Ladies go down with honour to Maidstone Utd in Cup Quarter Final
Two goals for Abbie Skilton
The Angels found themselves pitted against Maidstone for the fourth time this season, and this was undoubtedly the closest contest to date. Having scored once and conceded 21 in the previous three rather one-sided affairs, the Angels can be proud of their efforts in this cup quarter final in matching their opponents for much of the match, with the hosts rather flattered by the eventual scoreline of 7-3.
Tonbridge welcomed Florentia Anastasiou into the defence for her debut with Chaz Coulter switching to cover the left-back position. Helena Fothergill returned to the midfield with Tonbridge setting out in a diamond formation to counter the strengths of the opposition. A high tempo was in evidence from the start and the Angels were unfortunate not to take a surprise lead, Megan Akehurst being penalised for an adjudged trip on the last defender before slotting home. Slightly against the run of play Rosie Hague scored the opening goal for the hosts in the 12th minute but it wasn’t long before the Angels were back on level terms, Abbie Skilton’s low cross being neatly flicked home by Becky Janes on 18 minutes.
Again the Angels could have taken the lead when Courtney Smith was fouled when through on goal but this challenge went unnoticed by the referee. The scores remained level until the 38th minute when Stones’ captain Nicola Morris curled a shot into the top corner to regain the lead for her team and with pressure mounting Anastasiou was forced into a last ditch challenge which earned her a yellow card and an injury for her troubles to rule her out for the rest of the match. This was immediately followed by a third goal for the hosts, Gemma Sullivan getting to a header first ahead of the onrushing Tracy Edwards but the resulting collision between the pair and Angels’ Leanne Foster saw the latter also substituted with injury.
Forced into a reshuffle back to a flat 4-4-2 for the second half, Tonbridge were immediately 4-1 down as the pace of Stones’ substitute Amanda Beeput got the better of them, and not for the first time this season. The response from Angels was superb as Akehurst released Skilton through on goal to reduce the score to 4-2 and this preceded Tonbridge’s best spell of the game, with Tomi Akinlusi and Cecilie Mathiasen both having chances scrambled away in the six yard box.
Maidstone rode this spell of pressure well as you would expect from an experienced team and then dealt the killer blows with three long range efforts, two from Beeput and one from Jess Flisher, evading the reach of Edwards in goal. Having been denied twice when through on goal, Skilton got her second and the Angels’ third in injury time, but it is Maidstone who progress to a semi-final with Margate in March.
Team: Tracy Edwards, Leanne Foster, Charlotte Coulter, Cecilie Mathiasen, Bethany Kemp, Florentia Anastasiou, Helena Fothergill, Courtney Smith, Abigail Skilton, Megan Akehurst, Rebecca Janes. Subs: Kelly Moran, Tomi Akinlusi, Jodie Coombes, Naomi Carter.