Wednesday 23rd July 2003

Tunbridge Wells draw home comforts
Tunbridge Wells 2-2 Ringmer

Ringmer, who for the past couple of seasons have finished near the top of the Sussex County League, started quickly out of the blocks and gave the Wells much to think about for the opening 20 minutes of the game, writes Simon Harris.

After an early let off it was Ford who opened the scoring for the visitors when he headed in at the far post. The goal served to wake Tunbridge Wells up and at last they started to play the ball around and enjoy some territorial advantage. Steve Gibbons twice troubled the keeper before finally taking advantage of a lapse in communication between Ringmer defenders to prod home a bouncing ball from an incredibly tight angle.

In the second half it was Ringmer again who started the quickest and for a long period they played some impressive football. However,  they were only able to add one goal in the 46th minute when a pin point cross allowed Crane to power a header into the back of the net.

Phil Hawkins was introduced to proceedings after about 10 minutes of the second half and looked confident between the sticks as Ringmer gave him some catching practice with a few wayward crosses. In addition to Hawkins, it was pleasing to see Ian Balmer continue to impress in a wide position and Tunbridge Wells fans are hoping that they get to see him in competitive action when the league season begins.

Tunbridge Wells fans were also lifted by the return of Jason Bourne and would have been amazed and delighted if a late cross had fallen inches lower as he timed a run to perfection to arrive unchallenged in front of goal with just two minutes remaining.

Tunbridge Wells in fact finished in the ascendancy and had equalised eight minutes before Bourne's burst when Steve Knell tapped home after the ball had found its way across a congested six yard box.

Steve Lovell will be bringing his much changed Hastings United team to Culverden on Saturday (3pm). Only two of last season's relegated squad remain and it will be interesting to see if Tunbridge Wells can make life uncomfortable for the embryonic squad.