National League South Sat 20 January Longmead Stadium
Tonbridge Angels
  • Pearce (62')

The second-placed Rebels made the trip to Kent off the back of a fantastic display that saw them win 4-1 away at Truro City last time out. Their opposition was a Tonbridge side who were just three points off the play-off places and looking to bounce back from their defeat at Hemel Hempstead last week.

Adam Hinshelwood named an unchanged XI for just the second time this season as the Rebels aimed to put points on the board following postponements for their league rivals Hampton & Richmond, Chelmsford City and Bath City.

There were chances for both sides in the opening minutes of the encounter. First, Jake Robinson had a right-footed effort from the centre of the box saved by Jonathan Henly before Josh Jeffries made a save of his own, denying Paris Lock from close range on the left side of the area.

It was an evenly matched contest in the first half, so much so that both sides were cancelling each other out and large parts of the match were played in midfield. The home side had chances through Mo Dabre and Nathan Odokonyero around the half-hour mark but Jeffries made comfortable saves for both.

The Rebels’ best chance of the half came on 38 minutes when Michael Klass spread play to the left flank to Danny Cashman who drove into the area to go one-on-one with Henly, but he blazed his shot over the bar and into the roof of The Rob Steele Stand.

Lock tested Jeffries once more before the conclusion of the half and this time Jeffries made a wonderful diving save to prevent the effort that was heading for the top right corner and the sides, probably fairly, went into the break goalless.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with both sides creating half chances inside the first fifteen minutes. Ollie Pearce had the first of those after driving into the box, but his shot was from a tight angle and fired into the side netting. Odokonyero had a chance for the hosts on the hour mark, but he blazed his shot from the right over the bar.

Soon after, Hinshelwood made a double change. New signing Alfie Young came on to make his second debut for the club after joining from Ramsgate in the week, replacing Joe Rye. While Jake Robinson was replaced by Joan Luque.

It was less than two minutes later when the Rebels took the lead. Reuben Livesey-Austin floated a cross from the left to the far post where Klass headed the ball back across goal to the league’s top scorer Pearce who poked home his 21st league goal of the season!

Cashman had a golden chance to make it two just moments later when Joe Felix picked him out with a cross from the right. The forward brought it down and turned before hitting his shot just wide of the upright.

The Angels worked their way back into the contest and had an opportunity to equalise on 73 minutes through Lewis Gard, but he couldn’t keep his left-footed volley on target.

Hinshelwood made his final change on 78 minutes, replacing Livesey-Austin with Finlay Chadwick and the midfielder made an instant impact, but not in the way he’d have hoped. Minutes after coming on, he brought down Lock in the area and referee Phillip Eddie pointed straight to the spot.

Gard stepped up to take it in front of the home fans but he blazed the penalty way over the bar and Chadwick’s blushes were saved!

Despite a nervy last few minutes, the Rebels held on to make it back-to-back wins in the National League South to cement their second-place position in the league table.

The Rebels return home on Tuesday night as they welcome Slough Town to the Sussex Transport Community Stadium.