|Go Travel Kent League
|Robert Smith reports from Culverden Stadium|
|Tunbridge Wells||5||Walker 2,22
|Slade Green||4||Kearley 5 (pen)
Nine goal thriller at Culverden Stadium
The goalscoring feast began as early as the second minute as Dean Walker fired home after a free kick inside the box had been blocked.
Instantly Green should have been on terms as Hayes' cross found Dave Martin but he directed his effort straight at a defender, however this miss was soon a distant memory because by the 5th minute Dean Kearley pulled the scores level from the penalty spot following a dubious handball by Steve Ward.
It needed stunning acrobatics from Wells keeper Matt Bromby on 18 minutes to prevent Green edging ahead as he went full stretch to parry a stinging drive from Dave Martin having connected with a deft throughball from Wayne Barrett.
The home side then capitalised on this save as they struck twice in as many minutes. Following a free kick from the right Walker converted Dave Hassett’s squared ball and then moments later Hassett found the net after the visitors had failed to deal with a long clearance from keeper Bromby.
As half time approached Green’s two wingers Martin and Hayes combined well as Hayes cleverly trapped Martin’s cross before sending his strike narrowly wide of the Wells goal.,however the home side then swept forward and Luke Williams added a fourth goal.
Straight from the kick Green gave themselves a lifeline as Martin brilliantly pulled the ball down before cutting inside his marker and drilling a low drive into the heart of the net.
Martin could so easily netted again eight minutes into the second half, Tony Gallagher and Shaun Malyon produced neat approach play before seeing Martin’s goalbound volley draw a flying save from Bromby.
With their next attack Green did find the net, Martin burst down the left and despite being clearly pulled back by his marker continued his run before delivering an inch perfect cross which Hayes rattled into the back of the net.
An equalising goal seemed imminent as Green were now in total control but then disaster struck whilst on the attack Danny Little lost his footing, and Wells broke forward and with their very first attack of the second half Daniel Barham was on hand to fire home from a right wing cross.
Green keeper Lee Heywood then took centre stage as he tipped away a goalbound shot from Luke Williams and then produced a similar save to thwart Joe Wade.
In between Heywood’s heroics, Green once again reduced the deficit as Hayes embarked on a fine run from midfield before unleashing a seemingly harmless looking shot that with a slight dip left the keeper shell-shocked.
With seconds left Green looked set to grab a dramatic last gasp equaliser when Barrett released Dean Bowey, but the Green striker placed his lob over the bar.
Slade Green: Heywood, Lewis, Sabatino (Bond), Gallagher, Kearley, Penny, Martin, Barrett (Bowey), Malyon, Little, Hayes. Other subs: Upson, Vines