Tonbridge Angels 1 – 2 Wealdstone
Wealdstone travelled to a chilly Longmead Stadium to face Tonbridge Angels on Saturday looking to get back to winning ways following two consecutive but narrow league defeats to Dover Athletic and Hastings United. Stones achieved their objective, putting in a sterling team performance with goals from midfielder David Hicks and centre half Alan Massey.
Despite a number of fitness concerns during the week, and a training injury sustained by Ryan Ashe on Thursday, Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett was able to field on loan striker Davis Haule, and midfielder Keiron Forbes was also declared fit to play. New striker Greg Ngoyi, who had caught the eye with his mid-week brace of goals in the League Cup against Metropolitan police, was also drafted in for his Ryman debut and immediately formed a good partnership with Haule. The suspended and injured James Gray was replaced by a very competent Darren Locke who now looks to be permanently promoted from the reserves. Another new boy, Danny Spendlove, was preferred on the left wing to Graeme Montgomery who understandably remained on the bench for this outing.
Stones started very brightly against a 5th in the table Tonbridge side, and passed the ball around the park very effectively. Chris O’Leary and Kieron Forbes both had early opportunities and then another chance with a header came for the lively O’Leary that came to nothing. Danny Spendlove, playing wide on the left was causing the Angels back line all sorts of problems with his twisting and turning.
Something had to give and finally it did on 30 minutes when a great run from Forbes allowed the ball to be picked up by David Hicks who put a great finish past the Angels keeper for 1-0.
Chris O’Leary then missed a great chance to double the advantage when put clear following a Hicks free kick. O’Leary hit the side netting when the option to pass to two colleagues in front of the goal was spurned.
Angels applied heavy pressure to get back into the game before the break but Stones rearguard held firm.
In the second period Stones looked to drive on and Greg Ngoyi had two decent shots blocked early on. Stones rocked Tonbridge with a second goal on 54 minutes when Alan Massey rose at the far post to head sweetly over the keeper from another Hicks cross for 2-0.
Wealdstone dropped back a little and Tonbridge seized the initiative back and threw everything at Stones to get back into contention. A free-kick was give away and big Leon Legg did claw the deficit back for Tommy Warilow’s men on the hour mark with a well-taken strike on the edge of the area.
But Stones held on, surviving another free kick in a dangerous position with minutes to go that was lofted over Sean Thomas.
Stones Manager, Gordon Bartlett, was delighted at the win. ‘The team showed a lot of character today and I am really pleased for them with this victory against a very strong side. This result puts a different complexion on things; work rate and desire are so important in this league where top is little different to bottom’
Wealdstone: Thomas, Martin, Chappell, Locke, Massey, Hicks, Forbes, O’Leary, Haule, Ngoyi, Spendlove. Subs used: McCoy, Clarke. N/u: Montgomery, Woods (no 5th sub).