Wednesday 18th August 2004

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New generation at Sevenoaks Town

AFTER losing their opening Go Travel Kent League Premier Division game of the season, Sevenoaks Town bounced back and secured a point in Tuesday's 1-1 draw in the west-Kent derby against Tunbridge Wells at Greatness Park, writes Stephen McCartney.

At Hythe Town last Saturday, former Whitstable Town striker Andy Constable, who has moved to the club after moving to a house in Dunton Green, opened the scoring, but Paul Fisk's side came back to clinch all three points at stake with a 3-1 victory.

Against Tunbridge Wells, however, Sevenoaks went a goal down with three minutes before the break, when goalkeeper Darren Smart was beaten by Steve Smith's strike.

Sevenoaks manager John James, in only his second game in charge as first team manager, replacing Graham Logsdon, who has been appointed club manager, admitted he had to rally his troops during the break to get them back into the game.

He admitted: "After Saturday's defeat at Hythe we had to lift ourselves up.

"The hardest thing is to accept a goal before half-time and there were a lot of chins down and shoulders sagged - the players looked tired.

"We had to lift them in some kind of way.  It was a local derby, and last season Tunbridge Wells took all six points off us.

"I felt that the lads played a bit of football but got no just rewards, so we had to somehow lift them - it was hard - they set their own standards - and they were finding it a bit frustrating."

However, Constable levelled proceedings in the 67th minute when he turned in skipper Wayne Balmer's drilled shot on goal.

James was pleased that his new striker has fitted in well, and has continued his goalscoring form that made him a hit at league rivals Whitstable Town.

James said: "It's a new kind of thing of thing for Andy.  He is a local lad, and it's different from chasing the title straight away.  

"He has scored two goals in two matches and now he is off and running."

His striker partner, Richard Bryce has bounced back after failing to earn a move to Southern League Division One East outfit Dartford.

James said: "Richard is a young lad, he has done his trials at Dartford this year and didn't get accepted.

"However, he is going to learn quickly alongside Andy (Constable) and has a good future ahead of him." he said of the former Tonbridge Angels youngster.

Local rivals, VCD Athletic are the visitors to Greatness Park on Saturday, and James is anticipating a tough fixture against a side they used to lock horns with in Kent County League football.

He said: "We've picked up a point now and we are up and running, and I feel without that point it would have been frustrating, and Saturday would have been a cup final for us.

"VCD Athletic is a local derby with local rivalry, so I feel we can give it our best shot and try and take something off them, although it will be a very tough game."

James revealed he will be looking to add to his squad, after losing six experienced players in the close season.

He added: "I think the squad needs strengthening.  We are looking to bring in one or two players but you can only improve as time gives you.

"We started with 5 or 6 of the senior players leaving the club, and we've moved onto a new generation of players this year.

"It will take a little time for them to gel, but we are getting the right youngsters in."

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