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Saturday 18th
December 2004
Go Travel Kent League
Premier Division
Stephen McCartney reports from Culverden Stadium
Tunbridge Wells 1 Aaron O'Leary 22 (pen)
Maidstone United 2 Richard Sinden 23
Lloyd Miller 46

Hume pleased with committed derby win

MAIDSTONE UNITED player-manager Lloyd Hume can enjoy his Christmas after his side showed passion and commitment to win this west-Kent derby at Culverden Stadium.

After Tunbridge Wells opened the scoring from the penalty spot through Aaron O'Leary after 22 minutes, two headed goals, from Richard Sinden a minute later, and from 18-year-old striker Lloyd Miller, 20 seconds after the interval, sealed the Stones their second successive win.

After his post-match speech to his players, Hume beamed: "I've just said to all the boys how pleased I am with the effort.

"We showed in the Redbridge (FA Cup) game a desire to win a game of football.

"I think today, we won the game, because we probably wanted it more than them, and that's what's probably got us the result at the end of the day."

But the 32-year-old, player-manager, whose in his first managerial post, following a career with Gillingham, Ashford Town, Tonbridge Angels, Chatham Town, Whitstable Town, Sittingbourne, Hastings Town and Fisher Athletic, also praised the home side.

He said: "They are a good side, they've had some good results and it was always going to be a tough game to come and win.  

"So I am over the moon with the result."

273 fans decided to flock through the turnstiles at Culverden Stadium - the home side's highest crowd of the season - instead of battling through the shops in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells for last minute Christmas presents.

Hume, however, got the present he wished for, three points to follow the 1-0 win over Erith Town last Saturday, but the under achieving Stones, fifth from bottom in the league are still ten points off their desired top spot.

The first 45 minutes, however, were very entertaining but unfortunately for Tunbridge Wells - who gave former Dartford, Chatham Town and Ashford Town striker Dave Hassett his debut, after his permanent capture from Southern Leaguers Sittingbourne - they didn't impress in the second half, which left manager Kevin Metcalf hugely disappointed.

The former Tenterden Town manager admitted: "A bit upset with the way we performed.

"We had five, six, perhaps seven players that didn't compete.

"Whether it was the crowd, Maidstone seemed to be first to the ball, and we just didn't compete.

"We just said in the dressing room, it's a good job we don't have a game next Saturday."

The Kent League have only handed three games over the lucrative Christmas and New Year period and both Wells and the Stones return to action in January.

Lordswood entertain Herne Bay in an eleven o'clock showdown in the league's only fixture on Monday 27th December before the return fixture at Winch's Field on Monday 3rd January.  The other game will be the south-east London derby clash between Thamesmead Town and Beckenham Town on the same day.

Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone United, however, return to action on Saturday 8th January with trips to Hythe Town and Greenwich Borough respectively.

Stones striker, Sinden almost opened the scoring after only 109 seconds but Tunbridge Wells goalkeeper Matt Bromby smothered the ball at his feet inside the six-yard box.

The home side's first chance came in the fifth minute when teenage winger Steve Ward struck a right-footed free kick from 28-yards, which sailed over Steve Williams' crossbar.

Three minutes later, in a lively start, Aaron Lacey's flag kick was met by Maidstone central defender Ross Edwards, who planted his header narrowly over at the far post.

Maidstone started the game well and more chances came their way.

Mark Patterson, formerlly of Carlisle United, Derby County, Plymouth Argyle, Birmingham City (loan), Gillingham before drifting into non-league with Dover Athletic, made contact with the ball with an overhead kick from 20-yards that splashed in the mud before going wide.

Sinden then lifted the ball over the onrushing Wells goalkeeper Bromby and his strike partner, Lyndon Rowland appeared to use his hand to gain an advantage but an alert Wells defender in Jay Westwood cleared the ball away from inside the goal mouth.

The match officials, however, didn't help the home side either.  They seemed to be intimidated by the huge travelling contingent and even one assistant referee, of senior age, didn't  warm up before kick off.

Surely it's time for the authorities to blood young match officials into Kent League football where their decisions are vital with people's jobs and finances at stake.

From one of many dubious free kick's awarded outside the Wells penalty area, Bromby was called into action from Sam Tydeman's quickly taken free kick.  The Tonbridge based stopper, however, then saved comfortably from Patterson's 25-yarder.

