Ladies through to KCFA Plate semi final
By Jim Rowe
Mackley strikes seal win
Tonbridge Angels Ladies are through to the semi finals of the KCFA Women's Plate but were made to work hard for it by a spirited Diamond United side.
The well-contested Quarter Final was delayed by some 90 minutes following a serious injury to Diamond's midfielder Olivia Macdonald who had to be taken to hospital with a dislocated knee. The incident stopped play after an opening 18 minutes in which the home side were simply outclassed by their lower division opponents. Perhaps keen to avoid a repeat of last season's meeting between the two sides, in which the young Ashford side had found themselves 3-1 down in the opening 10 minutes, Diamond took the game to a nervous Tonbridge team still looking for its first win of the year.
The lengthy break in play was certainly more beneficial to Tonbridge although of course they would not have wished for the circumstances that prompted the stoppage. With a couple of positional changes the Angels looked far more comfortable and a series of corners went their way without being able to force a breakthrough. Finally they opened their account with 38 minutes on the clock - an interception from Leanne Foster finding Becky Mackley free of her marker, and with her first real chance of the game Mackley took full advantage to put her side in front.
With a slender lead intact going into the second half Tonbridge's sharpness again seemed to desert them and Diamond again looked the stronger side, but crucially the hosts were able to double the lead on the counter attack. Mackley broke free down the left on 59 minutes and her cross into the box was handled leaving referee Nick Monkman with no option but to point to the spot. Sam Burton resumed penalty taking duties and made no mistake to secure what would be a crucial two goal lead.
Diamond were not finished yet and reduced arrears to 2-1 just six minutes later. The pacy Jordan Langstone got behind the Tonbridge defence down the left and could not be caught, curling a neat finish home to take her season tally to an impressive 20.
This served as a wake up call for the Angels who produced a fine 20 minute spell to reclaim a two goal lead and see out the game for victory. The crucial third goal arrived via Mackley, finishing with ease after being played in by recent newcomer Rona Wignall.
The best news of the day came some hours after the whistle when it was confirmed that Macdonald had been able to return home from hospital and we wish her all the best for a speedy recovery.
Tonbridge will contest the Semi Final on February 24th against either Bromley, Glebe or Thamesview with the draw to be made this week.
Team: Fothergill, Foster, Smith, Burton, Lyons, Weston, Underhill, Moran, Walker, Mackley, Gibb. Subs: Wignall, Anastasiou, Povey, Coulter.