Tonbridge Angels 3 Heybridge Swifts 3 Replay: Heybridge Swifts 2 Tonbridge Angels 1
THE FA Trophy served up a six-goal thriller at Longmead with the result in doubt right up until the final whistle. Five of the goals had gone in before 20 minutes had elapsed.
Juan Luque opened the scoring for the visitors on nine minutes with a header from a corner.
Two minutes later Dan Thompson equalised, turning in the area and placing the ball wide of Danny Sambridge’s outstretched right arm.
But after a quarter of an hour Heybridge restored their lead with Samuel Bantick scoring from close range following Luque’s break down the left.
Three minutes later Joe Turner levelled again for the Angels with a shot from the edge of the box that gave Stambridge little chance.
The hosts took the lead for the first time in the 20th minute when Turner hit the woodwork and although the Heybridge defence almost managed the clearance, Xavier Vidal pounced on the loose ball to kick it into an empty net.
The 22-year-old midfielder arrived from Harlow Town last week and will strengthen the Angels midfield following the departure of Tom Beere and retirement of Damian Scannell.
The second half didn’t quite live up to the quality of the first but Chris Kinnear and Vidal had decent shots on target for the Angels.
The visitors found the equaliser in the 81st minute with Luke Callender forcing his way through the Tonbridge defence, helped by a Callum Adonis-Taylor slip.
Andre McCollin might have won it for the hosts in the 90th minute but saw his header go just wide of the left-hand post.
Angels coach Justin Luchford said: “We’ve gone and scored three goals in nine minutes to defy the critics who say we are not getting enough goals, but then as the home side we’ve conceded three.
“In the second half I didn’t think we kept the ball as well as we should have done and tended to bypass the midfield areas, where with a bit of care we could have hurt them more.”
Replay (Tuesday October 31)
FOR the second time this season Tonbridge have been eliminated from an FA knockout competition at the first attempt by lower league opposition.
Not that Heybridge Swifts looked a step four side as they swept aside a lacklustre Angels who were perhaps fortunate the defeat wasn’t heavier.
Man of the match Luke Callender with his two goals caught the eye but the reality was that Swifts more than matched their opponents all over the park.
Wide men Juan Luque and Harrison Chatting were a real threat all evening and central defenders Ryan Henshaw and Jack Cawley dealing with virtually everything that came their way.
If Swifts keeper Danny Sambridge was looking for an easy night in advance of their FA Cup adventure at Exeter City this coming Sunday then he certainly got one.
Just the one decent save from a Chris Kinnear effort on 42 minutes was as hard as it got for the custodian.
In the 47th minute, Callender turned Callum Adonis-Taylor and fired home from close range. The second goal arrived in the 61st minute with a far-post header from Callender.
With time running out, the Angels went four up front with Nathan Elder thrown on to try and help save the game.
It did have some effect with the substitute scoring in the 81st minute but there were few scares for Heybridge, who seem to adopt a policy of attack being the best form of defence, and it was always they who looked the more likely to add to the scoreline.
These are difficult times for Angels boss Steve McKimm and his team with no major cup competitions to savour and a league campaign that needs to get back on track quickly.
With successive away games coming up at Enfield Town and Staines Town the coming weeks will be something of a challenge.
After the game McKimm seemed at a loss to explain why his players had appeared to show a lack of desire.
He said: “I will need to sit down with the chairman to discuss where we go from here but its difficult when the budget is tight. However changes may have to happen.”
He also apologised to those supporters who had made the trip to Essex and the board for the performance.
The Angels return to Bostik League Premier action on Saturday [November 4] at Enfield.