|Saturday 14 August 2004
||Go Travel Kent League
|Simon Harris reports from Culverden Stadium
||Ward 79, Beaney
The late, late show at Culverden
The first test of Martin Telford and Kevin Metcalf's new
Tunbridge Wells team resulted in a pulsating match at Culverden Stadium
against one of the championship favourites, Whitstable Town.
In a game that ebbed and flowed the final result could have gone either way
and whilst both management teams expressed their dissatisfaction at not having
taken all three points, the consensus amongst the officials and supporters was
that the result was right.
Wells were quick out of the blocks and after a couple of prior
incursions deep into Oysterman territory, they had the ball in the net after
just six minutes.
Delightful passing through the midfield saw the ball released to the right and
a measured cross was met perfectly by the head of Delroy Parkes.
To the consternation of the home team and the relief of the visitors a
lineman's flag ruled the effort out for what must have been the very finest
margin of offside.
Whitstable came back into the game and after 15 minutes Matt
Bromby did well to save at close quarters with the ricochet being shepherded
off the line by an alert defender. Wells immediately broke and the impressive
Steve Smith broke shook off the attentions of his marker to fire a firm shot
which Gary Arterton in the Whitstable goal could only parry wide.
The visitors went close twice more in the first half, with
Perona drilling wide when well placed and then watching in anguish as the ball
rebounded off the post and then wide off the beaten Bromby's back for a corner
on the half hour.
But the Wells also went close again before the break with Smith using his
strength to burst through the midfield before firing just wide.
Just two minutes into the second half Parkes was fouled on the
very edge of the box but the free-kick was off target.
Buster Beaney was the first man to have his name entered into the book for a
committed but late challenge on Whitstable's Ryan Robinson.
And this incident marked a period on downturn for the home team's fortunes
with their opponents taking the lead three minutes later.
As the ball was fiercely contested on the edge of the Wells box, Simon Joynes
ended prostrate in pain as the ball broke to Steve Marshall who made no
mistake with his finish.
For a period of time Wells struggled to get out of their own
half as the defensive line dropped and the Whitstable midfield denied their
opposite numbers any time on the ball.
Jay Westwood was forced into some desperate last ditch defending on 70 minutes
with first a last ditch tackle after possession had been given away, and then
a goal-line block when his team-mates had failed to clear.
By this time however Stephen Ward had been brought on to
replace Kevin Brown. The change was a tactical one and allowed Wells to
maraude down the right flank with pace and turn the flow of the game back in
their own favour.
Having already burst into the box, Smith made the keeper work but this was
just a foretaste of what was to come.
On 79 minutes the ball broke to the youngster who cut into the box and as Arterton
sprinted off his line, Ward delicately finished for 1-1.
Wells suddenly smelled blood and stepped up a gear. With three
minutes of normal time remaining Parkes won a header only to see Smith blaze
over, and on the 90, Whitstable's appeared rattled and Mark Warne was shown
the yellow card for unceremoniously upending Ben Hilden.
Nine minutes of stoppage time were inexplicably found by the
referee. In the fifth of these a determined Buster Beaney, bustled his was
through and drove the ball firmly in to the corner of the net to put Wells 2-1
Delight abounded only to be dashed within the minute. Bromby chose not to
entrust the wide ball to his defence and came racing out into no-man's land.
Marshall could not believe his good luck as he scored his second of the
Incredibly there was still time for Perona to blaze the ball
sky high from six yards and for Bromby to make amends with a point blank save.
No more goals were scored however and the crowd of 120 stood as one to applaud
the efforts of two impressive teams.
Tunbridge Wells: Bromby, Westwood, Hilden, Joynes, Williams,
Brown, Porter, Mortimer, Parkes, Beaney, Smith, Ward, Hobbs, Jenkins, Lombard,
Whitstable Town: Arterton, Sayer, Davies, Warne, Kier,
Seager, Harrison, Robinson, Marshall, Perona, Jones, Prett, Davis, Price,
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