Captain Sobers leads the fightback
Angels claim all the points from 3-0 down
The Angels took a huge step forward in their efforts to claim a top five place come the end of the season but they had to do it the hard way coming from 3-0 down against Wingate & Finchley in an extraordinary seven goal thriller.
It was a decent enough start for the home side winning a free kick in the 1st minute just outside the Wingate penalty area for handball but Luke Blewden's shot was well wide. Two minutes later the visitors responded with a positive run by Billy Healy but with the Angels defence largely absent his cross was over hit and the chance was gone.
On 7 minutes the away side's Alex Addai having made good progress down the right cut inside only to see his final shot sail well wide of the goal.
If that had been a warning to the Angels they didn't heed it as on 16 minutes Addai following a mix up on the Angels back line found himself clear and beat Anthony Di Bernardo with a hard low shot to the keeper's right.
It could have been 2-0 to Wingate on 20 minutes with Rob Laney's strong run and shot only thwarted by a smart save from Anthony Di Bernardo.
On 29 minutes however with the visitors full of confidence they did double their lead when that man Addai turned provider as he comprehensively outran the Tonbridge defence crossing for Billy Healey to convert the easiest of chances.
Having had a good dressing room chat at the interval the Angels emerged for the second half in determined mood and right from the kick off were showing more urgency. All that however seemed to go out of the window when in the 50th minute a simple ball over the top put Healey in the clear and he beat the onrushing di Bernardo with ease to put Wingate into what seemed an unassailable 3-0 advantage. Surely there would be no comeback for the Angels from this position.
On 54 minutes there was a glimmer of hope for the home supporters with Tonbridge pressure paying off when Jerrome Sobers scored what appeared to be a consolation with a header which looped over Wingate keeper Chris Haigh following Luke Blewden's long throw..
Those hopes became more positive when a Nicky Wheeler corner was headed back across goal by Sonny Miles for the skipper to claim his second goal of the afternoon on 65 minutes. The Angels were by now playing some superb football bolstered by the introductions of Tommy Whitnell and Luke Allen who between them were gaining valuable possession in the final third and thereby giving Nathan Elder, Blewden and Wheeler much more freedom up front.
The 68th minute saw the predatory instincts of Angels leading scorer Elder claim the by now almost inevitable equaliser following more heavy Tonbridge pressure with Tom Parkinson getting the assist..
Could the home side now finish the job and win the game? The answer came in the 82nd minute when following a terrific save by Haigh, a Wheeler corner was headed home by Elder for his brace. For the first time in the game the Angels were now defending a lead but it was fairly comfortable for them as Wingate seemed a spent force. There was perhaps one nervous moment for the home side deep in stoppage time when Sonny Miles was required to turn quickly to deal with a well fligjted free kick from the visitors with seconds later the final whistle sounding to confirm an amazing turnaround.
Inevitably, Angels manager Steve McKimm was not quite as ecstatic as the celebrating home supporters at the end of the game. "It was of course a great comeback and full credit for that , but to be honest we shouldn't have put ourselves in that position. From our perspective it was a very poor 1st half, I can't be completely happy conceding three goals at home, but it was great entertainment for the supporters and of course they will go home happy."