Under-14s run Hastings close
By Wink Tomkinson
Late penalty denies the youngsters
The Angels’ Under-14 side headed into a tough game against a Hastings team who haven’t tasted defeat since November, with players missing through injury.
However we put up a very good performance against a strong, well organised and easy-on-the-eye Hastings team.
From minute one, playing against the wind, Angels were backs to the wall, opting to play on the counter, which almost paid off early on with a couple of tidy breakaways.
However Hastings managed to finally break the Angels down thanks to a touch of luck, a low cross in from the right side, seemingly destined for the boot of centre back Joe Wallis, took a huge bobble enroute, before landing at the feet of a Hastings striker to tuck home.
Tonbridge aimed to hold out against a strong coastal wind until half time, but following a fantastic switch of play from Isaac Barden who sent Sam Mellish clear to beat the onrushing goalkeeper only to see his effort cleared from the line.
Moments later, two minutes before half time, another cross from the right hand side evaded a number of bodies and some half attempted clearances before being hammered home.
Half time 2-0 down but with plenty of positives to take!
The second half began with more Hastings pressure, however, it was the Angels who made the breakthrough with 25 minutes to play. A low cross on the break from Rockie Burke found Sam Mellish who tapped in at the back post. Now, with their tails up, the Angels went in search of a quick second, the game became more physical and intense. Again it was an Angels breakthrough with the equaliser. A Rockie Burke shot was parried out to Isaac Barden who was able to pull the ball back to Burke who fired home for the leveller.
A nervy final 18 minutes for both teams as either side could have won it. It took a sensational save from the Hastings goalkeeper to divert Sam Mellish’s close effort past the post.
With three minutes to go, a mazy run from the Hastings winger earned himself a penalty (rather dubiously), which was despatched well to give Hastings the winner, despite some late pressure.
A very good game, from which Angels can take a lot of positives, in a fixture that at the start of the season would have been a non-contest. Angels have made huge strides in progressing, which will only stand them in good stead with a clean slate next season!
Next up is Maidstone at home next Sunday!!
Dom Welsh reported