Needham Market 4 Tonbridge Angels 2
THREE defensive errors from Tonbridge Angels gifted a struggling Needham Market three comfortable points which allowed them to climb clear of the relegation zone in the Bostik League Premier.
The home side went in front after just seven minutes from a corner where the Angels defence failed to pick up the runners, giving Luke Ingram the chance to score.
Angels took a firm grip of proceedings and produced four shots on target, one of which forced a superb save by custodian Danny Gay tipping over a deflected Sam Bantick effort.
It seemed only a matter of time before the Angels would restore parity but it was the hosts who went further ahead.
On 23 minutes a short clearance from keeper Jonny Henly to Craig Stone saw the defender’s pass intercepted and John Sands had the easy task of beating Henly from close range.
The Angels still dominated in the second half as Joe Turner shot on the turn and Bantick hit the bar.
Perhaps the best opportunity for Tonbridge came in the 58th minute when Alex Akrofi fed Tashi-Jay Kwayie, whose effort went just over.
Thirteen minutes later Angels substitute Nathan Elder’s knock down to Akrofi saw the striker’s effort blocked by Gay but no visiting player could take advantage.
Despite the Tonbridge pressure it was Needham Market who went further ahead when a mix-up between Henly and his defence presented Adam Mills with an unguarded net.
With a three-goal advantage the Marketmen started to play with the confidence and it came as no surprise when they scored a fourth.
A cross from the right into the penalty area carried through to the left where Mills’ follow-up cross ended up in the back of the net.
The Angels had nothing to lose, pushed up and went on to score two of their own. Dan Thompson’s assist was poked home by Bantick in the 85th minute.
Two minutes later Turner produced a shot from the edge of the area that Gay couldn’t hold but but it was too little too late for Tonbridge.
Meanwhile Dan Bennett has announced he is leaving the Angels to seek footballing opportunities elsewhere.
Manager Steve McKimm said the club would not stand in his way, adding: “I’d like to thank Dan for all his efforts while he has been with us and wish him all the very best for the future.”
The defeat, a third on the bounce for McKimm’s men, keeps them in 11th place in the table ahead of the visit of Staines Town on Saturday (February 10, kick-off 3pm).
Tonbridge Angels will be holding half-term workshops at Longmead on February 12-16. The sessions, from 9.30am to 3pm, are for boys and girls aged four to 12.
Two participants will be chosen to act as mascots for the first team, and there will be technical, tactical and fun-based learning with prizes to be won.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dom Welsh on 07548 989666