Football: Three wins in a row for Tonbridge Angels as young talent steps up

Pam Mills

A BLEND of youth and experience saw Tonbridge Angels to a comfortable victory against a strangely lacklustre Metropolitan Police side.

It was the home side’s third win on the bounce in the Bostik League Premier, the revival coming despite manager Steve McKimm having had to release three players from the first team squad because of financial troubles.

They also had to cope with the loss of their holding midfielder, Craig Stone, to injury after four minutes, forcing them to reorganise their defence.

Yet Tonbridge had much the better of the first half with chances falling to Sam Bantick in the opening exchanges and Alex Akrofi on 15 minutes.

The breakthrough came after 27 minutes following a great move involving Callum Adonis-Taylor and Akrofi, with Joe Turner applying the finishing touch.

Despite three chances falling to the Met’s Lloyd Macklin, it was the Angels who continued to dominate with further opportunities for Turner and Bantick.

In terms of goalmouth action it was to prove a quieter second half but the home side had a confidence about their play despite having to field a number of their younger players due to injury and budget cuts.

That confidence was confirmed in the 51st minute when 18-year-old Liam Smith stole round the back of the Met defence to plant a header from Turner’s corner to claim his first senior strike.

With the two-goal cushion the home side were comfortable and it wasn’t until stoppage time that the Police showed why they are potential play-off contenders with substitute Ryan Myers and Jay Gasson going close.

Manager McKimm was delighted with claiming another important scalp following the defeat of Staines Town two weeks ago at Longmead.

“I was so pleased with the way our younger players performed this afternoon,” he said. “That said, the more experienced players also contributed their part by their advice and encouragement.”

He added: “We had no less than five young players out there who showed a maturity beyond their years.”

Tonbridge Angels remain in 11th place in the table, just two points below Met Police. They travel to promotion-chasing Dulwich Hamlet, in third, on Saturday (March 3, kick-off 3pm).

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