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|Go Travel Kent League
|Stephen McCartney reports from Culverden Stadium|
Managers satisfied with a point
DEAL TOWN climbed over Erith Town in the Go Travel Kent League table after holding Tunbridge Wells to a goal-less draw at Culverden Stadium tonight - which was the home side's eighth league draw of the season.
fresh from their exploits in the FA Vase, where they reached the third round,
are now third from bottom in the table, but with games in hand over thirteen
rivals, with thirteen games to go, they are setting their sights on a top half
finish, according to manager Derek Hares.
He said: "We've got games in hand over the teams at the bottom of the league so just to win as many as we can and if we can finish half-way or above, that's a big step forward for us this year after last season."
Hares, however, was pleased with collecting a point at Culverden Stadium tonight.
He added: "I think it was the right result. Conditions were bad for both sides but I thought we probably had the first half and they had the second.
"I thought we defended quite well but we were looking for a goal really. If we got that goal it would turn things around a little bit for us.
"I thought the lads worked hard and I couldn't fault them for their commitment."
Left-sided midfielder Danny Smith, however, was impressive for the visitors but was forced off the pitch after 69 minutes, making way for striker Nathan Mitford, due to cramp.
Hares revealed: "He worked hard on the left. He's unfortunately suffering from getting cramps at the moment. He's a good young player and one of the local lads from Deal."
Reflecting on their FA Vase run, which was the furthest the club have progressed other than Tommy Sampson's glory days in 2000, he added: "Disappointed to have lost 3-0 but I think we did as well as most people expected. It was something to be proud of."
The closest the visitors came to scoring, as the home side created the most half-chances, was just before the break. A 35-yard curing effort from the left by Paul Stevens was tipped onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Matt Bromby - who recently turned down a transfer request from Maidstone United - and from the resulting corner, Julian Holmes' came up from the back to plant a powerful header that was hacked clear.
Meanwhile, Wells boss Kevin Metcalf took plusses from the game and admitted he was pleased with the performance of debutant defender Mark Boyle - plucked out of local football.
He said: "Plusses from the game were using Gavin Williams at the back and the new lad (Mark Boyle) coming in.
"He was someone who was recommended to us. He's one of Lee Porter's friends who plays football with him. He's a good player so we've brought him down to have a look and he's showed us he is strong and he's done the business."
Although the home side created the better chances, visiting goalkeeper Jason Hughes wasn't really tested.
"Both goalkeepers never made a save. A 0-0, boring game and that's it really," Metcalf summerised.
After losing their Kent League Cup quarter-final tie at Herne Bay on Saturday 5-1, Metcalf was forced to bring in reinforcements to their back-line due to a defensive injury crisis.
But with Martin Anderson, Jay Westwood and Simon Joynes all coming back from injury shortly, Metcalf will have plenty of good options to choose from when they are all fit.
"Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll have all the troops back. Now we've got a couple of new players they've got to work now,"
Metcalf, conceeded his side have fallen away from the title race but is looking to finish in the top six - which was the club's aim at the start of the season. He did, however, admit the title will be heading to Southwood Stadium.
Ramsgate went top of the league thanks to a 3-1 win at Erith Town on Monday night and Metcalf thinks Jim Ward's experience will be the key in this season's title race.
He said: "We are still in there with a lot of points to play for.
"Deal have shown us tonight that they will take points of clubs.
"We are building for next year - our players are all young. At Christmas we said we are going for the league and that just ruffled up a few feathers. But we have set our standards for a top six finish.
"Jim Ward is a wily old fox. He's been there, done it and he knows the players and a lot of them come from Ramsgate. He's got a strong side and I think they will win it."
Metcalf is anticipating a good game of football when they make the trip to Eden Park Avenue on Saturday, playing on their superb playing surface.
He added: "I think it will be a good game. We'll get the ball down and play football and I am looking forward to it."
Lordswood are the next visitors to Culverden Stadium on Saturday 19th February and they are holding a Quiz Night in their clubhouse on Saturday 26th February (7:30pm) - where tickets cost £5 per person with soup and rolls being served on the night.
Tunbridge Wells: Matt Bromby, Mark Boyle, Ben Hilden, Gavin Williams, Aaron O'Leary, Luke Williams (Steve Ward 69), Lee Porter, Bradley Mortimer (Steve Smith 87), David Hassett, Daniel Barham, Dean Walker (Michael Ward 58). Subs: Alex Rich, Kevin Skinner
Deal Town: Jason Hughes, Gary Miller, Julian Holmes, Adam Covey, Carl Whitehead, Paul Stevens, Jamie Marriott, David Bathgate (Capt), Ryan Tomlinson, Alex Hossick, Danny Smith (Nathan Mitford 69). Subs: Craig Mcains, Josh Davison, Lee Whitewood, Andy Bigginton