Angels end Leiston's unbeaten record
The points come home with quality display
The Angels inflicted the first league defeat on Leiston in a pulsating game that kept the crowd of 279 enthralled to the very last kick.
There were starts for both Chris Kinnear and new signing Xavier Vidal as Steve McKimm looked to freshen his line up in an attempt to take something from the league leaders.
There was however to be an immediate setback for the hosts when Leiston took the lead after just 4 minutes. In their first serious attack a corner was won and defender Jack Ainsley got in front of Liam Smith nodding the ball home with a glancing header.
Angels soon got their heads up and started to play a game of movement and pace that constantly pushed Leiston back into their own half. It would be unfair to pick out any particular players during this period of dominance as it was a team effort with all eleven players taking responsibility for their actions moving the ball around with purpose.
In the 25th minute Tonbridge deservedly drew level. Following another sustained attack a free kick was conceded with Joe Turner’s in swinger falling invitingly for Nathan Elder. The striker didn’t disappoint with his excellently directed header beating the stranded Marcus Garnham and although the ball bounced off the base of the post, there was Alex Akrofi to push the rebound home.
The Angels continued with their pressing game and looked the likelier to score although occasionally Leiston gave the crowd a reminder of why they were top of the table. On 43 minutes a breakaway from the Suffolk side forced Jonny Henly into a top save to keep the teams level at half time.
Tonbridge had the better of the first half - would they keep up the pressure in the second period? The answer came as soon as the 52nd minute when the home side took the lead for the first time. Joe Turner and Jack Parter combined in perfect harmony on the left taking two Leiston defenders out of the game. When Parter’s cross came in there was Elder in the perfect position to head past Garnham.
The Angels continued to take the game to their opponents by defending high up the pitch making it difficult for Leiston to launch any sustained attacking momentum. Elder was replaced by Andre McCollin for the last 15 minutes to maintain the home side’s momentum and with two pacy strikers up front the chances continued to fall the way of the home side.
Leiston were determined however to try and protect their unbeaten record and as the game reached its final stages they threw men forward leaving gaps at the back. The visitors’ highly rated striker Matt Blake had a couple of chances with Henly making a decent block save from one of them and deep in stoppage time there was a shout for a penalty but the home side deservedly took all the points as Mr Bandara blew his whistle after a generous six minutes of stoppage time.
Afterwards Angels boss Steve McKimm said: “That performance has been in the side for a while now. We showed it against Margate, Burgess Hill and Dorking Wanderers but tonight we have achieved it against an unbeaten side and the league leaders. I’m very proud of my team and they deserve their celebrations this evening .”