For the second time in three days we have to thank Pete Howard and his helpers for their sterling work on the pitch which enabled tonight’s game to go ahead.

Boro’: Scriven, Huggins, Treacher, Bosch, Inns (C), Doyle, Bennett (Ball 76), Laidler, Nurse (Page 67), Sykes (Rose 90) Berry. Subs not used: Siaw and Fearn.

Tonbridge Angels:  Carey, Slocombe (Pinney 68), Heath, Lovell, Elphick (C), Miles, Muggeridge, Ijaha, Bakare, Collins, Green. Subs not used: Appiah, Boragi, Chalmers-Stevens (gk) and Masters (gk).

Boro’ kicked off with a strong wind behind them and immediately showed that they meant business with some slick movements. However, it was the visitors who came close to opening the scoring when Michael Bakare skimmed the bar with a long range effort. The sparse crowd didn’t have long to wait for the first goal of the evening when the lively Tyrone Berry struck  after just 5 minutes with a strong shot from the edge of the area which flew into the top right
hand corner. Boro’ 1 – Tonbridge 0 .

Play continued switching from end to end with the strong wind causing problems for both sides. Inns conceded a corner from which a headed effort was comfortably saved by Scriven. Boro’ were soon back on the attack and got a second goal on 9 minutes when, following a good move down the left, the ball was slipped to Sykes who made space before curling a fine shot past Carey for his first goal for the club. Boro’ 2 -Tonbridge 0.

Tonbridge, with Muggeridge and Ijaha showing up well, came more into the game and the Boro’ defence were put to the test on several occasions. On 20 minutes the visitors rather questionably beat the off-side trap forcing Scriven to make a fine save. The Boro’ keeper was soon in action again, firstly, grabbing a free kick just under the bar before making a smart save from Muggeridge. On 24 minutes, Scriven blocked a shot, before Bosch threw himself in to block the rebound.

Boro’ took the initiative again around the half hour mark and enjoyed a good spell during which a fine cross from Berry on the left, was well met by Nurse whose header struck the bar. From the clearance the visitors broke quickly and came close to reducing the deficit when Muggeridge blasted a shot which had goal written all over it until it struck one of his own players and was cleared.

Boro’ finished the half with a flurry and when Ollie Treacher’s  persistence won a corner, Berry and Sykes combined well and the cross was cleared for another corner from which Inns had an effort cleared off the line. Before the half was over, Scriven made another good save prior to Sykes good run before his shot flew just too high. Finally, a Treacher free kick was met by Inns whose header was just over the bar.

A pleasing half for Boro’ with the two early goals giving confidence and no lack of effort. Tonbridge had their moments but were foiled by a combination of stout defending, poor finishing and on occasions, Boro’ had a bit of luck on their side which was well overdue.

Half Time: Boro’ 2 – Tonbridge 0

By the time the second half started the wind and driving rain was clearly going to play a large part in the remainder of the match. The referee continued made due allowance for the conditions and sensibly chose to speak with players rather than reach for a card. Tonbridge, having several big hefty players were fairly physical and started the half at a brisk pace and went close on several occasions.

Boro’, now facing the wind and relentless rain, were slowed down a bit, but about 10 minutes into the half, Sykes, who was having a much better game, won a corner on the right which was cleared only for Bennett to whip the ball back across for Berry to slot home his 2nd of the night. Boro’ 3 – Tonbridge 0.

Both sides made substitutions in quick succession, Boro’ brought on Page for Nurse 67 mins, while the Angels replaced Slocombe with Pinney 68 mins. The visitors were stung into attack and it was no surprise when the sub, Pinney hit a good curling shot which gave Scriven no chance. Boro’  3 – Tonbridge 1 (73 mins.)

Boro’ replaced Dan Bennett with Matt Ball on 76 minutes and Tonbridge continued to attack with a vengeance. Then with 10 minutes to go, a bad tempered ruck took place which involved several players from each side. It was difficult to see what had happened, but, the outcome was a red card for the Angels full back Jon Heath with the referee signalling the use of an elbow. As often happens, the side reduced to ten men, found renewed energy and flung players forward in numbers. On 82 minutes, Bakare scored with a fine shot from some 20 yards which gave Scriven no chance. Boro’ 3 – Tonbridge 2. 

The remaining 8 minutes (plus the 5 added) led to a nervous spell for Boro’ fans as the visitors pushed hard for an equaliser. The defence were resolute and although sometimes it wasn’t pretty, it was effective. Scriven pulled off another fine save high to his right to deny The Angels skipper Elphick on 89 minutes and Boro’ made their final sub in the 90th minute to relieve the pressure bringing on Jake Rose for George Sykes. Although busy in defence, Boro’ almost had the last word when Page’s shot clipped the top of the bar in added time.

Result: Boro’ 3 – Tonbridge 2 – Phew!!

Taking everything into account, not least the conditions, it was a workmanlike performance
which earned another valuable three points. It was good to see players prepared to shoot and it paid dividends with the three goals which,on the night, proved to be enough.

Match Report by Tony Duff.

Att: 225 (which given the weather was perhaps not so bad)

Farnborough Man of the Match: Tyrone Berry

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