Match Report
Tonbridge School Michaelmas Term A XI vs  Wilson's School Boys-U18A
On: Saturday, 08 Sep 2018
Venue: at Home


Missing two first choice players and playing a very strong school who had trained throughout the holidays and already played five matches made this a very tough opening game. We lost the corresponding fixture last year 0-5.

We started sluggishly and a couple of times got caught in possession in dangerous areas. There was a need to be sharper in thought and deed – always difficult at the start of a season when a ball hasn’t been kicked in anger for several months. Their midfield & attackers were cannily ‘drifting’ between or two banks of four and consequently finding space. On 11 minutes Gus Balfour produced the first heart stopping moment of the game when he tried a ‘Karius/Alisson’ tactic – fortunately our goal remained intact.

Our best spell of the game happened from minute 15 to half time. Charlie Taylor had a free kick from 25 yards but didn’t find the requisite power. A lovely one touch passing move started from right back Zanelli finished with a Lachlan Baker effort after 20 minutes. A long punt into the box saw JB Defour hit the ball too early when perhaps he could have taken an extra touch.

We had played well and went in all square with a clean sheet. Neither side had managed clear cut chances but it was a competitive and tactically strategic game. Our back four looked solid – with shape to work on – with headers and tackles won. Distribution was good. Our midfield worked tirelessly. Charlie Taylor looked comfortable as the CDM, Finn Harvey (capt.) constantly harried, won possession and made some threatening breaks. Kieran Bailey also won tackles and got some lovely deft passes away. The front three – Baker, Tipper and JB Defour – worked hard but couldn’t break down their resolute back four.

HT 0-0

We opened the second half brightly with their keeper making an easy save from Bailey after 7 minutes and then Harvey making a great break after 16 minutes. Wilson’s then started to apply more pressure – a sign of our early season tiring legs? On 23 minutes Gus Balfour made a tremendous diving save going down to his bottom left hand post from a venomous 25 yard free kick. Controversy arose 5 minutes later when a long, high free kick went into our box and was put into our net. After a long discussion between referee and linesman the goal was disallowed for offside. After half an hour another of their free kicks from distance struck the underside of our bar and bounced out. With 5 minutes remaining a corner under our bar saw Gus catch the ball and after a’ collision’ the ball was in the net. Goal awarded ….. heartbreak

Our performance in a tough opening fixture gives great cause for optimism in the coming months. This is a good side that will get better with more matches and improved fitness; attitude was positive and there is considerable ability in the squad.