Thursday 01st September 2005

Two coaches resign at Tunbridge Wells


Tuesday 4th
October 2005
Kent Senior Trophy
First Round
Stephen McCartney reports from The Small Glen
Slade Green 1 Glen McTaggart 81
Tunbridge Wells 1 Dave Batt 80

(AET, Tunbridge Wells won 4-2 on penalties)

Following the shock resignations of coaches Martin Telford and Dave Rice on Saturday, Tunbridge Wells showed enough character to knock Slade Green out of the Kent Senior Trophy at The Small Glen on penalties tonight, writes Stephen McCartney.

With manager Kevin Metcalf away on holiday, reserve team coaches Mike D'Arcy (a FA qualified coach) and Alan Burns (an UEFA B qualified coach) took the reigns tonight, and the former Tonbridge Angels' reserve management team will also be in charge of Saturday's Kentish Observer League clash against Thamesmead Town, which kick's off at Culverden Stadium at high noon.

But the future of Metcalf, however, remains in the balance until he returns from Portugal on Sunday.

Slade Green, however, felt their impressive first half display would have been enough to see them through to the second round - and a home tie against Maidstone United next month - but they didn't take their chances.

Mick Bradley, Robert Browning and Glen McTaggart all failed to find the target in a lively opening twenty minutes.

But man-of-the-match Anthony Weir won Slade Green a 22nd minute penalty but McTaggart's right-footed spot kick was beaten out by John Whitehouse, diving to his right, to keep the score on level terms.

It took Tunbridge Wells thirty minutes to create their first real chance but Green goalkeeper Gary Arterton blocked Steve Ward's effort.

Former Tonbridge Angels' striker, Joe Fuller almost stole the lead for the visitors when his right-footed 20-yard free kick took a deflection off the wall and agonisingly sailed over the bar.

Lee Morgan squandered a gilt edged chance for the home side in the 51st minute, heading Browning's free kick, agonisingly wide of the far post.

And he picked up his fifth booking of the season six minutes later after ending Steve Ward's 60-yard run down the left flank illegally.

The visitors took full advantage of their hosts tiredness and Daniel Barham's long range shot flew over.

But the Wells stole the lead with ten minutes left, only for Slade Green to restore parity within a minute.

Good work by Dave Hassett in midfield set up the chance for substitute Dave Batt, and from 25-yards his drive found the bottom right corner of the net.

But a lapse in concentration inside the penalty area allowed McTaggart to score his fourth goal in five games when he fired inside the near post after Danny Little flicked a header into his path, and the former Erith Town striker pounced to keep up his impressive goalscoring form of late.

Steve Ward almost grabbed a late winner for the visitors but his right-footed curler clipped the far post so the game went into extra time.

Hassett, Barham and Fuller couldn't find the target for the visitors, neither could Green's Weir and Shaun Malyon so for the second time this season Tunbridge Wells were involved in a penalty shoot-out.

Having taken a record breaking 40 penalties in their 16-15 FA Cup victory over Littlehampton Town earlier in the season (and don't forget the two during the game) only nine were needed tonight, with Tunbridge Wells winning 4-2 on penalties.

Although Hassett saw the first spot kick well blocked by Slade Green goalkeeper Gary Arterton, his team-mates Patrick Beehan, Joe Fuller, Scott Thomas and Mike McKeown converted theirs.

And for Slade Green, Morgan and Browning hit the target but Little (struck crossbar) and Scott Lewis (just over) meant Maistone United will be making the short trip to Culverden Stadium in the next round.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with, Mike D'Arcy admitted he was surprised when he was asked by chairman Norman Sales to take charge of the club's next two games following the resignations of the club's two coaches, although coach Rice took up his physio duties for the last time tonight before bidding farewell to the players after the game.

"I liked Martin (Telford) as a coach and he left for whatever reasons on Saturday and Norman gave me a ring to ask to take today and Saturday's game against Thamesmead so I am more than happy to," he said.

"I know quite a lot of the players anyway because Martin used to train the first team and the reserves together so I'm familiar with the faces.  And yes, I enjoyed tonight."

Having been knocked out of both the FA Cup and FA Vase already, D'Arcy is relishing the Maidstone United game - the first of five being played against the Stones this season.

"That will be nice - a bit more money in the kitty and a bit more experience for us.

"We needed that (win tonight) as we've got knocked out of two cups earlier in the season and it's a good opportunity to play Maidstone again outside the league."

Although Metcalf's future hangs in the balance, D'Arcy will throw his hat into the ring - along with Alan Burns - to take over first team affairs - if the situation arises.

"It all depends what happens after Saturday really," said D'Arcy.  "If Norman thinks he can put his faith in us - Alan (Burns) and I are more than happy to do the job but it will all come down to results at the end of the day, and what the board and players think too.

"Yes, I'd like to, I've enjoyed tonight, I know a lot of the players, they are a good bunch of lads, it's a great club with good facilities, we'll certainly enjoy the challenge."

Slade Green's joint-manager, Phil Miles, reflected on the game and admitted his side played well for the first hour before losing their way.

"We played well for an hour really but then after an hour we lost our way," he said.

"Tunbridge Wells grew a little bit more in confidence and in the end there was not a lot between the two sides.  

"We had the better chances really without actually making their goalkeeper work.

"Obviously we're disappointed.  Penalties are a lottery but you've got to hit the target.  They've taken four great penalties and we've hit two dodgy ones to be fair."

But Miles feels his side should be playing Maidstone United in the next round.

"We've had the best chances on the day but if we got the goal from the penalty (during the first half) I think we would have won the game comfortably.

"We haven't got that guile or experience to keep doing the things we were doing in the first hour and we've let them back into the game."

Miles is hoping his skipper Alan Hanlon declines a move to local rivals Erith Town tomorrow night.

He revealed: "I believe Erith Town have spoken to him.  Obviously we are hopeful he is going to stay with us.

"He's played quite well tonight.  You know exactly what you're going to get with him and that's why we've made him our captain.

"So hopefully we'll be able to keep him but that depends what Erith Town can offer him.

"If they offer him money - but he's not that type of person to be fair.  I don't think he'll better his football by going there, but he's got a mortgage to pay at the end of the month and if someone offers you money it soon totals up at the end of the month to put towards your bills.

"I don't mind that, Alan's quite honest and open, he'll go and speak to them tomorrow (Wednesday) night and we'll see what happens.

"I'm hoping he'll say no."

Slade Green: Gary Arterton, Lee Morgan, Mark Sabatino (Steven Lee 108), Mick Bradley (Ryan Robinson 76), Mark Penny, Alan Hanlon (capt), Shaun Malyon, Danny Little, Glen McTaggart (Scott Lewis 83), Anthony Weir, Robert Browning.

Tunbridge Wells: John Whitehouse, Jamie Lover, Scott Thomas, Patrick Beehan, Simon Joynes (capt), Lee Porter (Mike McKeown 98), Steve Ward (Sam D'Arcy 90), Daniel Barham, Dave Hassett, Joe Fuller, Brad Mortimer (Dave Batt 64).  Subs: Mike Ward, Alex Rich

Attendance: 95
Referee: Mr D Wyatt
Assistants: Mr K Greenhead & Mr H Hill