U21s lost in Valley
Early goals set the tone for defeat
Tonbridge Angels Under-21s had a chastening opening period from which they were unable to recover in their first Suburban League game of the season at Cray Valley.
The team that took to the field at the start of the game has evolved over pre-season with many changes in personnel and is still very much in the process of gelling.
They played a diamond formation in the first half, mirroring that of the first team, but found themselves overrun in midfield and being continually exposed down the flanks by a Cray Valley side that was able to pass the ball freely through the Angels midfield.
A change in formation in the second half, stringing five across the middle, brought greater stability and an improved performance.
Two early goals set the Angels onto the back foot. After 12 minutes a corner from the left was met by a header from Cem Tukaya who rose almost unchallenged to plant his header past Ibrahim Attiah in the Tonbridge goal.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 when Chandler Kasai fed Kieran Mulkerinns to fire across the face of goal and into the bottom corner.
Attiah saved well from Mulkerinns to save the situation from quickly getting worse.
Tonbridge created their only chance of the first half when Samuel Oyeriran drove a shot to the near post but the Cray goalkeeper, Chris Cowden, got down well to save.
Hopes were dashed of getting to half-time with just a two goal deficit when a free kick from Connor Dobson was launched into the box and with Attiah dithering, the ball skimmed of the head of Callum Adonis-Taylor into his own net.
With the change of shape, the Angels at least became competitive and had the first opportunity of the second half with Stevie Panayi firing over the bar.
But, after 54 minutes, the hosts went 4-0 up when a 20 yard free kick from Dylan Skinner was accurately placed past the despairing dive of Attiah.
A through ball from Oyeriran found Karlan Henry but a heavy touched denied him and Cowden needed to be alert to save at the feet of David Solomon as Tonbridge searched for a consolation.
Tonbridge must take heart from their second half performance as they take on Metropolitan Police Reserves at Longmead next Saturday, 26th August.
Report from Wink Tomkinson