Match Report
Tonbridge School Michaelmas Term A XI vs  Wellington College Boys-U18A
On: Saturday, 10 Nov 2018
Venue: Away


A very wet afternoon away at Wellington in mid-November does not sound appealing but the 14 man squad performed heroically and came home three goals to the good without reply. An half hour downpour before the game ensured that a grassless pitch would be slippy with ball control and first touch at a premium.

They played five across midfield, one foraging forward and a high pressing game. Our major threat was the pace of Luke Moore down the middle and the flanks. After 5 minutes Luke was brought down by a robust challenge – a feature of the match as it would turn out – but the free kick was wasted. Two minutes later JB Defour found himself bearing down on goal but shot wide. They were quick to press and we had to concentrate hard to move the ball early and to feet. The introduction of Lachlan Baker gave us slightly more controlled possession and some greater menace going forward. Charlie Taylor was a driving force in midfield and ‘bossed’ the game despite finding himself, very often, outnumbered with two on one. Our marking at throw ins was poor and their tall, strong marauding central midfield player went close with a couple of long distance efforts. On the half hour Kieran Bailey hit a lovely free kick from the left of their box (20 yards out) into the top right-hand corner. The goalkeeper didn’t move. Minutes later a lovely through ball from JB Defour released Luke Moore and the ensuing shot was well saved by their keeper. With three minutes left of the half a quick Tonbridge break saw Lachlan Baker put a chance wide.

HT 1 -0

The main instructions half time were to keep slipping the ball through - between centre half and full back - to Luke Moore who ‘had the legs on them’. There was also a need for the two wide players up top to offer more in the way of midfield cover by dropping back. Tighter marking at throws and the need to concentrate was paramount. Wellington pressed and fought hard for that elusive equaliser. Our defence stood firm. Harry Balcombe was superb as the marking centre half and was winning headers as a result of perfect positional sense and timing. Angus Balfour wasn’t called on to make many saves but still had to concentrate and order his defence around (an aspect of his game that is getting much better so too kicking from the floor and hands). Wellington celebrated what they thought was the equaliser after half an hour, only for the celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag. We were dangerous on the break all afternoon and a ball into the middle of the six yard box from Luke Moore saw their hapless central defender put it past his own keeper. The skies darkened, the rain still came down and we were two to the good without reply. With virtually the last kick of the game a cross came in and JB Defour shifted the ball from his right foot to his left and smashed it into the net through a ruck of players….. Delight !!

FT 3-0