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Angels 2 Blues 3

TEN-MAN Blues upset the formbook to inflict a first league defeat of the season on Bostik League leaders Tonbridge, on Saturday.

Facing a side that had only conceded one goal in seven previous league outings this term Stortford newly found confidence from the start was a shock to the hosts who found themselves three goals down by the hour mark.

Stortford had Johnville Renee cautioned twice in the space of fifteen second-half minutes and when he was dismissed they were down to ten men for the 25 minutes of the game.

It was like the Alamo in the final twenty minutes but although they conceded two goals they hung on for the three points.

The Stortford players wore black armbands in respect Vice-Chairman John Turner who had passed away two days earlier whilst there was a minute’s  applause for Tonbridge former player and manager Joe Carolan who also died recently and had also played for Manchester United and Brighton and was a former Eire international.

For the third match running the Blues had an unchanged starting eleven. There was a change on the bench however as Dan Humphreys, a defender on work experience from Southend United was on the bench.

Stortford got off to a great start as they took a sixth minute lead. Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly punched away a corner but Jack Thomas gained possession and delivered a lofted pass to the left side of the box via nod-ons by Alfie Mason and Sam Robbins and when the ball reached Ryan Charles, the midfielder cut inside and drove an angled shot past Henly and inside the far upright.

With Jake Cass looking lively up front it was just the start the Blues needed. However, Calum Kitscha had to be alert to advance quickly to gather the ball with striker Alex Read trying to latch on to a through pass and in the 15th minute the Stortford keeper held on to a deflected cross from danger-man Adem Ramadan.

Shortly afterwards a Cass shot from 20 yards was just wide and then at the other end Tommy Whitnell headed over from a Callum Adonis-Taylor cross.

In the 39th minute an error by Jordan Wescott allowed Read to take the ball on and slip forward to Joe Turner who shot over the bar.

Right on half-time the lead was doubled as the hosts had several opportunities to clear the ball upfield from in and around the box but when it dropped loose on the 18 yard line Cass struck the best goal of the afternoon smashing it past Henly’s fruitless dive high into the net.

Stortford had to make two substitutions at the break with both Mason and Robbins suffering slight ankle problems, with Jamie Cureton and Toib Adeyemi entering the action.        Â

Cass nearly netted again five minutes after the restart when after linking with Ruel Sotiriou on the right the striker’s effort was close past the far post. Soon afterwards Renee collected his first yellow card of the afternoon.

There was an escape for Stortford as Angels’ skipper Tom Parkinson placed his shot straight at Kitscha following a Turner corner but on the hour the Blues scored again.

Cass and Sotiriou linked on the right and after evading several tackles Cass finished with a first shot that was blocked and when the rebound came back to him he smashed it into the roof of the net.

The hosts immediately made a double substitution up front but Sotiriou nearly got his name on the score-sheet when the on-loan striker saw his effort cleared away in the six yard box by defender Sonny Miles.

Renee departed for an early shower in the 66th minute and from that point Stortford were on the back-foot.

In the 72nd minute the hosts pulled a goal back with Parkinson crossing deep from the right and Ramadan netting.

Cass had a shot from distance held by Henly and then, in the 75th minute, substitute Jared Small was clear on goal but his chipped effort over Kitscha brushed the top of the bar.

Liam King was narrowly wide before Kitscha tipped a header from Arthur Lee over the top for a corner. It was from this flag-kick, in the 88th minute from Turner, that Tonbridge reduced the arrears with Lee lashing the ball into the net.

Cass almost restored a two goal lead for the Blues immediately as another excellent strike produced a full length save by Henly.

In some six minutes of added time Kitscha held a shot from Ramadan and then Adeyemi produced a great block to stop substitute Jack Richards breaking clear on goal.

 

STORTFORD: Calum Kitscha; Jordan Wescott; Chris Gregan; Jack Thomas; Sam Robbins (Toib Adeyemi 46); Isaac Nkosi; Ryan Charles (Lewis Dark 68); Johnville Renee; Jake Cass; Ruel Sotiriou; Alfie Mason (Jamie Cureton 46).

Unused substitutes: Dan Humphreys and Lewis Byrne-Hewitt.

TONBRIDGE ANGELS:  Jonathan Henly; Callum Adonis-Taylor (Jared Small 52); Liam Smith; Craig Stone; Sonny Miles; Arthur Lee; Adem Ramadan; Tom Parkinson; Alex Read (Liam King 61); Tommy Whitnell (Jack Richards 61); Joe Turner

Unused substitute: Stewart Copeland.

Referee: Joseph Stokes

Attendance:  517