Metropolitan Police 2-3 Tonbridge Angels
Metropolitan Police 2 – 3 Tonbridge Angels
|Location||Imber Court, Ember Lane, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 0BT|
METROPOLITAN POLICE 2-3 TONBRIDGE ANGELS
(after extra time)
Super Play-Off Final
Saturday 11 May 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Imber Court
TONBRIDGE ANGELS celebrated winning promotion in to the Motorama National League South after needing extra-time to beat Metropolitan Police in the Super Play-Off Final at Imber Court.
Steve McKimm’s side finished their Bostik Premier Division campaign in fourth-place, having collected 70 points from their 42 league outings and beat Haringey Borough 2-1 and Merstham 2-0 to celebrate winning the Isthmian League Play-Off Final at Longmead Stadium.
Metropolitan Police finished their first season back in the Southern League by finishing in third-place in the Evostik Premier Division South table, having banked 78 points from their 42 games and held home advantage because they had a better points-per-game ratio.
Gavin MacPherson’s men beat Salisbury (3-2) and Poole Town (1-0) here to win their play-offs and they also sent a much changed side to Dorking to beat Tooting & Mitcham United 2-0 to win the Surrey Senior Cup Final the following night.
Metropolitan Police grabbed the lead against the run of play as central-midfielder Ethan Chislett curled home a beautiful shot to take the lead inside the opening 18 minutes.
Tonbridge Angels equalised six minutes into the second half through centre-half Arthur Lee’s whose free-kick took a couple of deflections before nestling inside the bottom near corner.
Metropolitan Police centre-half Oliver Robinson bundled in his sixth goal of the season to give his side the lead for a second time.
Tonbridge Angels’ midfielder D’Sean Theobalds waited for his 23rd start of the season to notch his first goal for the club, scoring a deserved equaliser with just six minutes of normal time remaining to get McKimm’s side out of jail.
Tonbridge Angels deservedly sealed their promotion seven minutes into extra-time through striker Tom Derry’s sixth goal of the season, which was a downward header at the far post.
There were no sign of nerves from Tonbridge Angels as they started this Super Play-Off Final on the front foot.
Robinson was judged to have tripped Joe Turner and Turner stroked his right-footed free-kick around the four-man wall towards the bottom right-hand corner, only for former Dartford keeper Herbert Schötterl to stick out his left leg to make a vital block. The ball fell to Adem Ramadan, whose follow-up shot from 22-yards just cleared the crossbar.
Theobalds swung in a high hanging corner from the right and was met by the returning Michael Kamara, whose downward header at the far post was blocked from inside a crowded goal-mouth.
Theobalds next corner was floated in from the left and Lee came up from the back to loop his header over the crossbar from eight-yards out.
Tonbridge Angels went close when left-back Jack Parter fed the ball into striker Derry, who laid the ball to Turner, who took a touch and bent his right-footed shot just past the foot of the near post from 18-yards.
Metropolitan Police grabbed the lead – against the run of play – with 17 minutes and 39 seconds on the clock.
Left-winger John Gilbert raced down the left wing and released Luke Robertson down the channel and Kamara failed to slam the door shut inside the box and the ball was rolled out to Chislett. He took a touch and was given time and space to curl a beautiful right-footed peach into the far corner from 25-yards.
The opening goal lifted Metropolitan Police’s spirits and they went on to enjoy a good spell of possession and pressure.
Max Blackstone, who has scored 27 goals this season – robbed the ball off Turner and cracked a right-footed 30-yard drive, which forced Jonathan Henly to dive to his right to tip around the post for a corner.
Robinson launched a long throw into the Tonbridge box, the ball was flicked on by 39-goal striker Jack Mazzone and Robertson’s deflected hooked shot screamed past the near post.
Tonbridge Angels weathered the storm and missed a glorious chance to equalise in the 28th minute.
