Tonbridge Angels 4 Grays Athletic 1
TONBRIDGE ANGELS enjoyed a comfortable win over bottom-placed Grays to hang on to fifth spot in the Ryman Premier.
With winger Nick Wheeler suspended, Angels manager, Steve McKimm employed a midfield -diamond formation.
Tonbridge dominated the first half with a masterclass in slick and incisive midfield play and were excellent value for their 3-0 lead at the break.
On 17 minutes a well delivered Luke Allen corner was perfectly met by Tom Phipp with a thumping header that gave Grays’ keeper no chance.
Then Angels skipper Tom Parkinson was brought down in the area and a penalty was duly awarded on 29 minutes.
Alex Akrofi dispatched the spot kick via the inside of a post to put the Angels 2-0 up.
Five minutes later Akrofi grabbed his second goal, reacting quickest to Allen’s cross.
There were numerous other first half chances for the home side. Allen hit the woodwork and then he and Phipp brought good saves from Tangara.
Grays improved in the second half and reduced the arrears in the 49th minute through Luke Wilson, whose scuffed shot seemed to deceive Tonbridge keeper Anthony di Bernardo.
This gave hope to the away side and Wilson in particular troubled the Tonbridge defence with his powerful runs.
A corner for the visitors on 64 minutes saw Luke Blewden forced into a goalline clearance. And on 71 minutes Wilson hit the post with the ball rebounding away from the goal area.
The 76th minute saw a moment that was to gladden the hearts of all Tonbridge supporters with the introduction of Andre McCollin, who had been out of action after a leg fracture sustained in the very first game of the season.
He looked sharp on his return and on 89 minutes nearly embarrassed Tangara with a clever chip.
But the striker did not have to wait long to get on the scoresheet. In stoppage time the Angels were awarded a second penalty for handling in the area by Barney Williams.
With the result no longer in doubt and Akrofi substituted, Phipp handed the ball to McCollin for a chance to score on his comeback, which he duly did.
It was a fine example of the togetherness that exists in McKimm’s squad.
The Angels Manager Steve McKimm said: “Supporters may want to discuss why we didn’t go on and score more in the second half, but I would prefer to concentrate on our high tempo first-half performance when we played some great stuff.
“Yes, Grays to their credit did raise their game in the second half but we continued to create chances – and what a great gesture by Phippo to give Andre the spot kick at the end.”