Angels fly into Senior Cup Final

Tonbridge edge out Ebbsfleet to meet Charlton in final

Tonbridge Angels booked a Senior Cup final with Charlton Athletic as they beat Ebbsfleet United 2-1 with goals from Mikel Suarez (pictured above) and Sonny Miles secured victory at Stonebridge Road. The defeat ends Ebbsfleet’s season with relegation to Conference South confirmed, where they will play Tonbridge in the league, who secured that league status before their last game at home to Truro on Saturday. Tonbridge can also make it a Kent cup double as the reserves won the Intermediate Cup 2-0 at the expense of Hollands & Blair.

Ebbsfleet, slight favourites, started the game the stronger and almost took the lead inside 2 minutes when they forced a defensive mistake from Angels and a low cross in the 6 yard box was cleared almost off the line by the defender. The hosts kept up the pressure and could have taken the lead on 10 minutes when a counter attack saw Nathan Elder put through on goal but he scuffed his shot wide. On the quarter hour mark Fleet went close again, this time a volley from Ashley Carew forcing Angels stopper Lee Worgan into a fine save to his left.

Angels hadn’t done much offensively until this point but then found themselves ahead 20 minutes in with their first real chance of the game. Henry Muggeridge did well down the Angels left, getting to the byline and delivering a cross to the unmarked Suarez to volley home comfortably from 8 yards out. Ebbsfleet would have been disappointed in how they conceded given their territorial advantage at that point but almost grabbed an equaliser minutes later when a volley outside the box from Liam Enver-Marum forced another good save from Worgan.

Fleet started the second half much like the first and had the first chance of the half as a long ball set Enver-Marum away down the left, who cut in and saw his shot saved. A few minutes later though Ebbsfleet were left to rue more suspect defending as the visitors doubled their advantage. A Tonbridge corner not cleared fully found its way back to corner taker Lee Browning, who drilled in a low cross which Fleet failed to hack clear and Sonny Miles was on hand to smash the ball home from close range.

Tonbridge nearly sealed the game 10 minutes later when substitute Nathan Green went on a mazy run, beating 3 players before seeing his goal bound effort well blocked by Fleet captain Craig Stone. Ebbsfleet were having plenty of possession but seemed to run out of ideas and couldn’t forge any clear opportunities to get themselves a foothold in the game. In the end it took a mistake from the otherwise impressive Angels keeper to give the Fleet hope in the tie. The keeper won the foot race of a long through ball but failed to clear the ball sufficiently, and Enver-Marum picked up the loose ball and fired a low shot past the defenders on the line with 5 minutes of normal time remaining.

Minutes later Ebbsfleet had a free kick in a threatening position flicked wide and the resulting corner applied some pressure but Tonbridge blocked all 3 efforts as they desperately searched for an equaliser. In injury time it was actually the visitors that came closest to scoring as a free kick on the edge of the area from Frannie Collin hit the crossbar with the keeper beaten. But in the end it didn’t matter as Tonbridge Angels booked their place in the 124th Kent Senior Cup final.

Ebbsfleet United             1              (Liam Enver-Marum 85)

Tonbridge Angels            2              (Mikel Suarez 20, Sonny Miles 53)

Ebbsfleet United: Lucas Menz, Craig Stone, Phil Walsh, Liam Enver-Marum, Nathan Elder, Joe Howe, Neil Barrett, Liam Bellamy, Gareth Gwillim, Stefan Payne, Ashley Carew   

Subs: Ryan Blake, Ram Marwa, Tom Phipp, Lanre Azeez, Chris Dodd.

Tonbridge Angels: Lee Worgan, Danny Walder, Henry Muggeridge, Lee Browning, Gary Elphick, Ollie Shultz, Sonny Miles, Mark Lovell, Mikel Suarez, Frannie Collin, Tom Davis.

Subs: Aaron Gayle, David Lyaya, Nathan Green, Ollie Bankhole