Ladies through to semi final of Chairman’s Cup
By Jim Rowe
Strong second half performance seals victory
It could be said that Tonbridge Angels Ladies are starting to build a reputation for themselves when it comes to cup matches. While league form has deserted them in 2019 with three consecutive defeats dropping them down the standings, the side have reached their second semi final in a fortnight after a highly impressive 5-2 win at Mole Valley in the Chairman's Cup.
Mole Valley have come straight from girls football and are riding high in their first season in Division One West with 46 goals from 11 games and well on course for a top two finish, and hosted the Angels in the plush surroundings of the Surrey FA's £5.5m Meadowbank Stadium, which opened its doors for the first time in the summer.
Tonbridge stood to benefit from a positive start and forced a number of corner kicks from the start. Flo Anastasiou's delivery on the day was as perfect as the stadium's 4G pitch and from her second kick of the day, goalkeeper Maya Nelson got herself under the ball and could only palm it straight into the net.
As in recent weeks though the Angels found it hard to break down a resilient defence despite enjoying the majority of possession. The home side's confidence grew as a result and levelled matters in the 15th minute when an unmarked Lily Turner picked up the ball from a throw in and lobbed goalkeeper Sam Wright from some 35 yards to equalise. The situation worsened from a Tonbridge perspective with ten minutes left of the half as luck totally deserted them - a somewhat soft free kick decision out wide was followed up by a missed handball by a Mole Valley attacker and with most of the defence appealing Xayla-Rae Alberts was able to neatly convert.
Tonbridge were not about to let this setback get in their heads and responded well by taking the game to the home side for the rest of the half. Another pinpoint corner from Anastasiou was scrambled in by Sara Walker on 42 minutes to draw level leaving the half-time score at 2-2.
A positive and relaxed half-time break gave the visitors the confidence to take complete control of the second half. It was Walker who stole in at the far post for a neat side-footed finish on 56 minutes to give her team the lead and from then on the Angels never really looked back. As the hour mark arrived Sam Burton rifled a shot into the top corner from 20 yards to give her side the cushion they sorely needed and while other chances came and went it was Becky Janes who rounded off a 5-2 win after 79 minutes with a trademark one-on-one finish.
Tonbridge await confirmation of their semi final opponents in the coming days and the tie is expected to be played on March 10th.
Team: Wright, Anastasiou, Smith, Povey, Lyons, Burton, Mackley, Moran, Janes, Wignall, Gibb. Subs: Walker, Foster, Coulter, Rabbitt.