Parter threw the ball into Turner, who flicked a pass into Craig Stone, who put in a low cross from the left-hand side of the penalty box and put it on a plate for Chinedu McKenzie, who lashed his first time shot over the crossbar at the near post from just six-yards out.
Kamara, who came in for suspended Sonny Miles who was sent off against Merstham last Monday afternoon, was shaky at the heart of the Tonbridge defence during the first half.
Kamara allowed Robertson to outmuscle him inside the penalty area but the Metropolitan Police wideman poked his shot across the keeper and watched the ball trickle harmlessly wide of the goal.
Metropolitan Police missed a decent chance to double their lead three minutes before the break.
Robertson ran in between Lee and Stone and threaded a 20-yard diagonal pass into Gilbert’s path but the ball bounced up and Gilbert’s right-footed half-volley from 18-yards – just to the left of the D – scooped over the bar.
Tonbridge Angels took only five minutes and 37 seconds into the second half to force their way back into the game.
Referee Dale Baines penalised Gilbert for handball just outside the corner of his penalty area and they paid the ultimate price.
Lee drove in a low left-footed penalty into the box from just under 20-yards from goal. The ball bounced off Metropolitan Police’s left-back Nesta Guinness-Walker and forced Schötterl to dive to his left and use left-hand to push the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Tonbridge Angels had the momentum and a brilliant double-save from the 24-year-old keeper denied them the lead.
Turner played the ball inside to Stone, who cracked a right-footed drive towards the top left-hand corner from outside the box, forcing Schötterl to dive to his right to parry. The keeper then blocked Derry’s follow-up shot to his left and Ramadan had two bites of the cherry but couldn’t force the ball over the line as the home side got bodies back.
Metropolitan Police grabbed the lead for the second time, their goal coming with 11 minutes and 12 seconds on the clock.
The goal came from their fifth of eight corners, which was swung in from the left by Gilbert and was cleared away – but centre-half Robinson stayed in the Angels box.
The ball was cleared out to Gilbert and in the third-phase of the set-piece he whipped in a quality low cross towards the near post. Robinson cut across the keeper and flicked his shot towards the bottom near corner, which was blocked by Henly and Robinson received a slice of luck by bundling the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from inside the six-yard box.
Tonbridge Angels kept knocking on the door during a dominant final 25 minutes of normal time as Metropolitan Police sat back on their lead.
The Police held their defensive line on the 18-yard box as Parter floated in a deep cross from the left and Derry towered over Robinson at the far post and steered his header straight into Schötterl’s hands.
Parter floated in another cross from the left which was met by Stone’s left-footed half-volley, which was pushed over by Schötterl with both of his arms raised high above his head.
With the home side’s defence expecting Lee to launch a long throw into the box from the right, the centre-half threw the ball short to James Folkes, who skipped past Gilbert before whipping in a cross for Stone to glance his free header straight into the busy goalkeeper’s midriff with just 13 minutes left.
A hooked pass from Mazzone released Blackmore, who fed Chislett, who split open Kamara but Henly smothered the ball into his gloves before Mazzone could latch onto the ball inside the Tonbridge penalty area.
Tonbridge Angels kept knocking on the door and scored a deserved equaliser with 38 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock.
Theobalds waited for the best moment to score his first goal for the club and it was a superb solo run, which saw him run with the ball on a diagonal run for around 40-yards before beating the last defender and drilling a right-footed shot through the keeper’s legs to find the bottom right-hand corner from 18-yards.
Metropolitan Police rode their luck at the end of normal time when the ball somehow stayed out.
Turner delivered a deep hanging cross from the left which was knocked back across goal at the far post by a rising Kamara and McKenzie had the simplest of task to bury the chance from a couple of yards out at the far post but a defender made a vital heroic block to ensure the ball rolled past the foot of the far post.
Folkes swept a deep free-kick from close to the half-way line which was met by Lee at the edge of the box and his towering header was comfortably caught by Schötterl so the game went into extra-time.
