Angels put dent in Swans play off hopes
Strong defensive display foundation for welcome win
On a heavy but perfectly playable pitch Tonbridge whose season had been in danger of falling flat gained victory over a Staines side who had been pushing hard for the play offs in recent games. Despite the loss they showed enough to suggest that they will continue to challenge for a part in the end of season shake up, but it was Tonbridge through a determined defensive display together with taking the few chances they created that took the honours on the day.
On loan defender Paul Kalambayi from AFC Wimbledon went straight into the centre back spot alongside Sonny Miles which allowed Craig Stone to move into a holding midfield role. As a result there was a more secure look to the Angels formation. Alex Akrofi played up front as a lone striker with Tashi-Jay Kwayie, Nathan Elder and Dan Thompson all starting on the bench.
With the visitors on a five match winning streak and the hosts having lost their last three games the opening exchanges went to form. Staines virtually laid siege to the Tonbridge goal and after nine minutes they deservedly went ahead when following four saves in quick succession from Angels keeper Jonny Henly, eventually Daniel Brown fired the ball high into the roof of the net.
It looked at this stage as if it was going to be a long afternoon for Tonbridge but they got themselves back into the game when an excellent free kick delivery from Sam Bantick gave an unchallenged Alex Akrofi the opportunity to head past Conor Hudnott in the Staines goal. This spurred the Angels on to take a more assertive role and on 23 minutes Bantick forced a terrific save out of Hudnott as he cut in from the right. Just a minute later the same player this time drifting out to the left unleashed a shot which this time Hudnott couldn’t deal with and Tonbridge found themselves in front.
The rest of the half with chances falling to Elliott Buchanan and Mo Bettamer for the visitors and Akrofi and Bantick for the hosts was a fairly even affair with the expectation that the game would see more goals.
The second half saw more possession for Staines but they came up against a resilient Tonbridge defence who worked really hard for each other with always an extra man to back up. So efficient were the Angels back line that Henly was required to make only the one save in the 79th minute from the always willing Buchanan.
At the other end Alex Akrofi was a constant threat to the Staines defence and provided a great outlet to take the pressure off the Angels defence.
As the game reached its conclusion Staines poured men forward in an effort to get something from the game but it was in vain as the Angels rearguard held firm.
Afterwards, Angels boss Steve McKimm was full of praise for his team. “The effort the boys put in today was brilliant. Staines are a good side and they showed plenty of that but the boys deserve praise for the way they applied themselves against a strong forward line and took their chances when they came. They have come in for some recent criticism but today they answered that in emphatic fashion.”