Angels back to winning ways
4 star performance sees off Tanners
With just one league win since 21 November and facing a team who had suddenly hit some form in Leatherhead this felt like a real test for a side that was still playing with plenty of endeavour but lacking the ability to kill games off. If supporters were getting a little critical then the home side certainly answered those critics with a brave performance on a sticky pitch by finally almost running Leatherhead into the ground.
It was the visitors who perhaps shaded the first half in possession and number of attacks but nevertheless they went into the break a goal down. In midfield for the Tanners Ryan Mahal and Alex Brown were the creative partners that threatened to unlock a resolute Angels defence but the centre back partnership of Jerrome Sobers and Sonny Miles stood firm and behind them Anthony Di Bernardo in goal was maintaining his excellent form.
The Angels certainly had their moments during the first period with Nicky Wheeler always a threat down the left side and Luke Blewden pulling the Leatherhead defence apart with his strong running. The Angels strike in the 31st minute owed something to "Route 1" football. Leatherhead's Kiernan Hughes-Mason had forced a decent save out of Di Bernardo and the Tonbridge keeper punted the ball way down the pitch where it ran through to Nathan Elder. The centre forward did really well taking the ball in his stride and his firmly struck shot was put round for a corner by Leatherhead keeper Louie Wells. The resultant set piece was only partially cleared by the Leatherhead defence and eventually fell to Bradley Woods-Garness who made no mistake with a powerful shot from the edge of the area that ended up in the corner of the net with Wells probably unsighted.
Angels manager, Steve McKimm was forced into two substitutions at half time due to injury. Laurence Ball replaced Miles in the heart of defence while goal scorer Woods-Garness was replaced by another wide player Charlie Webster.
Webster was soon involved in the action when in the 56th minute Blewden set him up only to see his shot well saved by Wells. The winger 14 minutes later turned provider when his cross was headed goal wards by Elder only for Wells to once agin make the save. By this time Wheeler was causing all sorts of problems for Leatherhead's Adam Cash who was already on a yellow and in the 76th minute yet another foul resulted in Wheelers free kick meeting the head of Blewden but again saved by the impressive Wells.
The breakthrough however for Tonbridge was not long in coming. Four minutes later there was a teriffic run from deep by new Angels loan player Ben Harrison who was only stopped by an illegal piece of play. The set piece was only partially dealt with and Sobers who had stayed up, got something on the loose ball for Elder to stab it over the line. With a two goal cushion for the hosts, the visitors heads seemed to go down somewhat as they were never quite the same force again.
On 83 minutes to shore things up midfielder Luke Allen replaced Elder although it seemed to make the Angels an even more potent attacking force. Webster could have done better on 85 minutes when through but he made amends a minute later when his cross was carelessly diverted into the visitors net by a Leatherhead defender almost certainly put off by the very close attendance of Blewden.
Perhaps the best goal of the evening came right on full time when a wonderful flowing Tonbridge move ended up with Allen providing the pass for man of the match Blewden to place the ball through Wells' legs for the fourth strike.
Afterwards, McKimm said : "It was a game where every single one of my players gave their all against a Leatherhead side much improved since we played them last October. They didn't keep the ball as much as I would have liked in the first half, but the second half performance was full of determination and character."