Dockers suffer penalty heartache against Wells - who lose three players

Monday 09th January 2006
Erith Town suffered penalty shoot-out heartache as they went out of the Kent  Senior Trophy to Tunbridge Wells at Erith Staium on Saturday, reports

But the disappoinment of the result was put into perspective with the news that Sam McNally was injured in the first half with a suspected broken leg.

Erith scored twice in normal time through defender Paul Gross - his first goals for the club - to come from behind twice and take the tie in extra-time.

The Dockers could have won the tie with virtually the last kick of the 90 minutes as Paul Springett - making his first appearance for 17 months after breaking his leg in September 2004 - headed against the crossbar and Tony Gradley put the rebound over from close range.

"Geordie" marked his comeback appearance by scoring for Erith early in extra-time but Wells hit back to take the tie to penalties.

However, controversy was not far away as Erith saved Wells' first spot-kick only for the referee to demand a re-take for the keeper moving too soon. Erith then had their first two penalties saved - although the visiting stopper also appeared to have moved early but no re-take was forthcoming - and the Dockers finally went out 4-1 on penalties.

Meanwhile, reports former Ashford Town midfielder Aaron O'Leary returned to action for the club's reserve side during their 5-5 draw with Chatham Town's second string at Culverden Stadium on Saturday.

O'Leary, however, acknowledges that he will need a bit of time to get fit but he put in a strong performance before leaving the pitch with 20 minutes left.

Meanwhile, despite attracting attention from several clubs, including Hythe Town, right-sided winger Steve Ward has signed for their Ryman League Division One neighbours, Tonbridge Angels.  Ward left Culverden Stadium before Christmas and must have impressed Angels' chairman Nick Sullivan, who watched the Wells' recent defeat to Maidstone United.

Last season's Kent League Division One Golden Boot winning striker, Dave Batt has left Tunbridge Wells and has signed for Erith Town.

The former Cray Wanderers' reserve team striker scored three goals for the Wells but the majority of his appearances were made after he came off the substitutes bench.

And one final piece of news from Culverden Stadium is John Sinclair, who was signed by Mike D'Arcy during his time as caretaker manager of the first team, has also decided to part company with the club.