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East Thurrock 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 - match report

Two first half goals condemned Tonbridge Angels to defeat in their Ryman League Premier Division semi-final at Rookery Hill.

They went behind as early as the eighth minute when central defender Ricki Hayles fired East Thurrock in front, but the damage was really done seconds into added time when Ben Marlow grabbed the second.

Injury-hit Tonbridge, who lost twice to the Essex side this season and finished six points behind them, experienced disappointment again.

Dulwich Hamlet won 1-0 at Bognor in the other semi-final.

Steve McKimm
Steve McKimm

Tonbridge started poorly and were under pressure before going behind after eight minutes, defender Hayles given too much time and space in the box, before shooting past Anthony Di Bernado.

The keeper had already pushed Ben Wood's effort for a corner as the Essex side started well, putting the Angels under pressure, on a bobbly pitch and playing against the wind in the first half.

Angels gradually grew into the game - Bradley Woods Garness had a shot blocked by home keeper Lucas Lidakevicius, then Luke Allen blasted over the bar.

The best chance of the first half fell to top scorer Nathan Elder. The big striker burst into the box, only to fire inches wide of the far post.

Ryman League top marksman, 38-goal Sam Higgins fired wide, before Angels suffered a major blow conceding the second as the clock ticked into stoppage time, Marlow fired under Di Bernado.

Tonbridge kept pressing in the second half - Elder and Luke Blewden were both denied by Lidakevicius - flying across the area to keep out latter's shot.

Luke Allen fired a free-kick wide, and Elder saw another effort blocked in the area.

Di Bernado saved a certain third from substitute Brandon Scott late on, as Angels bowed out cheered to the end by the big away following who sang their hearts out from first whistle to the last.

Tonbridge: Di Bernado, Folkes, Parter, Parkinson, Sobers, Woods-Garness (Ball 76mins), Riviere, Allen, Elder, Blewden, Wheeler. Subs not used: Brivio, Panayi, Greenidge, McGuigan.

Attendance: 849.

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