Thursday 01st September 2005

Tunbridge Wells complete double over local rivals Sevenoaks Town

Missed chances cost Sevenoaks victory as Tompkins heads late winner

Tunbridge Wells 1-0 Sevenoaks Town
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Saturday 24 April 2004
Stephen McCartney reports from Culverden Stadium

TUNBRIDGE WELLS completed the double over their west Kent rivals Sevenoaks Town on a hot afternoon at Culverden Stadium on Saturday.

Lee Skinner, who scored the only goal of the game when the two sides met at Greatness Park twelve days ago, missed the return fixture due to suspension.

However, football can be a cruel game.   If you don't take your chances you can get punished, and this was the case for the visitors who squandered enough chances to win the game.  Tunbridge Wells striker, Matt Tompkins, playing only his second game of the season, snatched victory with a header with only six minutes of the game left.

It took the visitors only thirty-eight seconds to test solid Wells goalkeeper Matt Bromby, who made a comfortable collection from Brad Mortimer's weak right-footed shot from inside the penalty area  following Dave Forster's cross from the right.

Tunbridge Wells quickly responded when Nick Young latched onto a ball from midfield but his sixteen-yard shot was struck straight at goalkeeper Darren Smart.

Sevenoaks' Wayne Balmer, who returned to his former club, flashed a corner kick from the right, across the face of goal, when all it needed was a slight touch from any of a number of players inside the danger area.

Tunbridge Wells almost broke the deadlock after thirteen minutes when the crossbar came to Smart's rescue.  Terry Clements, a livewire throughout the battle, whipped in a cross towards the far stick but Young's header crashed off the crossbar.

Nine minutes later, Richard Brice, a recent signing from Tonbridge Angels, showed skill and composure down the left flank.  Facing Wells skipper Ricky Underdown, the striker lifted the ball over the tall defender before racing towards goal.  His powerful drive, from inside the penalty box, narrowly missed the foot of the near post, drilling into the side netting.

Another chance fell to Sevenoaks a minute later, when Phil Cramp missed a gilt-edged chance, heading Sim Johnson's pin-point cross from the right, wide of the left upright when left unmarked.

Lively winger Clements raced seventy-yards down the right flank with the ball, leaving Johnston in his wake, before reaching the right by-line.  His shot, however, was hit straight at Smart who made a comfortable save at his near post.

Solid Wells goalkeeper Bromby made a crucial save when he dived to his right to push Mortimer's sixteen-yard-shot around the post.

Another chance went begging for the visitors seven minutes after the break.  Robbie Jenner delivered a pin-point cross to an unmarked Forster, but having a rush of blood to his head, he planted his header wide of the right post from only ten yards.  Knowing he had fluffed a great chance of beating their local rivals, he swore at himself, which is not nice to hear on a football pitch.

With twenty-seven minutes remaining, a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area from Brice took a deflection off Underdown, and although the shot beat a diving Bromby, it flashed wide of the left upright.

The resulting corner from Balmer, was met by a Dave Wood header at the near post, but his effort clipped the top of the left post from only eight yards.

The ball finally found the back of the net but was ruled out for a foul on the Sevenoaks goalkeeper after 70 minutes.  Smart was fouled as he went for a Steve Waite flag kick and Referee Steve Roots had already blown for the foul before Nathan Symes rolled the ball into the net.

Sevenoaks were made to pay after they squandered two golden chances to win the points in the last twelve minutes.

Mortimer's 78th minute effort brought a fine block by the tall Tunbridge Wells goalkeeper, and the ball fell nicely for Wood at the far post.  Although it seemed easier to smash the ball into the net inside the right post, he fired wide from inside the six-yard box.

Moments later, Jenner's cross was brought under control by Forster, who took the ball from the right-hand side of the box, past Simon Joynes, before blasting high over the bar from fourteen yards.

Tunbridge Wells snatched an unlikely victory with only six minutes left on the clock.

In games like these, victory normally comes from a piece of outstanding magic or by a mistake, but the points at Culverden came from a mistake by the Sevenoaks goalkeeper.

Until this point, both goalkeepers were superb with their handling, but on this occasion, Smart was at fault, although some might say he was impeded by Tompkins when he challenged the shot-stopper.

Young's pace down the right flank saw off Sevenoaks skipper Dave Norburn, before he delivered a telling cross. Tompkins jumped for the ball with Smart, and was gifted the winner as the goalkeeper dropped the ball, allowing Tompkins to head home.

Referee Roots, looked over to his assistant on the far side, who agreed their was no foul committed, and Wells could celebrate their fourth home win of the season.

Two minutes later, Tompkins was denied close to the left post, before the visitors were denied once more by Bromby in the final minute when he grasped Brice's twenty-two yard strike.

Confident after notching up their eighth league win of the season, the last chance of the game fell to ponytailed Waite whose long-range shot screamed over the right upright.

Tunbridge Wells: Matt Bromby, Jack Lynch (James Macro 71), Paddy Behan, Simon Joynes, Ricky Underdown (Capt), Natham Symes, Lee Dawes, Steve Waite, Nick Young, Matt Tompkins (Paul Atkins 89), Terry Clements.  Sub: Paul Washer

Sevenoaks Town: Darren Smart, Robbie Jenner, Liam Spillane, Ollie Miles, Dave Norburn (Capt), Wayne Balmer, Sim Johnston (James Townsend 77), Dave Forster, Richard Brice, Phil Cramp (Dave Wood 28), Brad Mortimer.  Subs: Lewis Blake, Andy Mills, Nicky Eales

Referee: Steve Roots
Assistants: P McCarthy & R Dibbs