Angels through to League Cup semi finals
Sollis brace sets Angels on their way
The Angels moved into the semi finals of the Ryman League Cup with comparative ease by beating high flying Needham Market 3-1 at Bloomfields despite a long journey and a late kick off as a result of a temporary floodlight failure.
With Nick Wheeler continuing to serve his suspension and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson moving on a month's loan to St Neots Town, Angels boss Steve McKimm went for the diamond formation that had worked well against Metropolitan Police the previous Saturday. Callum Adonis-Taylor partnered Mitchell Nelson in central defence while Sid Sollis was up front with Nathan Elder. Tom Parkinson, Luke Allen and Alex Akrofi were on the bench but were all to play significant roles as the match progressed.
The home side made the better start with their quick breaks out of defence causing the Angels defence to have to work hard and keep their concentration. As early as the 16th minute Adonis-Taylor who had made a confident start, received a yellow card for stopping a Needham Market forward although the caution seemed harsh. A minute later Anthony Di Bernardo made a good save from Luke Ingram's shot while on 18 and 29 minutes free kicks from Joe Whight went just wide of the Tonbridge keeper's right hand post.
By now Adonis-Taylor has been withdrawn in favour of Tom Parkinson as the young defender was walking something of tightrope following his earlier booking.
Arguably, slightly against the run of play Tonbridge went ahead on the half hour mark. A trademark Luke Blewden long throw was erroneously headed on by a Needham Market defender and there was Sid Sollis in the right place to fire the ball past a startled James Bradbrook in the home goal. There may have been only 148 spectators to witness it, but surely Sollis's first strike in senior football will be one he will never forget.
It was the Angels who finished the half the stronger pushing the ball around with some confidence and looking much more secure at the back. Almost on half time, Tom Phipp's volley for the visitors was just over the bar.
Although Reece Dobson for the Marketmen hit the post with a fierce drive three minutes into the second half, thereafter it was pretty much all Tonbridge. The diamond formation worked well for the visitors with Damian Scannell at the base pulling the strings but also well supported by his midfield colleagues. On 52 minutes chances fell in quick succession to Phipp and Tommy Whitnell but the visitors would not have to wait too much longer for their second goal. On 55 minutes, Elder and Whitnell combined to set up Sollis who made no mistake from close in for his brace.
A driving run from deep inside his own half on 67 minutes saw Angels substitute Luke Allen hit the base of a Needham Market post and on 86 minutes Allen this time turned provider feeding James Folkes who forced a decent save from Bradbrook. Any lingering hopes that Needham Market may have had of perhaps forcing the tie to a penalty shootout were dashed a minute later when clever play by Allen again gave substitute Alex Akrofi the chance to put Angels three up which he gratefully accepted.
Not content with a three goal lead Sollis going for his hat trick tried a shot from distance which was not too far away. Deep in stoppage time Needham Market did get their consolation when Callum Harrison scored with a shot that went in off the post.
Afterwards, McKimm said: "This was a great result for the boys. They haven't played the diamond formation very much so are still getting used to it but I thought they all did extremely well on a poor pitch. Of course the headlines will go to Sollis and why not, he had a great starting debut, but this was all about a strong team performance at a place where it is difficult to get a positive result."