Howie brace sends Under-15s through in League Cup
By Wink Tomkinson
Angels overcome Greenwich Borough to earn quarter-final tie against Ebbsfleet
Report from Todd Tyrie
Tonbridge Angels faced Greenwich Borough from the North division in the last 16 of the Faversham League Cup on Sunday.
The Under-15s have suffered with injuries this season but welcomed back Kian Austin who fractured his ankle in the first pre-season friendly. Austin was thrown straight into the back four with Hazelwood, Murphy and Toby Kent and Nat Gibb in goal. Howie and Tyrie started in the middle with Hermitage and Wates providing the width, Lansdowne and Lawrence starting up front.
The Angels started very brightly, Greenwich had the physical advantage but we started moving the ball very well from the back with Murphy and Austin linking up very well, and Kent playing some lovely balls down the line for Wates to get on the end off.
Angels dominated the early possession and Greenwich struggled to get close to the Angels who were moving the ball on very quickly. Lawrence continued to chase down any loose balls working very hard, Tyrie and Howie had their work cut out with a very physical midfield but were starting to dominate.
Angels made the breakthrough following some great work by Lawrence who dug out a fantastic cross with his left foot to the far post, Wates had made a great run and met the ball superbly on the volley bringing a fine save from the keeper but Howie had followed up to fire home.
Angels were now buzzing and knocking the ball around with real confidence and a great move starting with Murphy who fed Tyrie who played into Lawrence’s feet, one touch from Hermitage one touch from Lansdowne lead to Lawrence firing narrowly wide for what would have been goal of the season. Kent then played a lovely ball down the flank for Lansdowne who fired against the outside of the post. Greenwich though, with the wind behind them, looked dangerous with the long ball and Hazelwood martialled his defence superbly sweeping in behind.
Austin continued to ooze class, starting off numerous attacks but also making several key interceptions and Hermitage pulled off an outrageous piece of skill taking the ball on his chest from a goal kick and flicking over the head of a player twice the size of him. Despite the Angels dominance they could not find that second goal and came in at half time just 1-0 up.
Into the second half Billy Kent and Nwanosike were now leading the line with Smith coming on down the right flank and Exall on the left. Angels thought they had played the more difficult half first and now had the wind behind but Greenwich came out of blocks on fire starting very strongly and Gibb was forced into making a great double save.
Angels were struggling to make the ball stick up front and Greenwich starting to break powerfully. The visitors then made the breakthrough with a powerful run and finish for the equaliser.
The lads now knew they had a game on their hands and dug in. Greenwich threatened to impose their physicality but the young Angels were having none it, Hazelwood rallying the defence, Austin winning a great header and getting a nasty split lip for his trouble. Howie and Tyrie continued to work tirelessly breaking up play superbly in the middle and Angels saw out the Greenwich spell starting to resume dominance keeping the ball much better and getting down both flanks.
Then a great ball from Nwanosike sent Exall through on goal and he fired agonisingly wide. Billy Kent, riding two challenges along the byline, fired across the area but nobody was able to get on the end of the cross.
Angels were now in complete dominance, Wilkins coming on down the left and powering forward. Lawrence smashed a great shot inches past the top corner. Greenwich had started to concede a lot of free kicks around their box trying to keep the Angels at bay and when Lansdowne swung it at the far post the keeper could only parry and there was Howie to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
Angels played out the last five minutes sensibly keeping possession and now face Ebbsfleet in the last eight.
Team – Gibb, Austin, Murphy, Hazelwood, Kent T, Hermitage, Howie, Tyrie, Wates, Lawrence, Lansdowne, Nwanosike, Kent B, Exall, Smith, Wilkins
Next week Angels face a tough tie away to Folkestone in the last 16 of the Kent Cup with a 10.30 a.m. kick-off.