Angels Ladies fall short in League Cup
By Jim Rowe
Brave fight against strong Ashford side
Tonbridge Angels Ladies put up a brave fight in their tough League Cup tie away at the Premier Division's unbeaten Ashford Ladies. But ultimately exited the competition on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline which somewhat flattered the visitors.
Angels lined up with two changes from the previous week's victory against Maidstone with Helena Fothergill replacing Sam Wright in goal and Karli Povey partnering Sam Burton in midfield. The home team had scored 44 goals in all competitions and set out with an aggressive attacking formation, but found it difficult to get behind a resistant Tonbridge defence, and when they did break through, found Fothergill in outstanding form in goal. Tonbridge looked to cause problems of their own on the counter attack and such was the impact they made on the early phases of the match, Ashford took the radical step of introducing five substitutes at once, midway through the first half. Ciena Carpenter was one of those five and following a long clearance by Lucy Green, Carpenter beat her marker and fired past Fothergill to give her side the lead.
Ashford were enjoying the benefits of a sloping pitch and more pressure told on 37 minutes with a loose ball being struck home following a failure to clear from a corner kick. 2-0 down but still very much in the game, the Angels were able to reduce the advantage just before half time. Kelly Moran floated a free kick into the box and Becky Mackley lifted a clever header out of the reach of Green from close range to make it 2-1.
Tonbridge were now in the ascendancy and pulled level on 54 minutes, Sam Burton released Megan Akehurst who hit a half volley with the outside of her boot into the top corner. This could have spurred on the visitors to take a surprise lead but ankle injuries forced them into changes with Sharon Lyons and Becky Mackley both having to leave the field, and with the re-organised team still looking to settle, Becky Wyatt broke clear to give the hosts a 63rd minute 3-2 lead. In true cup tie style goalscoring opportunities were being made at both ends of the pitch and while the Angels were unable to find the target with two good chances, a goalmouth scramble at the other end on 71 minutes resulted in the ball deflecting in off a Tonbridge defender to make it 4-2.
Following a long delay in which Ashford's goalkeeper Green received treatment, Tonbridge sacrificed a defender to go three up front and continued to push for a way back into the game. Perhaps the best chance came when a cross by Lauryn Underhill was headed just over by Becky Janes. The killer blow came in the seventh minute of injury time when an Ashford counter-attack resulted in a shot deflecting in off Alex Weston to round off victory.
Tonbridge remain in three cup competitions and have been handed a home draw in two of them. Enfield Town who play three leagues higher than the Angels, will visit Longmead Stadium on a Wednesday evening to be confirmed in the quarter finals of the Isthmian Women's Cup. In the SECWFL Chairman's Cup 1st Round, we have been drawn at home to Bexhill United Reserves on Sunday, December 2nd. Meanwhile the team are back in league action next Sunday when they visit Anchorians.