|Go Travel Kent League
|Stephen McCartney reports from North Dane Way|
|VCD Athletic||1||Richard Dimmock 47|
De Freitas 45,75
Dean Walker 48
Ford blasts the "clown" in the middle
ATHLETIC lost their place at the top of the Go Travel Kent League Premier
Division after losing 3-1 to Tunbridge Wells at North Dane Way tonight.
Manager Martin Ford blasted the performance of his defenders and match referee Mr A Carter - whose performance was shocking - as Ramsgate leapfrogged over them at the summit.
Tunbridge Wells, however, have now made
followers of Kent League football stand up and pay attention to the Culverden
Although they are in seventh place, they are now only three points of the leaders in a congested top half of the table.
any team from a whole number of clubs could walk away with the Kent League crown
at the end of the campaign.
VCD, however, should have never lost this game. They twice hit the woodwork in the first half, squandered good chances but they went into the interval a goal down. Tunbridge Wells' striker Ricky DeFreitas, scored the game's first goal five minutes and ten seconds into stoppage time to keep up his impressive form.
Richard Dimmock, a striker on loan from Ryman League Division One side Cray Wanderers, drew level for the home side, 93 seconds after the break but Wells restored the lead with former Banstead Athletic midfielder Dean Walker scoring 80 seconds later and DeFreitas scored his second of the game with fifteen minutes left.
The home side started the game very well with burly skipper Danny Penny and Dimmock both shooting wide from shots outside the box in the opening five minutes.
Striker Jon Maine was unlucky not to give the home side a deserved lead after 12 minutes but his 25-yard shot crashed against the underside of the crossbar with goalkeeper Matt Bromby well beaten.
Dimmock's 45-yard effort, after seeing Bromby off his line, dropped into the goalkeepers hands before he unleashed a powerful drive wide of goal before Michael Adcock - who later went off injured - tested Bromby at his near post.
The visitors' first real chance came in the 23rd minute from George Fenwick. The 22-year-old strong right sided midfielder, son of Ashford Town manager Terry, unleashed a left-footed 25-yarder which flew well wide of the target.
Main was denied by the woodwork for the second time, in the 37th minute, when he found space for himself on the edge of the penalty area but his 22-yard shot clipped the foot of the left post.
This finally sparked the visitors into life and after former Bromley and Ashford Town midfielder Joe Wade shot agonisingly wide of the left post from 16-yards they took the lead, against the run of play, deep into stoppage time.
Wade set up DeFreitas in a two versus two raid inside the VCD Athletic penalty area and the former Grays Athletic striker drove a low shot into the bottom far corner of the net.
The home side deservedly drew level early in the second half and full credit must go to substitute Lynsey Thomas.
The nippy winger, who should have been given more of the ball in the second half, reached the by-line before centering low for Dimmock to smash the ball into the net.
However, Walker gave the visitors the lead a minute later, with a low drive that went past goalkeeper Marc Brown.
One of many poor decisions from the referee came in the 63rd minute when he decided to pull play back after Main was brought down on the edge of the penalty area when something promising looked on for the home side if he allowed play to flow.
Both benches were left bemused by the performance from the man in the middle, whose actions will prevent this "clown" to progress up the football pyramid.
Good play from the visitors almost gave them a third goal when Buster Beaney picked out Lee Porter on the right hand side. Porter's low centre was half cleared by defender Steve Coatham and Wade blasted a good chance wide.
Main curled a shot narrowly wide of the right post and Penny blasted over before Tunbridge Wells sealed their victory in the 75th minute when DeFreitas slotted past an onrushing goalkeeper into the bottom far corner of the net after latching onto a through ball.
Dejected VCD boss Ford said: "At the end of the day, we got beat tonight because we didn't take our chances.
"Tunbridge Wells hit us on the break. Three bad individual errors from the defenders tonight, two from James Brown and one from Steve Coatham - you can't compensate for it.
"I thought we done well again tonight but I thought it was going to be one team that was going to win the game.
