Ladies suffer narrow defeat to Margate
Sam James scores for Angels
Tonbridge Angels Ladies were denied in their bid to finish third in their first SECWFL season by a resilient Margate team at Tonbridge Farm.
The Angels needed to win both their remaining games to finish third, but were frustrated by their visitors who defended effectively in numbers and looked strong on the counter attack. Midway through the half Margate took the lead when one such counter attack found Kara Richardson with only goalkeeper Sam Wright to beat, and she made no mistake from the edge of the 18 yard box.
Angels kept the pressure up with a number of corners and long throws but were unable to take advantage. Their best chance came from distance when Beth Kemp, breaking from the centre-back position, unleashed a shot from 30 yards which hit the underside of the bar and bounced onto the goal line and then away to safety.
With Tonbridge still unable to find the target, an attacking double substitution was made on the hour to try and unlock the Margate defence, along with a reshuffle pushing Kemp into central midfield, but before the reshaped defence could settle they were beaten by another counter attack and Beth Cooper scored the second goal that would prove crucial.
The arrears were finally reduced in the 67th minute, good work by Abbie Skilton freed up Kemp on the right and her cross met substitute Sam James at the near post who fired in from close range. The Angels continued to press for an equaliser and were given a golden opportunity to do so from the penalty spot. A strong appeal earlier in the game for a clear handball in the box had been turned down, but in this instance a soft decision was given for an apparent push on Heidi Archer. Skilton stepped up to take the penalty and blazed it over, but chaos ensued when the referee ordered a retake which the striker put wide of the post. A double disappointment for the prolific striker who has scored against every other team we have played throughout the season.
Despite the result this was a strong performance against a side has deservedly earned promotion to Division One East and this offers us some optimism for next season. The Ladies have two more games to get through this season though - next week our league campaign will be completed as we travel to bottom side Aylesford Reserves. Then on Thursday May 4th we host Burgess Hill Town for the season-ending friendly at Longmead Stadium.
Team: Wright, Foster, Archer, Akinlusi, Kemp, Fothergill, Saxby, Smith, Skilton, Akehurst, Moran. Subs: James, Coulter, Syrett, Edwards.
Report Dan Couldridge. Picture Dave Couldridge showing Sam James scoring