Goals aplenty at Under-21s pre-season opener
By Wink Tomkinson
Under-21s make a winning start against GC Academy
The World Cup might be barely a week old but it was time for Chris Wye’s Under-21 squad to embark on their preseason schedule. The opposition was a team made up of young professionals who have been released from senior clubs such as Millwall, Charlton, West Ham and from as far north as Aston Villa. Each pre-season, Gary Clancy (GC) brings together lads that have had the heartbreaking news that they are not to be offered contracts to give them the opportunity to attract the attention of another club.
The game was played at K Sports but on the adjoining grass pitch.
The GC Academy might be a scratch team but they were quickly on the front foot and it took a fine saving tackle from Lekan to deny George Brown.
After the early scare, it was the Angels that took the lead when a through ball found Dominic Toussiant, who confidently scored with a shot into the bottom corner.
The game was very open from the first whistle with Luciano Osbourne and Toussiant going close before Aaron Cosgrove, who surely can do a job for somebody, cracked a shot against the outside of a post.
It came as no surprise that GCA levelled the score soon after a mid-half water break. Prior to the break the Tonbridge goalkeeper, Tommy Taylor, had made good stops from Darren Foxley before Cosgrove was sent clear to slot home after 32 minutes.
A fine effort from 30 yards by Jacob Wright struck the bar, but four minutes before the half-time break Lekan brought down Foxley, who dusted himself down to slot home the spot kick.
Tonbridge quickly replied to go into the break on level terms when a surging run and cross from Sam Jones set up Toussiant for tap-in.
Early in the second half, a nice bit of control from Osbourne preceded a shot that went over the top before GCA re-took the lead when Elliott Capel set up Cosgrove for a tap-in.
A raft of substitutions saw 16-year-old Jacob Lambert introduced and after 73 minutes he took a pass from Dylan Jones to fire into the bottom corner for the equaliser and to delight his Grandfather stood on the sidelines!
This was the first of a trio of top quality strikes that eventually gave the Under-21s their win. After 76 minutes, Osbourne curled a shot into the top corner for 4-3 with the game being made almost safe in the 87th minutes when Dylan Jones rounded the goalkeeper to make it 5-3.
Late goals from a close range back heel from GCA’s Joe Unley brought the game to 5-4 and Unley might well have had a equaliser but for a top stop from Taylor. But the last word went to Dylan Jones with a exquisite shot into the top corner that would have been worth the entrance fee had anyone paid.