A late solo effort from David Ajiboye saved a point for Worthing as they continue to stumble towards the finishing line; sandwiched now by last week’s victors, Bishop’s Stortford and final day opponents, Merstham but outside the top five.
- Mfula (64')
- Clarke (88')
Last Saturday’s debacle up at Stansted – the football, not any plane-related travails – lead to Ross Edwards and Kwame Adubofour-Poku being restored to the starting line-up in place of the benched Joe Clarke and Alex Parsons.
Some plane spotting may have been behind the host’s failure to clear the runway, sorry, ball and lead to Tom Derry setting up Chinedu McKenzie for an early sighter, that flew wide.
Worthing’s response was a free-kick that eventually saw Kwame find Ajiboye but he could only fire a cross-cum-shot over the bar.
Alfie Young and Joel Colbran bravely blocked shots in the same Angels attack, while a floated free-kick was headed down by Captain, Sonny Miles only for McKenzie to nod over.
Callum Kealy turned but sadly the shot that followed merely interrupted some sunbathing in the back garden of number thirty-five. Then Ajiboye’s weak attempt went wide and Ollie Pearce won a corner that provided no alarm to the visitor’s defence either.
Despite enjoying a reasonable amount of possession, the home team were doing very little with it, in terms of testing Jonny Henly between the sticks.
Ricky Aguiar was a long way off doing that when his “shot” disappeared out for a throw-in, though he had better luck with a long ball that set Ajiboye racing away down the right flank but, after cutting back inside Jack Parter, he was denied by the same player, whose block took the sting out of the effort on goal and safely into the hands of Henly.
The closest Tonbridge came to breaking an increasingly tedious deadlock made Lucas drop his suncream rather abruptly, to cut out and collect a low cross by Joe Turner, just ahead of an incoming McKenzie.
More mishaps resulted in Kealy missing twice in a matter of minutes.
The first occasion coming via a ball in by Jesse Starkey followed quickly by a second that he headed wide of the near post, once Pearce had played a neat one-two with JS.
Another bumper crowd on a sun-drenched afternoon were glad of the half-time break.
The second-half started with Lucas being called into action again, to hold Arthur Lee’s header virtually on the line before finding himself stranded some way off it but, fortunately, Craig Stone’s long-range attempt bounced narrowly wide of the target.
Those incidents were constructed either side of Ajiboye getting away, on the end of some good link-up play between Edwards and Adubofour-Poku and flashing across a dangerous-looking delivery that Henly looked mightily relieved to see fly out for a goal-kick.
Stone landed a header on top of the net and Turner’s acrobatic scissor-kick ended up missing the target too, after Derry had got the better of Jalen Jones, at the second attempt.
A rare Covolan calamity almost had The Blues in front but Ross Edwards was there to clear off the line, while Pearce’s effort at the other end failed to cause any alarm to Henly.
Swift counter-attacking by the away side finally saw the net bulge around the hour mark, as McKenzie released Derry on the halfway line, who burst clear and his low ball across the box was swept home by Turner, much to the delight of the travelling hoards behind the far goal.
McKenzie had two opportunities to increase their lead but miscued wildly over the framework before being crowded out and laying back to Adem Ramadan but, Lucas gathered with ease.
Angel’s number seven was denied by our number one again shortly afterwards, as he tried to slide a finish through the Brazilian’s legs.
Henly made his first save of the contest when he kept out Pearce’s effort at the expense of a corner but could do nothing to stop Ajiboye from emphatically finding the back of the net, at the end of a mazy run that took him past three blue shirts, with ten minutes to go.
Lee blocked sub, Parsons in the penalty area and Henly, uncharacteristically, fumbled Pearce’s cross onto his own bar as the home team went in search of an unlikely winner.
However, that luxury looked like boarding the coach back to Kent, when Derry was clean through, only to be crowded out by a posse of red shirts and the chance was gone.
Henly’s hands held Pearce’s free-kick without any problems; not something he managed to do in the eighty-ninth minute after Lee had sliced a cross by the same player over his own crossbar, that lead to a nervy moment for the boys in blue.
One final set-piece from Starkey saw Lee redeem himself in stoppage time, as he got in front of Jones; to leave the play-off race tantalisingly poised going into the last two games of the season.