Ladies' heavy defeat does no justice
The Angels Ladies suffer a 10-3 defeat to a talented Crystal Palace side but contributed greatly to an enjoyable game.
Tonbridge Angels Ladies suffered a heavy defeat at Longmead against Crystal Palace Ladies Development, but the result didn’t reflect the nature of the game.
The Angels, who this season will play in Division One East following their promotion have strengthened their squad with the recruitment of Samantha Burton, previously with Palace, Karli Povey (Bexhill) and Becky Mackley (Gillingham).
Crystal Palace fielded a side that have had success through their various age groups and from the outset showed the quality of passing and movement that comes from being a part of a club from the higher reaches of women’s football.
But, for 20 minutes, Tonbridge held their own. Palace made several chances but found the Angels’ goalkeeper, Keila Tucker, who was loaned for the game, in fine form making several good saves but also doing well clearing her lines.
Crystal Palace finally made their breakthrough after 18 minutes when Alsaa Jabi set up Amy Sinden to strike into the bottom corner. Tucker did well to successively save at the feet of Sinden and Karesha Iton whilst Megan Akehurst saw an opportunity denied by the Palace goalkeeper, Charlotte Greenwood.
On 25 minutes the south London side doubled their advantage, once again through Sinden. This, unfortunately for the home side, signalled the start of a period of total dominance from the visitors in which they scored a further five goals before the break. Sinden completed her hat-trick from 20 yards; Iton’s shot went in off the underside of the bar; Hannah Collett added a fifth and Sinden took her tally to four before a 25 yard free kick from Tayla Lock made the half-time score a demoralising 7-0.
But the spirit of the Angels side shone through and demoralised they were not. After containing their visitors in the first quarter hour of the second period, they put their name on the scoreboard as a fine move saw Becky Janes race clear to slot the ball past Greenwood.
Within two minutes they found a second goal, this time Mackley and Akehurst combining well to end with Mackley finishing clinically.
Mackley might have reduced the arrears further barring some stout defending but two quick goals from Palace extended the lead again.
Perhaps the most joyous moment of the evening came when a 30 yard free kick from Kelly Moran went straight in but the delight was short-lived as Palace reached double figures with the final goal of the evening.
To concede 10 goals on the evening is far from a fair reflection of the game to which the Angels contributed greatly and, whilst they are expecting stiffer opposition than last season, it is unlikely they will face such a talented side in their league campaign.
On Friday, the Angels will find out who their first opponents will be in the FA Cup, we will bring you the details as soon as we know the outcome of the draw.
NB: For this report, I have taken the team sheet provided as gospel with reference to the Palace side.