Angels go down the Swanee
By Jim Rowe
Beavan sending off changes game
With three new players joining the Angels during the week tradition says that managers blood them in relatively gently but with two of those signings being one month loan deals the Tonbridge Boss Steve McKimm had no time for such luxuries and so Tom Jelley, Bradley Stevenson and Ryan Worrall all took to the field just before 300pm followed by an immaculately observed 1 minute’s silence to mark Armistice Day.
Both teams took around 10 minutes to settle down but it was the Kent side that took the early initiative with the promptings of Stevenson on the right wing causing problems for the Swans defence through set pieces and close control.
On 19 minutes Joe Turner for the Angels hit the bar and then a huge chance for Sonny Miles who somehow directed a header over the bar from 2 yds out. It was all Tonbridge at this stage with a Jelley cross diverted over the home crossbar by Josh Webb.
Almost inevitably Staines started to work their way into the game. Mo Bettamer provided a dangerous looking cross which just eluded a couple of Staines players while a goalmouth scramble in the Tonbridge area almost profited the Swans but they rather beat themselves when two of their players got in the way of each other.
A Staines free kick following an infringement and booking for Jack Parter was well defended by Sonny Miles but Angels weathered the storm and they then tended to reassert their authority. Alex Akrofi was brought down just outside the area with Stevenson’s daisy cutter of a free kick diverted wide of the goal by Akrofi.
On 39 minutes it was George Beavan to the rescue for the Angels when he cleared off the following a good save by Jonny Henly.
The action then moved to the other end with some clever play by Stevenson following a Joe Turner free kick that eventually saw the ball fall to Nathan Elder in a central position from where his shot beat Liam Driscoll in the Staines goal to put Tonbridge deservedly into the lead on 44 minutes. And it could have been so much sweeter for the Angels when deep in first half stoppage time Elder could have done better with Parter’s glorious cross.
Tonbridge needed to consolidate at the start of the second half but they failed to do so conceding the equalising goal in the 50th minute when a corner saw Henly electing to stay on his line and Josh Webb planting a firm header past the Angels keeper.
Six minutes later came the incident that changed the game. Tonbridge’s George Beavan just back from 4 week’s injury layoff was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident with a penalty being awarded to Staines. Bessamer made a complete mess of the spot kick with the ball sailing high over the bar.
With 10 men Tonbridge were however unable to take advantage and on 65 minutes the Swans went ahead when Elliott Buchanan converted a cross from the left with a crisp header. It was largely then a question of fighting a rearguard action for the Angels with their forwards having to feed off scraps. The game was put beyond their reach in the 83rd minute when possession was somewhat carelessly lost on the halfway line and a through ball forced Henly to come off his line. He was never going to win the race and although Staines were momentarily forced wide there was minimal away cover around the goal with Josh Webb claiming his second strike of the afternoon to put the Swans 3-1 up for the eventual final scoreline.
Afterwards, McKimm said: “It’s difficult to understand how the referee has come up with a total of seven cautions (two for Staines, five for Tonbridge) and a sending off in a game that was never dirty or even bad tempered. The sending off may have been justified, I’ll need to look at it, and it’s made it very difficult for us, but some of the other refereeing decisions were not easy to fathom. I was proud of the way some of my players performed particularly when a man short but their third goal was a poor one to concede. I was very pleased with the new signings, I thought they all did terrific so despite the disappointing result there were some encouraging signs.”