"However, if you make mistakes in the caliber we did tonight, you are always going to get punished."
The only man who wanted the centre of attention, however, was match referee Mr A Carter.
Ford blasted: "He was atrocious. I keep saying the referees in this league are terrible and to be honest with you, the referee was a clown.
"We knew he has been sending off players - he did at Sporting Bengal at the start of the season. We knew the fella can't referee games at this level of football and why he is out there, I don't know!
"I think referee's should be properly vetted. I don't think any of them are fit to be honest.
"I think the standard of refereeing is poor and I'm afraid the linesmen are no better. What do you do? The only answer is you don't play with referees and linesmen, but you have to have them.
"They can't enjoy the game. Both dug outs, and I mean both dug outs, were screaming for ninety minutes because the referee was poor - for both sides.
"That doesn't hide the fact we've made three dreadful errors tonight and Tunbridge Wells have taken them.
"If you look at the shots on goal, they had less than us."
Ford demands a victory at Greenwich Borough - a side that have been picking up lately - at Harrow Meadow on Saturday.
"We've got to pick ourselves up and go again," he said.
"This was our game in hand on Ramsgate and the other sides and we've gone and blown that.
"There are going to be more twists and turns before the season goes.
"We are the best side in the league, I honestly believe we are, but results like this tonight are massive setbacks for us.
"We will bounce back at Greenwich on Saturday as my lads are made of strong stuff.
"We've got a big squad, we've got good enough players that should have dealt with Tunbridge Wells."
Wells manager, Kevin Metcalf was pleased with the victory, which breads confidence for Saturday's FA Vase third round trip to Bury Town.
"As we've said before, we have set our stall out to finish in the top six," he said.
"Before Christmas we've got three or four massive games and we've got six points out of the first two.
"We've got a nice little cup game on Saturday - we are going to enjoy ourselves."
Speaking about the Bury Town game, he added: "Very difficult. But we've had them watched and I believe they were here tonight so we will give it our best shot and that's all we can do really."
Metcalf has been experimenting different tactics and players in the build up to Saturday's FA Vase trip to Bury Town but admitted he hasn't decided on his final sixteen man squad to play in the game.
"I haven't decided on my sixteen man squad but we have just tried one or two things again and there were one or two fringe players on the bench, giving them a chance to show us that they can play."
A famous name in the Wells side tonight - midfielder George Fenwick, is the son of former Tottenham Hotspur player and current Ashford Town manager, Terry.
Metcalf revealed: "George came recommended to me from the players because they know him.
"He was at Corinthians but he went abroad to America.
"He was supposed to play a couple of weeks ago but this is the first time we've had a look at him.
"He is a big lad, we know he can hold the ball up. However, in the second half he went out of the game a little but he hasn't played for a little while.
"We will keep his feet on the ground and he's another young lad that we've adopted so it's good for Tunbridge Wells."
If Wells earn a draw at Bury Town, the replay will take place at Culverden Stadium on Saturday 18th December - the date set for the visit of strugglers Maidstone United.
Metcalf added: "We're going for the top six and that's it and end off. Anything else is a bonus."
VCD Athletic: Marc Brown, Steve Coatham, Joe Diggins, Michael Adcock (Lynsey Thomas 32), Clayton Probetts, James Brown, Gary Ward, Danny Penny (Capt), Richard Dimmock, Jon Main, Mo Mehir Subs: Terry Barry, Paul Foley, Terry Trevillion, Danny Burke (GK)
Tunbridge Wells: Matt Bromby, Jay Westwood, Ben Hilden, Simon Joynes (Capt), Buster Beaney, Danny Barham (Luke Williams 51), Lee Porter, Dean Walker, Ricky De Freitas (Alex Rich 77), Joe Wade (Paul Hallett 87), George Fenwick. Subs: Kevin Brown, Steve Ward
Referee: Mr A Carter
Assistants: Mr H Henderson & Mr R Edmonds