No Joy for Ladies at the seaside
By Jim Rowe
88th minute winner for Bay
Angels hearts were broken in the final minutes of today's opening league match away to Herne Bay, with the hosts grabbing an 88th minute winner to collect all the points. The winning goal came from a well worked corner routine with the Herne Bay skipper Kate Foster beating the offside trap to score a free header from close range. It was a particularly crushing way to end a second half during which the Angels had looked the more likely of the two teams to score.
Tonbridge had started the first half poorly and having taken the lead after five minutes through a Jemma Barton header, the promotion-chasing home side would have been forgiven for already having an eye on the goal difference column. A quick recovery was needed and with a couple of positional changes put in place, the Angels began to make their own mark on the match. Parity was restored on 29 minutes. Flo Anastasiou's corner was met by Sam Burton who crashed a thunderous shot against the bar, but the rebound fell straight back to Burton who headed home.
At the other end Herne Bay had significant chances to regain the lead, twice hitting the woodwork and also finding the Angels goalkeeper Sam Wright equal to anything they could throw at her.
The Angels delivered a controlled second half performance but struggled to find a cutting edge in front of goal. A free kick from Kelly Moran almost found Megan Akehurst at the far post, but the midfielder was unable to get a touch on the cross. Later, a long clearance by Burton found Becky Mackley through with just the goalkeeper to beat, but her first time shot fizzed just wide.
The game continued at a high tempo with both teams looking to clinch a winner, but crucially it was Herne Bay who ended the match the strongest with Foster's header denying Tonbridge the point they deserved.
Manager Dan Couldridge was full of praise for his side following the match. "Of course we are all disheartened after the effort that everyone put in today. We knew that fine margins on the day would make the difference in this division and that has certainly been the case here. Herne Bay have had some phenomenal pre-season results and will be challenging to win this division so to come here with players missing or not quite at their best and still almost come away with at least a draw gives us huge positives to take away."
Squad: Wright, Anastasiou, Coulter, Weston, Burton, Fothergill, Underhill, Moran (capt), Mackley, Janes, Smith, Akehurst, Jarvis, Walker, Foster.
Report from Dan Couldridge