Ladies bow out of Kent Women’s Cup
By Jim Rowe
Despite defeat valuable game time for the squad
With a number of players back from injury and holiday, a Kent Women's Cup match against Margate was seen as the ideal scenario to give those players much needed game time. In total, ten changes were made with only goalkeeper Sam Wright remaining from the previous week's line-up. Among the returns were captain Sharon Lyons and the left-sided Nancy Syrett, both finally back from ankle injuries sustained early in the summer, and midfielder Poppy Gilden, making her first competitive start since December 2016 after a knee operation.
The visitors Margate however kept faith with a settled side and therefore looked the more comfortable of the two sides in the opening stages. But the Angels soon warmed into the match creating chances of their own, with the best falling to 16 year-old Sara Walker, making her first start for Tonbridge, but her shot was blocked well by goalkeeper Lauren Watson. Margate created good openings of their own and hit the woodwork twice, but aside from those chances the defence held firm to take a 0-0 scoreline into the break.
Within five minutes of the restart however, Gate were two ahead giving Tonbridge a mountain to climb. After 47 minutes Harriet Woolston pounced on a defensive mix up to give her side the lead then three minutes had an easy finish from close range after good work down the right. Angels immediately made a double substitution bringing on young wingers Lauryn Underhill and Maisie Gibb but before either player could make an impact, Lucy Paris had fired a free kick into the top corner to make it 3-0 on the hour.
Midway through the half, the Angels reduced the deficit to provide a glimmer of hope. A good ball behind the defence from Gilden was met by Walker who chipped the ball over Watson for her first goal for the club. Tonbridge continued to press for a second goal which would have put the visitors under pressure, but the Margate defence held firm to secure a 3-1 victory.
Manager Dan Couldridge said: "Obviously we hoped to win today but it was still a very productive day for us despite the result. Sharon, Nancy and Poppy have all had a game under their belts after a long time out and Poppy reminded us all how good she is with a Player of the Match performance. Sara is a natural finisher already and I'm delighted she capped her debut with a goal. We can now safely say the whole squad are ready for another tough league match next weekend."
With the losing side in this round being entered into the Kent Women's Plate, for which we await the draw, this isn't the end for the team's cup prospects this season, and the First Round of that cup will be played next month. This Sunday Tonbridge return to league action when they visit Glebe.
Angels team: Wright, Foster, Coulter, Povey, Lyons (sub Burton), Fothergill, Rabbitt, Gilden, Walker, Jarvis (sub Underhill), Syrett (sub Gibb