11th February 2024

The Glovers got back to winning ways in Kent just one week after defeat just up the road in Maidstone. A Jake Wannell brace, accompanied by goals from Jordan Young and Matt Worthington, ensured the Glovers returned to Somerset with all three points.

After missing the games against Slough and Maidstone, Michael Smith returned to the starting lineup with Jordan Stevens also making a return after being named on the bench.

The Glovers got off to a strong start as Michael Smith and Jordan Young linked up down the right wing before Sam Pearson drove into the area but was dispossessed before he was able to square the ball.

However, on 10 minutes Dylan Morgan set off on a remarkable run that enabled Jordan Young to find the net and open the scoring at the Longmead Stadium. After shrugging off a couple of Tonbridge defenders and skipping over a chopping challenge, which was given as an advantage, Morgan threaded through a perfect ball to Jordan Young who only had Henley to beat, and he calmly lifted it past the keeper and into the net.

Moments later, the Glovers were causing problems again. Sam Pearson latched onto a long kick from Joe Day and tried to play the ball through to Dylan Morgan but he was held up by the Tonbridge defender which saw him lose control of his pass as it ran through to Henley.

It wasn’t long before the Glovers had made it two. Dylan Morgan drove into the box from the left and tried to square the ball to Sam Pearson but it was turned behind for a corner. The resulting corner was drilled in by Jordan Young and found the head of Jake Wannell which, via a slight deflection, made its way into the net. The Glovers now 2-0 after 18 minutes.

Before the travelling Glovers could finish celebrating their second of the afternoon, Tonbridge managed to get a goal back. A header from Michael Smith went astray and fell into the path of Nathan Odokonyero who took a touch before drilling his effort into the far corner beyond the sprawling Joe Day.

Like the supporters who were unable to squeeze under cover to get away from the rain, the Glovers had to weather the storm as the momentum switched following the hosts’ goal. The closest Tonbridge came to finding an equaliser before the break came through Sean Shields who pulled the trigger from range but his low effort was saved by Joe Day.

The Glovers managed to slow the attacks in the final stages of the first half with long spells of keeping the ball which frustrated the home support. With two minutes being indicated at the end of the 45, the midfield and defence in Green held onto possession for the majority of the additional time before the half time whistle.

At the break, Alex Whittle had to come off after struggling with an illness and was replaced by Jay Foulston at left back. The opening stages of the second half were riddled by stoppages with Dylan Morgan, Scott Wagstaff, and Lyons-Foster all receiving treatment inside the first 10 minutes.

On 56 minutes, Jordan Young had an opportunity with a free-kick on the edge of the box. Despite getting the ball over the wall, Young’s effort was unable to get enough dip to find the net. The Glovers had switched the momentum in their favour as they had now put Tonbridge on the back foot.

On 66 minutes, the attacking pressure from the Glovers paid off as they managed to find a third. Dylan Morgan’s corner was drilled in a similar fashion to Jordan Young’s in the first half and met Jake Wannell who once again drilled his header into the bottom corner to extend their lead.

The assist from Dylan Morgan was his final action of the game as he was replaced by Jordan Stevens who came on for his first minutes since sustaining an injury back in November. Moments after coming on, Stevens latched onto a ball from Sonny Blu Lo-Everton before trying to square it to Frank Nouble but Nouble was unable to make contact with the cross.

Mark Cooper then looked to the bench for his final substitution as Alex Fisher replaced Sam Pearson as the game entered the final 10 minutes. In the 87th minute, Jordan Young broke through the Tonbridge defence with a driving run but he was unable to loft the ball over Henley as he stood firm and collected the ball.

Suddenly the game took a dramatic turn. A free-kick from the left was cleared away before being put back into the box Kodi Lyons-Foster drilled a low effort into the bottom corner to set up a grandstand finish.

As the game entered additional time, Joe Day had to be on high alert to deny Lewis Gard whose goal-bound effort was denied by Day at point-blank range to keep the Glovers ahead. The five additional minutes were dominated by high pressure by Tonbridge which included a corner from which goalkeeper Jonathan Henley joined the attack and headed wide.

Despite the relentless pressing for an equaliser from Tonbridge, it was the Glovers that found the net and ensured all three points were heading back to Somerset. With Tonbridge committing bodies forward, Matt Worthington was able to intercept the ball and break with only Henley to beat. Worthington was able to shrug off the defenders who were tracking him down before slotting the ball between the legs of Henley and into the empty net.

Before Tonbridge could even think about starting another attack the game was brought to an end and saw the Glovers recover from defeat just 15 miles away to collect their 21st win of the season.