Kent sides looking to progress in FA Vase
Travel Kent League sides are guaranteed a place in the third round of the FA
Vase on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.
Jim Ward’s Ramsgate - who reached the quarter-finals in 2000 - entertain strugglers Greenwich Borough and there is a mouth-watering clash at Bayliss Avenue between Thamesmead Town and Maidstone United.
Paul Blade’s side will be looking for a repeat performance, having beaten the Stones 3-2 at the same ground in league football last Saturday.
But the game www.kentishfootball.co.uk are covering is at Culverden Stadium between Tunbridge Wells and Erith Town.
Tunbridge Wells look forward to their fourth game in the competition, having won their three previous rounds 3-1 and coming back from a goal down in all of them.
An injury hit Wells side lost their first Kent League game of the season last Saturday, losing 4-1 at home to VCD Athletic.
Manager Kevin Metcalf put the defeat down to “a bad day at the office.”
He added: “Our players are young and we are building a side for the future.
“Martin (Telford), Dave (Rice) and myself sat the players down for a chat in the dressing room and the players now know they have got to compete.
“Four or five players had bad games and another four or five were out with injuries.”
Former Ashford Town defender Martin Anderson thumped home what was at the time a penalty equaliser for the Wells after Terry Trevinnon had handled.
Metcalf, who will asses his injured players on Thursday night, added:
“After Saturday’s performance, it will be interesting to see if we bounce back.
“Basically, the players know the performance last Saturday wasn’t good enough and we have addressed the situation.”
Metcalf, however, admitted he was expecting a tough game from Martin Ford’s side.
He added: “They came and done a job on us. Martin (Ford) always prepares his team’s well and basically we had too many players having off days.
“I expected a tough game because of the injuries but the players just didn’t compete. However, we’ve addressed the situation and got it under control.”
Metcalf acknowledged Erith Town strikers
Glen McTaggart and Daniel Russell and is fully aware the pair can hurt his side.
McTaggart, however, shunned a move to Southern League Division One East neighbours Erith & Belvedere earlier in the week, and has decided his future is at the Erith Sports Stadium and not Park View Road.
The striker, current top scorer in the Kent League, has signed a contract with the club to keep him there for the rest of the season, pleasing his manager Willie O’Sullivan.
Speaking about the former Dartford youngster, O’Sullivan said: “Glen has decided to stay and has signed a contract until the end of the season.
“It’s a big plus for us, and for the club as whole.
“He is enjoying his football. He is out to prove a few people wrong.
“I think he just wants to enjoy his football with us.”
And after an impressive FA Cup campaign earlier in the season, when they reached the second qualifying round before losing to Horsham, setting a club record, O’Sullivan will be delighted if his side can beat their Kent League rivals to make history in the FA Vase as well.
O’Sullivan said: “I think it’s the furthest we’ve been in the FA Vase.
“Just like the FA Cup, when you play a cup game it’s all about who wants it on the day.
“Tunbridge Wells have started very well this year, but we will be going there and giving them as much respect as possible.
“Basically, if the result goes our way it will be a big plus for me, coach Nicky Johns and the club.”
However, O’Sullivan will be without Paul Springett (broken leg) but he is pleased with the players that have come into the side.
“If you lose 5-6 players it’s a big disappointment for us.
“The players that have come in have done
brilliant, plus the loss of Paul Springett is a big blow for the club and the
team as a whole.”
The importance of the tie cannot be overshadowed with £1,000 in prize money available to the winners as well as a place in the last 64 of this prestigious national competition, which was won by Kent League side Deal Town four years ago at Wembley Stadium.
If supporters are looking for a game to attend, Metcalf asks them to pop down to Culverden Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
He said: “It’s a shame that six Kent League sides are meeting each other but the good side is three will go through to the third round, which is good for Kent League football.
“I am looking forward to Saturday’s game because Erith like to get the ball down and play football.
“Come and watch us, and enjoy a good
game of football in the FA Vase which is a prestigious cup competition.”
In the other FA Vase ties involving Kent League sides, 2000 winners Deal Town host Whitney United, VCD Athletic travel to Gosport Borough and East Londoners Sporting Bengal United travel to Soham Town Rangers.
Tunbridge Wells v Erith Town
FA Vase Second Round
Saturday 20th November 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells