|Following the shock resignations of
coaches Martin Telford and Dave Rice on Saturday, Tunbridge Wells showed
enough character to knock Slade Green out of the Kent Senior Trophy at The
Small Glen on penalties tonight, writes Stephen McCartney.
With manager Kevin Metcalf away on holiday, reserve team coaches Mike
D'Arcy (a FA qualified coach) and Alan Burns (an UEFA B qualified coach)
took the reigns tonight, and the former Tonbridge Angels' reserve
management team will also be in charge of Saturday's Kentish Observer
League clash against Thamesmead Town, which kick's off at Culverden
Stadium at high noon.
But the future of Metcalf, however, remains in the balance until he
returns from Portugal on Sunday.
Slade Green, however, felt their impressive first half display would have
been enough to see them through to the second round - and a home tie
against Maidstone United next month - but they didn't take their chances.
Mick Bradley, Robert Browning and Glen McTaggart all failed to find the
target in a lively opening twenty minutes.
But man-of-the-match Anthony Weir won Slade Green a 22nd minute penalty
but McTaggart's right-footed spot kick was beaten out by John Whitehouse,
diving to his right, to keep the score on level terms.
It took Tunbridge Wells thirty minutes to create
their first real chance but Green goalkeeper Gary Arterton blocked Steve
Former Tonbridge Angels' striker, Joe Fuller almost stole the lead for the
visitors when his right-footed 20-yard free kick took a deflection off the
wall and agonisingly sailed over the bar.
Lee Morgan squandered a gilt edged chance for the home side in the 51st
minute, heading Browning's free kick, agonisingly wide of the far post.
And he picked up his fifth booking of the season six minutes later after
ending Steve Ward's 60-yard run down the left flank illegally.
The visitors took full advantage of their hosts tiredness and Daniel
Barham's long range shot flew over.
But the Wells stole the lead with ten minutes left, only for Slade Green
to restore parity within a minute.
Good work by Dave Hassett in midfield set up the chance for substitute
Dave Batt, and from 25-yards his drive found the bottom right corner of
But a lapse in concentration inside the penalty area allowed McTaggart to
score his fourth goal in five games when he fired inside the near post
after Danny Little flicked a header into his path, and the former Erith
Town striker pounced to keep up his impressive goalscoring form of late.
Steve Ward almost grabbed a late winner for the visitors but his
right-footed curler clipped the far post so the game went into extra time.
Hassett, Barham and Fuller couldn't find the target for the visitors,
neither could Green's Weir and Shaun Malyon so for the second time this
season Tunbridge Wells were involved in a penalty shoot-out.
Having taken a record breaking 40 penalties in their 16-15 FA Cup victory
over Littlehampton Town earlier in the season (and don't forget the two
during the game) only nine were needed tonight, with Tunbridge Wells
winning 4-2 on penalties.
Although Hassett saw the first spot kick well blocked by Slade Green
goalkeeper Gary Arterton, his team-mates Patrick Beehan, Joe Fuller, Scott
Thomas and Mike McKeown converted theirs.
And for Slade Green, Morgan and Browning hit the target but Little (struck
crossbar) and Scott Lewis (just over) meant Maistone United will be making
the short trip to Culverden Stadium in the next round.
In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk,
Mike D'Arcy admitted he was surprised when he was asked by chairman Norman
Sales to take charge of the club's next two games following the
resignations of the club's two coaches, although coach Rice took up his
physio duties for the last time tonight before bidding farewell to the
players after the game.
"I liked Martin (Telford) as a coach and he left for whatever reasons
on Saturday and Norman gave me a ring to ask to take today and Saturday's
game against Thamesmead so I am more than happy to," he said.
"I know quite a lot of the players anyway because Martin used to
train the first team and the reserves together so I'm familiar with the
faces. And yes, I enjoyed tonight."
Having been knocked out of both the FA Cup and FA Vase already, D'Arcy is
relishing the Maidstone United game - the first of five being played
against the Stones this season.
"That will be nice - a bit more money in the kitty and a bit more
experience for us.
"We needed that (win tonight) as we've got knocked out of two cups
earlier in the season and it's a good opportunity to play Maidstone again
outside the league."
Although Metcalf's future hangs in the balance, D'Arcy will throw his hat
into the ring - along with Alan Burns - to take over first team affairs -
if the situation arises.
"It all depends what happens after Saturday really," said
D'Arcy. "If Norman thinks he can put his faith in us - Alan
(Burns) and I are more than happy to do the job but it will all come down
to results at the end of the day, and what the board and players think
"Yes, I'd like to, I've enjoyed tonight, I know a lot of the players,
they are a good bunch of lads, it's a great club with good facilities,
we'll certainly enjoy the challenge."
Slade Green's joint-manager, Phil Miles, reflected on the game and
admitted his side played well for the first hour before losing their way.
"We played well for an hour really but then after an hour we lost our
way," he said.
"Tunbridge Wells grew a little bit more in confidence and in the end
there was not a lot between the two sides.
"We had the better chances really without actually making their
"Obviously we're disappointed. Penalties are a lottery but
you've got to hit the target. They've taken four great penalties and
we've hit two dodgy ones to be fair."
But Miles feels his side should be playing Maidstone United in the next
"We've had the best chances on the day but if we got the goal from
the penalty (during the first half) I think we would have won the game
"We haven't got that guile or experience to keep doing the things we
were doing in the first hour and we've let them back into the game."
Miles is hoping his skipper Alan Hanlon declines a move to local rivals
Erith Town tomorrow night.
He revealed: "I believe Erith Town have spoken to him.
Obviously we are hopeful he is going to stay with us.
"He's played quite well tonight. You know exactly what you're
going to get with him and that's why we've made him our captain.
"So hopefully we'll be able to keep him but that depends what Erith
Town can offer him.
"If they offer him money - but he's not that type of person to be
fair. I don't think he'll better his football by going there, but
he's got a mortgage to pay at the end of the month and if someone offers
you money it soon totals up at the end of the month to put towards your
"I don't mind that, Alan's quite honest and open, he'll go and speak
to them tomorrow (Wednesday) night and we'll see what happens.
"I'm hoping he'll say no."