Tonbridge Angels keeper Henly pulled off a fine diving save to prevent Metropolitan Police scoring just 48 seconds into extra-time.
Mazzone came to life and his shot on the turn from 25-yards was sailing into the top far corner, only for Henly to dive high to his left and use a right-hand to push the ball over the crossbar.
Theobalds pinged a sublime diagonal pass to pick out substitute winger Jared Small out on the right and he beat right-back Josh Webb and drove in a cross, which deflected off Jeremy Arthur at the near post and the ball nestled into the side netting for a corner.
Metropolitan Police’s left-back Guinness-Walker was given oceans of space to float in a cross from 35-yards, which sailed over Henly’s left shoulder before dropping down and kissing the roof of the net.
Tonbridge Angels scored the winning goal with six minutes and 21 seconds into the first period.
Small knocked a Metropolitan Police cross back to his keeper Henly, who threw the ball back to Small, who was some 30-yards from his own goal.
Small ran down the right with the ball at his feet for around 50 yards before whipping in a quality cross towards the far post for an otherwise quiet Derry to bury his header down and up into the top left-hand corner from three-yards out.
Metropolitan Police were forced to twice shoot from distance, which was comfortably dealt with by Henly.
Gilbert played the ball inside to Chislett, who took a touch and drove a left-footed shot from 22-yards straight down Henly’s throat in the 12th minute.
Guinness-Walker then played the ball into Chislett, who cut inside and stroked a 30-yard drive, which was comfortably held by the Angels stopper.
Metropolitan Police created the final opening of the first period when Blackmore slipped a short pass inside to Chislett, who from inside the D, slipped in Blackmore but he scuffed his right-footed shot just past the foot of the right-hand post.
There were three chances during the second period of extra-time.
Guinness-Walker and the Chislett linked up in and around the penalty area and Gilbert’s dinked pass put Chislett through on goal but the impressive midfielder was clearly tired as he latched onto the ball, taking too long to sweep the ball towards the bottom near corner, which was comfortably gathered by Henly.
Tonbridge Angels broke with Theobalds, who slipped the ball through to put Turner through on goal but he sliced his left-footed shot over the top of the left-hand post from 20-yards.
MacPherson threw bodies forward and two of their substitutes could have forced a penalty shoot out at the death.
Oliver Knight put the ball into the box from the left and Jonathan Hippolyte was lurking at the far post and poked the ball towards the bottom near corner and Henly smothered the ball on the line at his near post.
There was a pitch invasion at the final whistle as Tonbridge Angels celebrated their return to the National League South for the first time in five seasons and can now look forward to games against Dartford and Maidstone United next season.
Metropolitan Police: Herbert Schötterl, Josh Webb, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Louis Birch (Tom Nyama 72), Oliver Robinson, Jeremy Arthur, John Gilbert, (Oliver Knight 117), Ethan Chislett, Jack Mazzone, Max Blackmore (Jonathan Hippolyte 109), Luke Robertson.
Subs: Junior Elsted, Tom Williams
Goals: Ethan Chislett 18, Oliver Robinson 56
Booked: Oliver Robinson 89
Tonbridge Angels: Jonathan Henly, James Folkes, Jack Parter, Craig Stone, Michael Kamara, Arthur Lee, Adem Ramadan (Jared Small 66), D’Sean Theobalds, Tom Derry, Chinedu McKenzie (Alex Read 112), Joe Turner.
Subs: Liam Smith, Callum Adonis-Taylor, Sami Nabbad
Goals: Nesta Guinness-Walker 51 (own goal), D’Sean Theobalds 84, Tom Derry 97
Booked: D’Sean Theobalds 71, Arthur Lee 89
Referee: Mr Dale Baines (Liverpool, Merseyside)
Assistants: Mr Lennon Davis (Reading, Berkshire) & Mr Jonathan Was (West Drayton, Middlesex)
Fourth Official: Mr Gerry Heron (West Wickham)