Ladies reach their first cup final
Landmark day for our girls
In only their second competitive season, Tonbridge Angels Ladies have reached a showpiece final to be contested at the Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone, on Thursday 17th May with an evening kick off.
Their opponents in the Kent Divisional Cup are still unknown as one of the quarter finals still has to be played, but tonight Angels won’t be too worried about that as they celebrate their famous victory over Diamond United, a match played within the wide spaces of Longmead Stadium.
The home side got off to the best possible start when after just a minute’s play the classy Becky Janes met Megan Akehurst’s pinpoint cross to open the Angels account. Just four minutes later Tonbridge knew they were in a game when Amy Metland for Diamonds equalised and despite an assistant’s flag briefly raised for presumably offside the referee saw nothing wrong with the strike.
Angels lead was restored in the 9th minute with Janes’ 20 yarder giving Terri Bryant no chance in the Diamond’s goal and the afternoon appeared to be getting even better when Janes claimed her hat trick in the 11th minute converting a corner with a perfect header. The home side continued to make most of the running with chances falling to Lauryn Underhill and Alex Weston.
On 29 minutes it became 4-1 for the home side when Akehurst ran through to convert a Janes assist but it was at this point that Diamond were not simply going to be rolled over and started to exert some pressure of their own. A key moment came on the half hour mark when the visitors hit the post and Angels just about managed to clear the danger although a minute later Olivia MacDonald could have reduced the arrears for Diamond.
The turning point in the game came as the half was concluding. Angels Becky Jarvis was bundled over in the area with Kelly Moran converting and then a minute later the mercurial Janes scored her fourth and Tonbridge’s sixth goal right on the half time whistle.
The second half never quite lived up the achievements of the first period. Angels rhythm was somewhat disjointed due to rolling substitutions and Diamond at least at the start of the half were intent on damage limitation. That said Janes had a couple of chances both times being put through by Maisie Gibb and when on 62 minutes Jody Coombes scored Direct from a free kick it was arguably game over for Diamonds. But with their pacy forwards they were certainly not done and on 68 minutes they got a goal back through Jordan Langston and the same player ten minutes later scored the visitors third goal. And that was the way it stayed with Angels seeing out the game in relative safety but credit Diamond for making a game of it and never throwing in the towel. They at least had the consolation of ‘winning’ the second half.
Angels were good value for their win with some of their passing and movement off the ball a credit to the players and their management team. Said Manager, Dan Couldridge afterwards : “The bigger pitch suited our style of play and what particularly pleased us was the improvement in our aerial play which we’ve worked on hard over the last few weeks.”