Lilywhites shepherd Angels out of FA Cup
Defending and striking once again found wanting
Tonbridge Angels made an early exit from the Emirates FA Cup at the hands of Bostik South Faversham Town at the Shepherd Neame Stadium. This however was no fluke result but a deserved outcome for the hosts who enjoyed the luxury of completing the match with a comfortable two goal cushion. The Lilywhites defended brilliantly when they had to getting plenty of men behind the ball and when they created chances they took them. That said , Tonbridge will be very disappointed with the goals they conceded as all three quite simply could have been avoided with better marking. And once again their strike force largely failed in front of goal - a problem manager Steve McKimm and his coaches will need to sort and quickly. Pride needs to be restored against another Bostik South side Herne Bay in the League Cup at home this Tuesday while next Saturday the team face an extremely difficult trip to the 3G at Harlow Town, scene last season of one of the Angels most disappointing displays.
So typical of their performances this season, the visitors made a slow start and found themselves a goal down after just six minutes following a succession of Faversham corners. All credit to scorer Mark Lovell for getting in his decisive header but where exactly were the Angels defenders? It was mostly Faversham in that opening 20 minute period with striker Liam King causing all sorts of problems for the Angels defenders. At last in the 21st minute Tonbridge suddenly remembered they were in the world's most famous football knock out competition with Jey Siva putting Andre McCollin through on goal but the striker dragged his shot wide. A minute later with Tom Beere's assistance Nathan Elder got to the byeline but no one could take advantage of his pull back. With the Angels now in the ascendancy, McCollin's shot from the edge of the area struck the base of a Faversham post with Simon Overland stranded but there was no Tonbridge player able to take advantage of the rebound.
Just when it looked as if Tonbridge would take complete control and perhaps get back on level terms, in the 30th minute Faversham went 2-0 up. It was a peach of a cross field pass from Danny Walder to Lovell who controlled the ball well and slotted it past the advancing Jonny Henly. The pass was amazing but the massive space left by the Tonbridge midfield meant to an extent they were architects of their own downfall. Seven minutes later they did at least pull a goal back with Beere putting through McCollin who took his chance very well and at that point Angels supporters might have felt their side were well back in the game with plenty of time to at the very least get their opponents back to Longmead. On 40 minutes Joe Turner's free kick had to be turned round the post by Overland and from the resultant corner Beere re-cycled the ball making progress along the bye line but his short cross wasn't met properly by Elder and the header drifted ove the bar.
In the very first minute of the second period with the Angels seemingly still in the dressing room, Faversham substitute Jordan Casey nearly got on the scoresheet but Henly was alert to the danger and smothered the effort . Tonbridge however were starting to ask the questions from this point with chances for Chris Kinnear, McCollin and Turner. The Angels were having more of the play but Faversham were not without threat up front and on 59 minutes Henly and King tangled with the ball running loose although no Lilywhites player was able to take advantage while three minutes later Kinnear was dispossed in a dangerous area but Casey scuffed his shot. It was real cup tie stuff now with the ball moving from end to end , typified with McCollin in for the visitors but again it was a mishit shot that bounced away harmlessly for a goal kick.
Faversham centre forward King forced a double save from Henly with the ball eventually going out for a corner. It was to be a fateful moment for Tonbridge for although they partially dealt with the corner, the ball wasn't cleared properly and with another cross coming in somehow central defender Matt Bourne found himself unmarked and took full advantage giving Faversham that precious two goal advantage in the 67th minute.
If that wasn't bad enough for the visitors they then contrived to miss a penalty in the 77th minute after George Beavan was pushed over in the Faversham box. At that point probably everyone in the ground knew the home side were going through to the next round and so it proved. Tonbridge of course kept going with Kinnear and Turner in particular trying to find that elusive opening but it was in vain as Faversham were by now not going to let anything spoil their special day.
Afterwards, Angels manager Steve McKimm said: "They have had perhaps four clear cut chances and taken three of them with probably the help of poor defending whereas we have created a lot of good openings but only taken one of them. Its a bitter pill to swallow but well done to Faversham. We will have possibly the frustration of a blank Saturday when others will be enjoying FA Cup action, but we will work hard on the training pitch to get this right and we will get it right."