Own Goal Sends Tonbridge Through

Kent Senior Cup Second Round
Wednesday October 31 2018 19.45

Tonbridge Angels progressed to the next round of the Kent Senior Cup with a narrow 3-2 win at Whitstable in an entertaining game played in good conditions. The home team surprised the Bostik Premier League leaders with a well taken early goal, when Stephen Smith rose to head home a good cross by Jordan Wright. Joe Turner then went close on a couple of occasions for Tonbridge and James Morrish shot over at the other end. The game was turned around with two Liam King goals in quick succession, the first after a mistake by Whitstable in their own half. The teams went into the break level at 2-2 however, when Ricky Freeman outmuscled the last defender and ran through to equalise. Tonbridge were back in front early in the second half, when a deep cross was diverted past his own goalkeeper by the unfortunate Wright. Whitstable had their chances to score again and went closest when Jonathan Henly parried a long shot by Charlie Smith and then did well deny Stephen Smith from close range as he followed in. Dan Eason made a good save when Turner broke clear in stoppage time, but Tonbridge had done enough to reach to the quarter finals.

This second round cup tie saw the eighth placed team in the Bostik South East Division entertain the leaders of the Bostik Premier Division. Whitstable had beaten VCD in a penalty shootout in the previous round, whereas Tonbridge had knocked out Sittingbourne 3-2. Both teams fielded relatively strong sides. Whitstable were without John Walker, Teddy Nelson, Chris Elliott, Rob Gillman and the injured Louis Sprosen was named amongst the substitutes. The visitors arrived with their usual sixteen man squad, but made five changes to the starting eleven from their previous game, a 2-1 FA Trophy success against Whitstable’s next opponents Whyteleafe, when they scored a couple of late goals in a match containing three red cards.

The game kicked off 15 minutes late because of traffic problems that delayed a number of players and match officials. Whitstable scored with the first meaningful action of the evening in the 4th minute, when Wright delivered a cross from the right wing and Stephen Smith won an aerial challenge with Liam Smith and powered a header back across goal, past Jonny Henly into the net. Tonbridge gradually got themselves into the match and Joe Turner got into good positions on a couple of occasions, but was not able to test Eason in the home goal. Whitstable captain, Morrish, was played through on the right and drove forward, before shooting over the bar from a tight angle. A Harry Brown free kick was headed down by Tom Bryant, but the Tonbridge defence managed to clear. Tom Beere set up Turner for another shot that Eason saved comfortably at his near post and the Whitstable goalkeeper then safely gathered a deflected Tommy Whitnell shot and next a low drive by Adem Ramadan.

Stephen Smith gets his head to Jordan Wright’s cross
The ball beats the Tonbridge goalkeeper
Whitstable have an early lead

Tonbridge had been playing the ball around nicely, but it was a Whitstable error that gifted them an equalising goal. Morrish was caught in possession and Tonbridge were able to send over a cross from their left that picked out an unmarked King in the box and he made no mistake, firing the ball into the right hand corner in the 35th minute. Just a couple of minutes later, King scored again, this time with a glancing header into the corner from a left wing cross by Ramadan. Whitstable were not finished yet though and on 42 minutes, Morrish clipped a good ball over the Tonbridge defence leaving Freeman one on one with Callum Adonis-Taylor and he managed to shake him off, take the ball past Henly and roll the ball into the net to tie things up at half time.

Liam King’s header puts Tonbridge 2-1 ahead
Ricky Freeman has a shot blocked
Ricky Freeman takes the ball past Jonny Henly and shoots
Whitstable are back level at 2-2

In the 50th minute, Tonbridge regained the lead after a couple of mistakes from the home team. A Whitstable free kick was played straight to an opponent and Jared Small then sent over a deep cross from the right and a stretching Wright got to the ball first, but sent it past Eason into his own goal. Whitstable continued to carve out chances in a good game for the spectators and Chris Saunders had a shot from outside the box saved by Henly. Brown then limped off injured to be replaced by Kyran Connolly. On 59 minutes, Charlie Smith tried a long shot that forced Henly into a save low to his right and the ball rebounded across goal to Stephen Smith, but the goalkeeper just managed to recover and deflect his shot past the post.

Chris Saunders tries a shot
Jonny Henly saves
Charlie Smith’s great low strike is parried by Jonny Henly
The Tonbridge goalkeeper just manages to get to Stephen Smith’s follow up attempt
The ball is deflected past the post for a corner

Stuart West was next to try his luck from distance, but Henly made a comfortable catch. Tonbridge worked a good position down the left and a threatening low cross by Ramadan went right across the goal with nobody able to get a touch. Further substitutions were made by both teams and there were chances at each end. A Stephen Smith cross caused problems for the Tonbridge defence, but a foul at the far post ended the danger. Tom Walmsley created another opportunity for Charlie Smith, who shot wide and then Elliott Hartnell-Baker had a shot charged down. Turner tested Eason again at the near post and Connolly did well to clear a loose ball in the box. As time ticked away, Walmsley found Morrish, but his low shot was easily saved by Henly. Tonbridge substitute James Folkes made a good run and curled a shot just wide off the far post. Bryant collected the only caution of the evening for a late foul and after efforts by Wright and West in added time, a good pass sent Turner clear, but Eason was out to save and the final whistle blew before the corner could be taken.

Dan Eason makes a late save to deny Joe Turner

Tonbridge therefore continue their involvement in the competition after an enjoyable game and Whitstable return to league action against Whyteleafe on Saturday, followed by a midweek Velocity Trophy fixture, when Greenwich Borough return to the Belmont.

Whitstable Tonbridge
12 Attempts 13
8 On Target 8
2 Corners 6
4 Offside 3
12 Free Kicks Won 9

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, Jordan Wright, Harry Brown (Kyran Connolly 56), Jai McKinlay, Stuart West, Tom Bryant, Chris Saunders, James Morrish (c), Ricky Freeman (Tom Walmsley 72), Stephen Smith (Elliott Hartnell-Baker 77), Charlie Smith.
Sub (unused): Louis Sprosen
Goals: Stephen Smith 4, Ricky Freeman 42.
Yellow card: Tom Bryant 88

Tonbridge Angels
Jonathan Henly, Liam Smith, Arthur Lee (James Folkes 79), Adem Ramadan (Craig Stone 79), Callum Adonis-Taylor, Sonny Miles, Jared Small, Tommy Whitnell, Liam King (Alex Read 79), Tom Beere, Joe Turner.
Subs (unused): Tom Parkinson, Jack Parter.
Goals: Liam King 35, 37, Jordan Wright o.g. 50.

Attendance: 100
Referee: Jack Owen
Assistants: Ben Al-Shaikh & David Rowland