Women’s football: Tonbridge Angels make promising start in first campaign

    ON TARGET Megan Akehurst scored for Angels

    TONBRIDGE ANGELS Ladies have enjoyed an encouraging opening season in the South East Counties Women’s  League, in which they finished fourth in the Kent Division One.

    Abigail Skilton was third on the list of scorers, netting 26 goals in just 16 appearances, while Rebecca Janes contributed 10 goals.

    They rounded off the season with a spirited performance in a friendly against Burgess Hill Town, who play their football at a step higher and have won the League Cup this season.

    Tracy Edwards was forced into making several good saves but a poor clearance by the keeper led to Burgess Hill’s first goal, a lob from 20 yards.

    Edwards suffered an asthma attack soon after the goal and had to be replaced for the rest of the first half by Jodie Coombes, who had never played between the sticks before.

    The visitors doubled their lead on the half-hour but within two minutes, Tonbridge were back in the game when Megan Akehurst rounded the goalkeeper to finish into an empty net.

    But Burgess Hill scored twice in the space of two minutes right at the end of first half to go in 4-1 up at the interval.

    Edwards recovered sufficiently to take up her position in goal again for the second half.

    The girls hung on under great pressure and just past the hour they reduced the deficit when they were awarded a penalty after Lauryn Underhill was brought down. 

    Beth Kemp fired in the spot-kick to make it 4-2 after 68 minutes but any hopes of a revival were dashed when a shot from the left found the bottom corner to register the Sussex side’s fifth goal.

    Courtney Smith produced the eye-catching display in the blue shirt, while 16-year-old Maisie Gibb, who has only been training with the club for a month, showed the future looks bright.