Football: Tonbridge Angels frustrated by Merstham’s defence

Football: Tonbridge Angels frustrated by Merstham's defence
FIRING BLANKS: Joe Turner unleashes a shot in vain PHOTO: David Couldridge

THE visitors dug in deep at Longmead and did enough to shade victory with a strong defensive display in this battle for play-off positions in the Bostik League Premier.

Tonbridge’s first defeat of 2019 saw them sink from third place to fifth, replaced by Merstham, and the game was indicative of what is proving a tight contest below the top two.

Angels largely dominated the first period but ended up a goal down at the break.

After five minutes a Sonny Miles header drifted just wide and on 20 minutes Chinedu McKenzie saw his effort deflected for a corner.

New striker Tom Derry forced two good saves from Merstham goalkeeper Amadou Tangara inside three minutes around the half-hour mark.

The Moatsiders took the lead in 39th minute when a cross from the right was converted by Walter Figuera – the visitors’ first effort on target.

Figuera might have doubled the advantage two minutes before half-time, and in stoppage time Joe Turner had two chances to equalise.

The second half saw the visitors come much more into the game, with a particularly good spell of pressure around the hour-mark.

With just the one goal in it the home side were still very much in the game but simply could not create any real momentum to their play, which played into the Moatsiders’ hands.

In the 80th minute Miles produced a strong header and with Tangara beaten, the Merstham defence made a desperate block on the line.

In truth it was about the only real moment of quality for home side during the second half, and Merstham hung on to record a deserved victory.

Now Tonbridge face a crucial trip to Enfield, who lie just two points below them in sixth place in the table, on Saturday [March 2, kick-off 3pm].

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