|Go Travel Kent League
|Stephen McCartney reports from Culverden Stadium|
|Tunbridge Wells||4||Aaron O'Leary 33
Ricky DeFreitas 66
Steve Ward 88
Buster Beaney 90
|Thamesmead Town||2||Pedro Knight 81
Jason Clews 90
Wells making good progress ahead of big three games
WELLS climbed up to seventh place in the Go Travel Kent League table with a
deserved victory over Thamesmead Town at a sparse Culverden Stadium tonight.
The 43 fans that braved the cold weather witnessed another game that came to life towards the end - two goals being scored by each team in the final ten minutes.
Both sides were frustrated early on as they couldn't cope with the pitch conditions, which made playing good football quite difficult.
The first chance fell to the visitors after seven minutes when Pedro Knight got on the end of Peter Deadman's corner but his downward header was comfortably saved by Wells goalkeeper Matt Bromby at the near post.
Bromby pulled off a fine save when he tipped over Jason Clews' 30-yard curling effort, which was heading towards the top left hand corner of the net.
Tunbridge Wells squandered a good chance in a tight opening half an hour when Brad Mortimer blazed over the bar at the far post when well placed.
Another chance came the home side's way when Lee Porter slipped the ball behind three Thamesmead defenders for teenage sensation Steve Ward - a player who was watched by Ryman Leaguers Bromley tonight, along with Joe Wade, a former Bromley player, and striker Ricky DeFreitas - but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Good build up play from the home side earned them a 33rd minute penalty when Porter was brought down on the right hand side of the penalty area by former Cray Wanderers full-back Danny Evans.
With usual penalty taker Martin Anderson rested, the responsibility fell to another former Ashford Town man Aaron O'Leary and he didn't disappoint, coolly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way with a left-footed low drive into the net.
Two minutes later, Thamesmead almost equalised when Dean Burns' drilled a right-footed shot narrowly wide.
DeFreitas reached the by-line and cut the ball back to Wade and the former Bromley and Ashford Town midfielder unleashed a rasping 14-yard shot, which warmed the fingers of Moore, pushing the shot over the bar.
Luke Williams was unlucky not to double the home side's lead after 53 minutes, out on the right, his shot gave the goalkeeper no chance but clipped the near post.
The second goal, however, finally came in the 66th minute when DeFreitas' shot deflected off Lee Loveridge and crept into the near post.
The game turned on its head with fifteen minutes left. Wells skipper Simon Joynes was elbowed by Jason Clews and play was held up for around five minutes as the player received treatment from both physio's.
This gave Thamesmead a chance to re-group and they threw their big men forward and began to launch balls up field adopting a route one policy.
This tactic had the desired effect as Knight fired agonisingly wide of the foot of the left post, rolling the ball past an onrushing goalkeeper but he found the back of the net a minute later, captalising on a mistake by Bromby, who came to the edge of his penalty area, punched poorly, which fell to Knight, whose shot dropped into the corner of the net.
Wells, however, went 3-1 up after 88 minutes. Porter sent Ward away on a counter attack down the right hand side, and the 17-year shot struck a fierce drive across the goalkeeper, which nestled into the bottom far corner of the net.
Wells made a double substitution immediately after their third goal but Thamesmead grabbed a second goal deep into injury time.
Substitute Anthony Potts reached the by-line before centering for Clews to fire a low shot inside the near post from close range.
Wells, however, wrapped the game up a minute later with two substitutes combining.
Kevin Brown's low cross from the left hand side was poked home by Buster Beaney - his first touch of the game - Wells securing their third league win of the season, leaving the visitors reeling after suffering their fifth loss of the campaign, which promised so much.
Deflated Thamesmead Town boss Paul Blade looks certain to wield the axe after their defeat tonight.
When asked what he wanted to say about the game, he replied: "Not a lot really.
"Very poor, we didn't want it enough, they wanted it more than us.
"Tunbridge Wells dealt with the pitch better than we did. I thought it was a very poor pitch, but that's no excuse.
"They deserved it, they wanted it and we didn't - and we got punished for it.
"Poor defending, too many excuses. A few people have to look at themselves. I will change it and I said to them, what they've done in the past few weeks means nothing and there's a few boys that will find themselves out but that's football I'm afraid.
"I am not happy, probably too angry to talk to them at the moment so best to leave them on their own and see what reaction I get on Saturday."
Blade, however, will be looking for a better reaction from his side for Saturday's clash with local rivals Erith Town at Bayliss Avenue.
"A lot of hard work for the last six to seven weeks - one poor performance - and that's football I'm afraid. You have to except it and get on with it.
"Apart from that, no excuses, they deserved it, got the three points and we got nothing - that's what we deserved.
"A bad night at the office!"
Kevin Metcalf, Tunbridge Wells manager, on the other hand, cannot wait for his side's next game.
Without a game on Saturday, they make the trip to Lordswood's ground at North Dane Way, Walderslade, Chatham to take on championship challengers VCD Athletic next Tuesday before they travel to Bury Town in the last 32 of the FA Vase on 11th December.
Maidstone United are the visitors to Culverden Stadium on Saturday 18th December, in what Metcalf hopes his side will be sitting pretty in the league table over the festive period.
Metcalf said: "I knew it would be a tough game and the pitch didn't help."
He revealed he is giving all players in his squad a chance to impress ahead of the very important trip to Bury Town in the FA Vase.
"The players know, and we've got a couple missing tonight, that they have to go out there and make a performance.
"We've told them we are going to take our best squad to Bury Town, what we feel is our best sixteen."
Speaking about the games against VCD Athletic and Maidstone United, which if they win will propel them at the business end of the table, Metcalf added: "These are massive games for the club now.
"One out of the way, against Thamesmead, has given us three points, now were in the hat with some of the other teams so a couple of victories against VCD and Maidstone we could be sitting pretty at Christmas."
Tunbridge Wells: Matt Bromby, Jay Westwood, Ben Hilden, Simon Joynes (Capt), Aaron O'Leary, Luke Williams (Alex Rich 90), Steve Ward (Buster Beaney 89), Brad Mortimer, Ricky DeFreitas (Kevin Brown 89), Joe Wade, Lee Porter.
Thamesmead Town: Dominic Moore, Marc Merridan, Danny Evans, Alan Sillance (Ray Power 73), Lee Loveridge (Anthony Potts 67), Curtis Williams, Pedro Knight (Capt), Jason Clews, Dean Burns, Peter Deadman (Kieron Collins 37). Sub: Keith McMahon
Referee: S Butler
Assistants: P Ward & M Kent