Angels U18s reach another cup final !
Hawks' wings clipped as Sollis and Smith get crucial strikes
Tonbridge Angels came from behind to exact revenge on Whitehawk for their Cup Final defeat of a fortnight ago and progress to the Final of the Ryman Youth Champion of Champions Play-offs.
As with the Lucas Fettes Cup Final, two evenly matched sides produced a competitive match that could have swung either way. Whitehawk had the better of the first half with Tonbridge finishing the game the stronger after falling behind on 56 minutes.
The first period was a very cagey affair with both defences keeping goalscoring opportunities down to a few. For the home side, Sid Sollis, returning from suspension brought two good saves out of the Whitehawk goalkeeper, Jordan Hawkins whilst the influential visiting skipper, Luke Emberson tested Lewis Mitchell on a couple of occasions and also sent clear Jordan Pryor to shoot straight at Mitchell, wasting the best chance of the half.
As the rain began fall from a previously leaden sky, the game became a lot more open in the second period.
Tommy Chapman’s superb deliveries from right-sided free kicks found Jack Bray who steered his header wide after 49 minutes and from a second cross, Whitehawk managed to clear under pressure.
Chapman went even closer after 52 minutes when a corner from the left saw a header cleared from the line.
Against the run of play of the second half, it was the Sussex side that took the lead after 56 minutes. A free kick hit long into the box from Billy Barker found the head of central defender Robbie Keith who glanced it past Mitchell.
Sollis, who had been expertly marshalled by Emberson and Keith, started to exact pressure on, what had been, a well organised Whitehawk back line. He had a shot over, and a header that was deflected away for a corner as he began to receive a better service.
After 76 minutes, Sollis capitalised on a defensive error that sent him clear and as a defender desperately tried to block his shot, the ball looped up and over Hawkins for a well-deserved equaliser.
Now it was the Angels with their tails up and, after 84 minutes, they were ahead when a Chapman corner was only cleared to the feet of Liam Smith, who buried his opportunity from close range.
Tonbridge managed the game well in the remaining minutes with only a shot well off target from Barker causing alarm.
They qualify for the final which will be played at Tooting and Mitcham next Wednesday against Metropolitan Police.