Women’s football: Tonbridge Angels allow Maidstone to get away

Women's football: Tonbridge Angels allow Maidstone to get away
FIGHTING CHANCE: Becky Janes heads into the net from a corner PHOTO: David Couldridge

TONBRIDGE ANGELS Ladies were always going to be up against it in their bid to reach the Kent Plate final after going two goals down in the first 15 minutes at Longmead.

They worked hard to get back into the game at 2-1 but then conceded early again in the second half and were unable to claw back the deficit.

An excellent attendance of 155 braved a wet and windy afternoon and Tonbridge struggled to adapt to the conditions.

After 10 minutes a loose pass was intercepted by Maidstone’s Amanda Beeput and the tall striker strode clear to bury a shot into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later a lofted clearance saw Natalie Stacey go clear for the Stones. Her first attempt was bravely saved by Samantha Wright but the ball rebounded and Stacey shot into an open goal.

The Angels began to settle into the game with Kelly Moran and Becky Mackley combining well before the latter’s shot was blocked.

They gave themselves a fighting chance when a well-delivered corner from Florentia Anastasiou was met with a firm header from Becky Janes to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Angels’ leading scorers Mackley and Janes saw efforts go wide and high as the Angels ended the first half on the front foot.

All the hard work of the first half was quickly undone within three minutes of the restart when Beeput found herself in plenty of space.

Although her first attempt on goal was blocked by Sharon Lyons, the rebound fell kindly once again for the Maidstone striker to finish clinically.

Wright’s brave dive at the feet of Beeput denied her a hat-trick and she was called upon again to save low to her left on 78 minutes.

The Angels fought hard to the finish and got a consolation goal in time added when Sara Walker was scythed down in the box and Sam Burton converted from the spot.

The Ladies have a chance to make amends as they go straight into another semi-final in the Chairman’s Cup this weekend.

Manager Dan Couldridge said: “We’re gutted to go out of the Plate as we know we are capable of so much more than we showed on the day.

“We have no time to dwell on it, it’s now all about how quickly we can react. Full credit to Maidstone, who produced an excellent performance. We wish them well in the final.”

The Ladies now take on Lewes Foundation in their next semi-final at Hadlow College on Sunday [March 10, kick-off 2pm].

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