U18s brave in defeat
Full match report on Cup Final now published
Tonbridge’s Under-18s fell agonisingly short in the Lucas Fettes Ryman Youth League Cup Final at Whyteleafe losing to Whitehawk, who completed a treble having previously won the South Division of the League by a clear eight points and the Sussex Youth Cup.
The suspensions of their talismanic striker Sid Sollis and goalkeeper, Lewis Mitchell proved to be a burden too heavy to carry but they fought to finish with a rally that had the well-organised Sussex side defending for their lives.
Henry Ikeije tested the Whitehawk goalkeeper, Jordan Hawkins with a comfortable save in the opening minute before Whitehawk took the ascendancy in the opening period including having a goal disallowed for offside when Anesu Sisimayi’s header found the net.
However, it was the Angels that took the lead after eight minutes when a cross from Tommy Chapman picked out Liam Smith on the right hand angle of the six yard box who struck a ferocious shot into the far corner of the net.
The game took on a cagey stage following the opening goal with neither side registering a shot on target for the best part of 30 minutes.
Whitehawk equalised after 35 minutes when Tonbridge were caught out by a quickly taken free kick that allowed George Coltherd-Walls to cross for Sisimayi to head home.
A minute before the break Whitehawk scored a second goal when a shot from outside of the box by Billy Barker was parried, low to his left, by Henry Lovering but only into the path of Coltherd-Walls who was left with the easy chance of slotting into an unguarded goal.
After just four minutes of the second period, the Angels were left with a mountainous task when Lewis Broughton, the Whitehawk left back, surged to the edge of the box and fired in a shot that Lovering could only help into the net.
With the supporters that had made the journey to Surrey urging their side to keep their heads up, the Angels fought back and were unlucky when a shot from Connor Watson was brilliantly cleared from the line.
Just before the hour mark, Tonbridge were right back in the game when a defence splitting pass from Watson sent Chapman clear to finish clinically from the left hand side of the box.
Liam Smith, who had been switched to left back, following the substitution of the injured Jardell Conteh, did well to clear from the line to keep the Angels in contention.
In the final ten minutes, the Angels poured forward to find the equaliser with skipper, Callum Adonis-Taylor joining the attack as the Tonbridge coaching staff gambled with leaving three at the back.
As it was, Whitehawk stood firm, with Adonis-Taylor firing over the best opportunity of the period whilst Lovering produced a good save to deny Coltherd-Walls.
There was a massive consolation on the night when news came that Merstham had been held at home by Ashford in their final league match leaving the Angels with the opportunity to win the East Division with a victory over Kingstonian at Banstead next Thursday.
Thanks to Wink Tomkinson for match report