Thursday 01st September 2005 - The Kent Website - Supporting Kentish Football

Wells concentrate on double cup campaign

TUNBRIDGE WELLS battled their way through to the first qualifying round of the FA Cup following their 2-1 win at Nyetimber Lane against a physical Pagham side, writes Stephen McCartney.

The game, watched by a crowd of 75, will be best remembered for the amount of injury time played in each half, but Wells' manager Kevin Metcalf is pleased with the victory.

"We should have had the game wrapped up in the first ten minutes really." Metcalf admitted.

"We had three clear cut chances but just put one away, and in hindsight we made hard work of it."

Tunbridge Wells entertain Camberley Town, second from bottom in the Ryman League Second Division, at Culverden Stadium in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Vase, at Culverden Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

Metcalf is anticipating another tough game, against Ryman League opposition, but Wells are more than capable of defeating the Surrey side.

He said: "I believe we can win the game.  We've had a report on them so we will work on them in training and prepare for another hard game again."

Wearing their new strip for the season, Wells roared into action straight away from the whistle as they threatened to cruise past Pagham with short passes that left the Lions chasing shadows.

It took the Wells only four minutes to break the deadlock.  Daniel Barham's lovely through ball found Steve Smith and he took full advantage of the space the pass created and slid the ball past the advancing goalkeeper.

After a spying mission on his opposition in the week before the game, Metcalf knew the weaknesses of the Pagham team, and his side took advantage.

Metcalf said: "The first goal was a well worked goal.

"We knew their back four were a bit slow, so we stuck the ball out wide and Steve Smith latched onto the ball and scored."

Barrington Beaney had two opportunities to increase their lead but his first effort flashed past the post and the second saw a brave goalkeeper smother the ball from his feet.

Pagham's only real chance in open play in the first half came from a short corner that took the visiting defence by surprise.  The ball was then whipped over to the far post but the striker headed into the side netting when well placed.

With twenty minutes remaining before half time, a corner from the home side was swung over and the referee awarded Pagham a penalty as the ball entered the penalty area, surprising both sides and upsetting the Wells' management.

The spot kick was apparently awarded for pushing inside the penalty area.  Lee Stephens, however, accepted the gift, despatching the resulting spot kick, and the Wells manager admitted: "It was a very dubious penalty."

A poor tackle on Jay Westwood saw the Wells' defender stretchered off with knee ligament damage.

Wells' goalkeeper Matt Bromby almost got himself on the score sheet with a kick that caught out his opposite number, whose blushes were spared by a defender who recovered in time and cleared the ball off the line for a corner.

Just before the break, Barham and Beaney, who have both been sent off twice already this season, combined well to supply Kevin Brown whose first time shot was inches wide of the post.

In the second half, Beaney sent Smith through for a one-on-one with the keeper, but his shot went agonisingly wide of the post.

Tunbridge Wells sealed their passage into the next round in the 75th minute.  Good work from substitute Stephen Ward fed Lee Porter whose cross into the six yard box caused problems for the home defence.  The ball trundled over the line by an unfortunate defender who hurried back to try to clear the cross, but found the back of the net instead.

When Beaney was sent off this gave the Wells a tense period late in the game.  Pagham managed to get up a head of steam and put pressure on the Kent League side.  Bromby had to be at his best to save twice at full stretch to keep Pagham at bay.

As the injury time clocked up it's tenth minute, Wells should have wrapped up the game.  A quick break away and cross saw shots rain in on the Pagham goal, with one hitting the post, another the crossbar and a third producing a point blank save from the Pagham goalkeeper.

Metcalf said: "We were coasting and unfortunately Beaney got sent off and the referee found an extra ten minutes at the end of the second half.

"It made the last fifteen minutes a bit tense, but we still made chances, hitting the woodwork three times."

Tunbridge Wells were relieved to hear the final whistle and they advance into the next round, travelling to AFC Totton, near Southampton on the 18th September.

A supporters' coach will be running to the game, seats costing £10 each, leaving Culverden Stadium at 10.00am.  Interested parties should contact the club to make a reservation a week before the trip.

Before they concentrate on a FA Cup run, Tunbridge Wells have a FA Vase date with Camberley Town on Saturday, at Culverden Stadium (3pm).

Metcalf added: "September is always a tough month with cup games.  It's nice to progress in the cups but you have to keep one eye on league progress.

"We are looking forward to Saturday's game to see how far we've come and it's good to see another team from a different league."

Metcalf admitted he was sad to see defender Ricky Underdown leave the club last week.  The defender who impressed during last season has joined Kent League neighbours Sevenoaks Town.

Tunbridge Wells: Bromby, Westwood (Anderson), Hilden, Joynes, Williams, Brown (Skinner), Porter (Ward), Mortimer, Beaney, Barham, Smith.  Subs: Sims, Hobbs

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