Ladies edged out in the Plate
By Wink Tomkinson
Angels made to pay for slow start
Tonbridge Angels Ladies paid for a slow start in which they conceded twice in the opening 16 minutes and after working hard to bring the game back to 2-1 at half-time they conceded early in the second half to once more have a two goal deficit to recover.
The game, played at Longmead Stadium, attracted an excellent attendance of 155 especially given a wet and windy afternoon.
Tonbridge struggled to adapt to the conditions and when, after 10 minutes, a loose pass was intercepted by Maidstone’s Amanda Beeput, the tall striker strode clear to bury a shot into the bottom corner.
After 16 minutes a lofted clearance saw Maidstone’s Natalie Stacey clear and although Samantha Wright saved bravely the first attempt the ball rebounded kindly for Stacey to shoot into an open goal.
Leaving themselves with a plenty of time but a mountain to climb, the Angels’ Ladies began to settle into the game with Kelly Moran and Becky Mackley combining well before the latter’s shot was blocked.
But, after 33 minutes, they gave themselves a fighting chance when a well delivered corner from Florentia Anastasiou was met with a firm header from Becky Janes to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Leading goalscorers Mackley and Janes saw efforts go respectively wide and high as the Angels ended the half on the front foot.
Sadly, all the hard work of the later stages of the first half were quickly undone within three minutes of the restart when Beeput found too much space after being sent clear by Gemma Sullivan. Although her first attempt was blocked by Anastasiou, the rebound fell kindly for the Maidstone striker to finish clinically.
Wright’s brave dive at the feet of Beeput denied her a hat-trick as did a good save, low to her left, on 78 minutes.
To their credit the Angels fought hard to the finish and got a consolation in time added when Sara Walker was scythed down in the box allowing Burton to convert from the spot.
The Ladies have very little time to feel sorry for themselves as next Sunday they go into another semi-final against Lewes Foundation in the Chairman’s Cup.