Miller played in Sinden but the 24-year-old striker scuffed his shot wide to the anguish of the visiting bench and at the other end, Ward flashed a shot narrowly over.

Then, against the run of play, Tunbridge Wells opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, but their lead didn't last long.

Joe Wade slipped the ball into Luke Williams' path inside the penalty area and he was brought down by last defender Ben Taylor but the ball fell to debutant Hassett who fired home.

However, the referee disallowed the goal, play was pulled back, a penalty was awarded and the former Sittingbourne defender escaped any punishment.

Former Ashford Town man O'Leary, however, stroked home the penalty, left-footed, sending Williams' the wrong way.

At the other end, Bromby was inpeeded from a free kick and a header went across goal for Sinden to nod home at the far post so Maidstone restored parity.

Wells, however, almost equalised seconds later when Luke Williams' right-footed 22-yarder agonisingly clipped the top of the crossbar before ending up in the bank of terracing.

After 33 minutes, Rowland missed a golden opportunity to put Maidstone further ahead when he latched on a defence splitting ball and with only Bromby to beat, the goalkeeper came off his line to smother.

On the stroke of half time, Sinden squandered another good chance.  He looked yards offside when he received the ball, and was half expecting to hear a whistle, but play was allowed to play on, and Bromby made the save.

At the other end, ginger haired Hassett, took advantage of a mistake from Edwards, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area, sailed over.

Hume's inspired half-time team talk was still ringing in his players ears when they wrapped up victory after only 20 seconds into the second period.

Former Dover Athletic midfielder Jimmy Strouts won possession, passed to Rowland whose hanging cross from the left was met by Miller's looping header that crept inside the post.

Hume added: "Everyone say's when team's play us it's their cup final, but today in the second half, in the last hour, you would have thought it was our cup final.

"That's the desire we have to show every week to get results.

"Six points in the last two games is a good return and we want to continue in that vein so I am really pleased.

"I couldn't be happier with the players today and it's a good way to finish for the Christmas break."

Revealing his half-time team-talk, which blasted through a hole in the dressing room window, Hume added: "I didn't realise there was a hole in the wall and people heard what I said at half time.

"I gave the players a bit of a rollicking and I asked them to start the game very well and start by pressuring the ball and don't give them any time to play.

"I said at half-time I wanted that right from the off, I said the first three or four tackles had to be won to get the impetus on our side.

"And to be honest that's how our goal was scored.  Jimmy Strouts got in very early, nicking the ball off one of their players and muscled him out of the way and we got ourselves a goal and we continued with that so I am very happy."

The winning goal knocked the stuffing out of the home side as Maidstone took control for the rest of the game.

Just before the hour, Miller's left-footed 40-yarder sailed towards goal but it was too comfortable for Bromby.

Wells' applied late pressure to try to equalise and they had good shouts for a penalty turned down.

Ward's run into the penalty area was ended by former Wells defender Jason Barton but the referee awarded a free kick.  The 17-year-old was clearly inside the penalty area when the foul was committed.

Good play from Lee Porter and Ward carved open a chance for youngster Alex Rich, but he shot wide.

At the other end, Sinden should have scored but he drove a shot wide of the far post when it seemed easier to score and Wells' new-boy Hassett saw his shot comfortably saved.

But when the final whistle blew, Maidstone's travelling fans were able to celebrate a hard fought but deserved victory over their local neighbours.

Dejected Wells manager Metcalf added: "The players have not only left themselves down, they have let the club down, me and my coaches Martin Telford and Dave Rice down."

Tunbridge Wells: Matt Bromby, Jay Westwood (Martin Anderson 71), Ben Hilden, Simon Joynes (Capt), Aaron O'Leary, Luke Williams, Buster Beaney (Lee Porter 69), Daniel Barham, Dave Hassett, Joe Wade (Alex Rich 69), Steve Ward.  Subs: Bradley Mortimer, Dean Walker

Maidstone United: Steve Williams, Aaron Lacey, Jason Barton, Ross Edwards, Mark Patterson (Gary Hemens 35), Ben Taylor, Jimmy Strouts (Capt), Sam Tydeman, Richard Sinden (Peter Taylor 86), Lyndon Rowland, Lloyd Miller (Simon Austin 69).

Attendance: 273
Referee: Mike Rogers
Assistants: M McClean, J Hewitt