Monday 27th September 2004
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Fitness first for Wells

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Kevin Metcalf insists his side’s superior fitness helped them beat Cobham 3-1 after extra time in Saturday’s FA Vase second qualifying round tie, writes Stephen McCartney.

Metcalf’s side squandered two early chances through Steve Ward before the game was held up for about half an hour due to an injury to a home player, who dislocated his shoulder and fractured his elbow. 

Both sides waited on the pitch until an ambulance arrived, and the delay did more harm than good for the Go Travel Kent League visitors, as the Surrey side opened the scoring in the 38th minute.

Metcalf admits: “As the game re-started, we wasn’t in it.

“So a serious half-time talk was needed and in the second half we came out playing our normal football.”

Buster Beaney’s 20-yard free kick in the 75th minute cancelled out the home side’s first half opener to take the game in extra time.

However, a fitness regime by Metcalf and coach Martin Telford, paid dividends as Wells were by far the stronger side and Beaney added his second in the 107th minute and a strike from Kieron Jennings three minutes later sent the Culverden Stadium outfit into the first round of the FA Vase.

Metcalf said: “Basically Martin (Telford) and myself have been working on the players fitness and this showed during extra time and basically there was only one team in it!”

Youngster Jennings – who featured in Ilford’s youth section earlier in his career, before studying – has been given his first team chance by Metcalf after impressing in the reserves – and he repaid the manager’s faith in him by scoring the third goal to seal the club’s passage into the next round.

Metcalf admitted he wasn’t pleased with the first half performance, but was happy with the result.

“Looking back on the fixture, it’s one if we had lost, I would have really been upset,” he said.

“Cobham were workmanlike and they frustrated us”.

Tunbridge Wells’ reward is a first round trip to Pagham – a side they beat 2-1 in the preliminary round of the FA Cup at Nyetimber Lane.

“I think it will be more difficult this time,” said Metcalf.

“They will be out for revenge, but we will prepare our players right and we are expecting another tough game.

“It isn’t a draw I would have liked, but we will get down to it and prepare in our usual way.”

Wells are without a game on Saturday and their trip to Deal Town on 9th October has been postponed as the Kent coast club travel to Thamesmead Town in a re-arranged Kent Senior Trophy first round tie.

However, Tunbridge Wells will travel to east London to play Sporting Bengal United instead, and will be looking to complete an early double at the Mile End Stadium, having beaten them 2-0 at Culverden Stadium earlier in the season.