Ladies prepare for three crucuial upcoming matches
First ever win over Hillians in friendly
With no league game for the Angels Ladies this week, a friendly with Burgess Hill Town was hastily arranged. Previous games between the two sides have always been well contested with the Sussex side tending to come out on top, but revenge and bragging rights were not high on the priority list for Tonbridge, with preparation for three upcoming crucial competitive games in the space of a week, the main focus of attention.
Therefore seven changes were made to the previous week's starting line-up with plenty of playing time awarded to squad members who had not previously had the lion's share of time on the pitch. Before the new-look team could settle into the game, they found themselves a goal down from the visitors' first attack. A break through the middle provided the Burgess Hill striker with time to place a finish past Tracy Edwards within the first minute of the game.
It would take an equalising goal to settle the nerves and fortunately this came after five minutes. Jodie Coombes received the ball in attack, and chipped a measured pass into the path of Lauryn Underhill who fired home. The scores remained level until half-time, with Coombes getting herself on the scoresheet after 52 minutes. The striker picked up a through ball and drove the ball into the goal via the inside of the far post.
Angels made four planned substitutions on the hour but this did not dilute a high-tempo match that had the frantic nature of a cup match rather than a friendly, with the hosts generally appearing to have the upper hand throughout the second half. A sting in the tail arrived on 76 minutes when a clearance by Edwards went straight to a Burgess Hill midfielder who quickly lobbed the goalkeeper from some 40 yards to equalise.
With time running down Tonbridge began to press in search of regaining the lead, and finally did so in the 90th minute. Sam Wright, usually seen wearing the gloves but on this occasion making an impressive appearance in central midfield, played a perfect through-ball to Underhill who delivered another calm finish. The lead could have been doubled twice in injury time - Abbie Skilton's header found the crossbar, while Megan Akehurst rounded the keeper only to see her shot somehow cleared off the line by a defender.
Although there were no points to be earned on the day, this was still a morale-boosting first win over the Hillians, setting the team up for cup visits to Barming (Sunday 15th) and Charlton Athletic (Wednesday 18th) before a big league game at home to leaders Long Lane Development (Sunday 22nd).
Team: Edwards, Saxby, Syrett, Weston, Anastasiou, Moran, Jarvis, Morrison, Coombes, Underhill, Smith. Subs: Akehurst, Coulter, Wright, Skilton, Hazlehurst.