Angels U15s through to Kent Cup quarter finals
By Jim Rowe
Howie grabs clincher
Tonbridge Angels made the trip down to Folkestone on Sunday in the last 16 of the Kent Cup. Angels knew they were in for a tough tie the hosts having both the Kent goal keeper and striker.
The game started very evenly but Angels were presented with a couple of good early opportunities, Howie, Lawrence and Lansdowne all going close. Folkestone had a very strong front line but Hazelwood, Murphy, Austin and Smith were all on top of their game. Austin was now starting to bring the ball out of defence again and linking up with Hermitage wide left. Tyrie and Howie continued their partnership in the middle and were working very hard against the Folkestone three. Wilkinson was playing down the right and Angels were asking all the questions in the first 20 minutes Lansdowne and Lawrence linking up well. Wilkins then beating his man breaking through on goal and bringing out a great save from the keeper. A great move then leading to a fantastic strike from Lawrence that crashed off the crossbar.
It seemed like only a matter of time before Angels made the breakthrough, the away side looking dangerous down both flanks and Hermitage winning a number of free kicks from hefty tackles. Folkestone then looked to go more defensive but the change in formation allowed Howie to start dictating the play. Hazelwood organised his deference superbly, Folkestone had real pace but the Angels defence worked tirelessly to deny any space in behind. Murphy, Hazelwood and Austin winning some great headers from Folkestone goal kicks with a lot of movement on the ball in the wind. Gibb was looking on top form in goal, claiming every corner and free kick nonchalantly but also starting play off very quickly for the Angels. Tonbridge then made the breakthrough with a free kick down the right that allowed Austin to whip the ball in, Lansdowne made a very intelligent run to un-sight the keeper and the free kick went directly in. Angels were buzzing, great play by the front two worked the ball to Wilkinson who to took a lovely touch outside his marker and a one on one brought another great save from the keeper.
Angels went in at half time 1-0 up feeling they should have got a second and hoping they wouldn't rue the missed chances. Second half and the game continued to be very open both teams getting chances but both defences and keepers on top form. Folkestone had real pace down their right hand side and were starting to look the more dangerous of the two sides Gibb forced into a fantastic save and the follow up miraculously kept out by Smith who through himself to block the rebound on the goal line. Folkestone though did manage to get the equaliser, a great header from the corner giving Gibb no chance. The game continued to flow really well and Angels now looked as if they had the legs on the hosts. Wates then fed Billy Kent down the right side who managed to keep the ball in play for Nwanosike to fire across and there was that man Howie for the second week in a row to fire home and put Angels in front again.
With the lead restored Angels started to play with confidence again, Exall had been pushed further forward and was finding space superbly and putting some great balls into the box. Raffelt then powered forward from right back and played a lovely ball through to release Nwanosike one on one with the keeper who yet again pulled off a great save. Exall continued to exploit the space down the left and when the ball was cut across from Nwanosike he laid off superbly for Wilkins to let fly but his shot was brilliantly blocked. Howie had now dropped into the back four to try and see out the final ten and Tyrie continued to protect from deep midfield and Angels saw out the final 10 minutes comfortably and were unlucky not to add a third.
Team - Gibb, Austin, Hazelwood, Murphy, Smith, Hermitage, Tyrie, Howie, Wilkins, Lawrence, Lansdowne, Kent B, Nwanosike, Exall, Raffelt, Wates
The team will face a quarter final in the Kent Cup in January away against Herne Bay or Kennington. This Sunday the team are at home against Welling United 11am KO.