Angels sparkle at Longmead
By Wink Tomkinson
Diez 16 minute hat-trick seals comprehensive win
As the frost glistened on the Longmead grass, Tonbridge Angels Under-21s sparkled with a five-star display against Horsham YMCA Reserves.
Manager Chris Wye was delighted both with the result and the response of his team, who pushed on rather than panicking, after conceding through a defensive mix-up 20 minutes from time. Chris fielded a starting eleven that, with the exception of 22-year-old captain Steve Panayi, were all under 19 years of age.
Tonbridge flew out of the traps and with barely a minute on the clock were awarded a penalty after a foul on the left side of the box. Ethan Kaiser stepped up but saw his low shot saved by Elliott Flack. But they did not have to wait long for amends to be made, when after nine minutes, Charlie Dumas headed home following a left-sided corner.
As the Angels took control of the game, Horsham became rattled by a series of decisions from referee Wollie Shin that culminated in a booking for defender Ryan Lem.
Good work down the left hand side from Gideon Donker ended with Josh Stirman shooting wide before, after 28 minutes, the same pair combined for Stirman to finish from close range.
Donker brought another save from Flack but Tonbridge increased their lead after 37 minutes when Stirman sent Panayi through to score.
After dominating the early period of the second half, a mix-up between goalkeeper Tommy Taylor and a defender ended with Horsham’s Jack Ryder having an empty net into which he stroked for a goal that might have proved a lifeline for the visitors.
The introduction of Jorge Diez immediately after the goal dispelled any fears of a Horsham revival. Flack saved well, low to his left, from Diez with the follow-up being put wide by Dylan Jones. But, after 70 minutes, a dreadful clearance from goalkeeper Flack left Diez with a lob into a vacant goal to restore the home side’s three goal lead.
A superb move involving Dominic Welsh, Jones and Diez ended with the latter firing home for a 5-1 lead.
With four minutes remaining, Diez wrapped up proceedings with a 16 minute hat-trick when his low drive found the bottom corner.
Chris Wye commented after the game that he felt his team have more to give but were learning and progressing as the Angels remain in third place in the Suburban League South table.