First away win for Ladies
By Jim Rowe
Now up to third place
Angels Ladies picked up their first away win of the season and moved up to third place in Division One East following an impressive 4-2 win at fellow promoted side Thamesview.
The two sides had been close rivals the previous season with Thamesview pipping Tonbridge to the league title by a point and both teams winning a game each, before a closely contested cup final that the Angels won in extra time. With the two sides in 5th and 6th position on the morning of the game, another tight match was expected, but the visitors delivered a confident performance and looked in control throughout.
Clear cut opportunities were scarce in the first half hour however, with the breakthrough arriving in the 32nd minute. Maisie Gibb had the better of her marker, Rachael Jestin-Cull, all afternoon, and after beating the full back on the left wing, sent a cross into the box which was handled by a Thamesview defender, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot. Jestin-Cull was cautioned for protesting the decision, and Sam Burton placed her penalty kick into the bottom corner.
Tonbridge then proceeded to play their best football of the match, carving open the Thamesview defence at will. On 42 minutes Becky Janes found herself through on goal, but her shot was only half-cleared by goalkeeper Keisha Lemar. Megan Akehurst returned the clearance on the volley with venom, from some 40 yards out, and although Lemar got a hand to it, there was too much power and the Angels were 2 up. Confidence was now at a peak and there was still time to add a third goal. Becky Mackley played in Janes, and she turned inside her defender before chipping Lemar from 20 yards.
The hosts managed to also get an attack in before the break and claimed a corner in the fourth minute of injury time, from which Lydia Wills scrambled the ball over the line to reduce half-time arrears to 3-1. Thamesview were much improved after the break but their hopes of a comeback were hindered by a second yellow card for Jestin-Cull. Also finding themselves on the wrong side of the referee were Flo Anastasiou, for a foul, and Becky Janes for dissent. Anastasiou was again penalised later on, perhaps harshly, for a foul on Wills, and the resulting free kick on 81 minutes from Imogen Saunders sailed into the top corner, out of the reach of Angels goalkeeper Helena Fothergill.
Having conceded a late equaliser the previous week, the Angels now had to hold their nerve to avoid a repeat - but were able to seal victory on 86 minutes. Alex Weston's corner was volleyed in from close range by Burton, taking her tally for the season to four.
After a number of away matches Tonbridge now look forward to a run of home games. On Sunday Cray Valley are the visitors to Hadlow College in the League, then on Thursday 18th the Angels host Sittingbourne at Longmead Stadium in the Isthmian Women's Cup First Round.