No joy for Angels at the Grove
By Jim Rowe
Tanners comfortable despite improved second half for visitors
The Angels fell to their eighth away league defeat of the season at the hands of a resurgent Leatherhead who in early December stood in 18th position and are now in 9th spot having put a run of seven straight wins behind them. By contrast Tonbridge find themselves in 11th position.
Not that Leatherhead were that brilliant - it would be difficult on the heavy Fetcham Grove pitch - but they simply seemed to have discovered that winning habit which can give a team confidence and a belief in their own abilities. It’s true they have players right across the squad who come with strong CV’s, but the Angels must have been left wondering if they had put as much effort into the first period as they did in the second half might they have got something out of the game.
Apart from a few early excursions into the hosts final third - Nathan Elder had a chance as early as the 4th minute - the first half belonged to Leatherhead. They were particularly strong on their right flank where Sean Clohessy gave Jack Parter a torrid afternoon , and it was this route from where the somewhat overdue goal eventually game in the 31st minute. An overlap involving Clohessy and Niall McManus evaded a couple of potential Angels tackles with the cross being met by Tom Richards to head past Jonny Henly. The full back’s run into the danger area hadn’t been tracked although in fairness to Leatherhead it was a well worked goal.
Having got to the break just the one goal in arrears, Tonbridge realised they were still in the game and two early substitutions saw the unfit and yellow carded George Beavan replaced by Liam Smith and Dan Bennett making way for Tashi-Jay Kwayie. This seemed to give the team a better balance with Smith taking up his usual right back position, Tom Jelley moving to a central midfield area while Craig Stone partnered Sonny Miles in central defence. The jigsaw was completed with Kwayie pairing with Elder up front and Alex Akrofi moving to right side midfield.
The visitors saw a lot more of the ball and certainly gave the Tanners more to think about. The Surrey side were however now starting to show their defensive capabilities and at times seemed happy to run the clock down, comfortable on their one nil advantage.
There were two good moments for the Angels in the second half. In the 58th minute a well struck Jelley free kick forced a good save from Tanners keeper Zaki Oualah and good work between Akrofi and Joe Turner in the 73rd minute again forced Oualah into serious action but the game concluded with Leatherhead looking comfortable without dominating. The home supporters will have left happy enough with another three points in a results driven business.
Afterwards Angels manager Steve McKimm bemoaned the inconsistency that has bedevilled his team through the season. “Sometimes I’ve made mistakes, sometimes the players have made mistakes but the reality is that because of that inconsistency we are midtable instead of in or around the top six. The players must now put this afternoon behind them and concentrate on Enfield while will I will reflect on today’s match and out of that put a plan together for Tuesday evening.”