when Sollis took aim from 25 yards with a powerful shot that left the goalkeeper no chance as it sailed into the top corner.
Sollis had a shot cleared from the line before, with 77 minutes on the clock, Merstham found another equaliser with a finish from Ross Obazee following a cross from the right.
An audacious lob from the cultured foot of Chapman very nearly found a winner with the goalkeeper falling over as he back-pedalled.
The tie went straight to penalties with the first five from both sides being converted. Tonbridge’s takers being Liam Smith, Ikejie, Ziyad Ghali, Jack Cussens and Sollis. Merstham’s sixth penalty was brilliantly saved to his left by Mitchell and Killick kept his nerve to slot home the winner.
Manager Jay Stubberfield was delighted for his match winner: “Harvey has struggled with injuries and it’s great to have him back fully fit. We were exceptional in the first half, almost perfect barring the set piece. We haven’t had a game for five weeks, it was impossible to keep up that first half intensity, given more game time I think we would have seen it out better.”
Steve McKimm, who was watching from the terraces praised the youngsters first half performance and added that he has been invited to Sutton United for their glamour FA Cup tie against Arsenal and was gutted that he would miss the semi-final due to be played on the same evening.
The Under-18s now meet Woking in the semi-final on Monday 20th February at Knaphill FC. KO 7 30pm
Thanks to Wink Tomkinson for report