Fleet 1-1 Tonbridge Angels

There were rather fewer goals at Longmead than Fleet fans witnessed at home on Tuesday as Tonbridge battled back with five minutes left to take a share of the points.

Josh Wright’s first goal for the club seemed like it might be enough to take home another maximum set of points but Scott Wagstaff’s 85th-minute conversion reeled the visitors back in.

Fleet made four changes with Wright, Dominic Poleon, Greg Cundle and Haydn Hollis back in the starting eleven. Tonbridge left on-loan top scorer Jordan Greenidge on the bench, beginning with newly rejoined Tommy Wood instead.

A quiet opening gave way to the first chance on 11 minutes when Omari Sterling-James drew a good save low down by Jonny Henly and Jamie Fielding had to sweep it out of the six-yard box.

That didn’t spark the game into life, however, as neither side could find the gap they needed to create something. It was almost at the half-hour mark before another opportunity of note arrived when Tariq Hinds floated in a shot from wide that Mark Cousins couldn’t quite keep the right side of the byline and it went for a corner.

Joe Turner sent a free-kick well off-target from a promising position before Cundle had the ball in the other net moments later but play had been pulled back long before he fired home.

Luke O’Neill almost found the gap his side needed 10 minutes from the break, firing in a dangerous delivery across goal that Poleon kicked at before Henly hurt himself in clearing the threat. But still both sides continued to cancel each other out, with Fleet the more ambitious without overly troubling the home defence.

It looked very much like events were heading for a half-time stalemate but Fleet broke the deadlock on 42 minutes. Sterling broke quickly upfield and slipped a pass into a well-placed Wright. His initial shot went too high and bounced back off the crossbar but it fell to earth kindly to land at his right foot and he was able to convert at the second attempt.

The Angels got off to a good start after the break, changing shape and getting a view of the Fleet goal without really threatening before another promising chance at the other end came Fleet’s way, Sterling across to Cundle who raced through into the box but couldn’t get his shot past Henly.

Like the first-half, the second was a slow enough affair with Fleet initially taking the game to the Angels and Poleon might have enlivened it on 64 minutes as he broke clear of the blue shirts to range in on goal. But with Bingham crying out for a pass, his strike partner kept going and was dispossessed.

Turner struck an effort into the side netting at the other end as the Angels sounded a warning that they weren’t done. And as the game entered the final 20, Tonbridge pressed the Fleet into their own half, with only Sterling’s effort from wide at Henly relieving some of the hosts’ possession.

Once again, much like the first period, the game appeared to be heading to its climax without another goal when Tonbridge struck.

They got their equaliser five minutes from time after Hollis scissored a clearance on to the roof of his net. From the resulting corner, a goalmouth scramble saw Fleet block a couple of attempts before Scott Wagstaff forced a low drive into the corner, Cousins grounded as the red shirt sought a foul on him in vain.

With their tails up, substitute Devonte Aransabia arrowed a good shot just over for Tonbridge but that was the final act in Fleet’s penultimate Kent derby of the season.

EUFC: Cousins, O’Neill, Martin, Hollis, Wright (Domi 73), N’Guessan, Cundle (Chapman 90), Sterling-James, Edser, Bingham (Clifford 78), Poleon. Subs: Jombati, Coulthirst
TFC: Henly, Fielding (Aransibia 46), Braham-Barrett, Miles, Swift, Gard (Fagg 79), T.Wood (Greenidge 68), J.Wood, Turner, Hinds, Wagstaff. Subs: Parkinson, Fountaine
Attendance: 1,770

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